zen.org Communal Weblog

June 20, 2011

Wham Bam

Filed under: — brendan @ 18:48 IST

Man, last night didn’t go well, sleep-wise. After a pretty smooth day, I was expecting a decent night. At 2am I was woken up for obs, like normal, but my tummy felt queasy. Nothing ever got any worse from that, thankfully, but at the same time I also had a headache. To top it off, both sides of my jaw were aching. Joint pain is a possible side-effect of the chemo I’m getting, so it sorta made sense. But the problem was all of this combined really made it difficult to sleep. I was basically awake until some time after 5 o’clock. The nurse on duty gave me some tramadol, a pain-killer, which helped reduce enough so I was able to sleep a bit.

I got two paracetamol (like Tylenol) at around 9 this morning to get rid of the headache, which came back after I was awake. They usually don’t use that specific drug because it will also bring down a high fever—which they avoid if at all possible, since it’d hide a fever, too. But it did the trick, and got rid of the headache. Which is a relief: when one of the doctors visited this morning, he said if I still have the headache tomorrow they’ll probably want to “scan [my] brain” (do a CT, the nurse told me later) just to make sure there’s nothing bleeding or happening in there. Just a little scary.

My tummy was still upset this morning, so I didn’t eat any breakfast. The best I could pull off was a couple of pieces of toast. The second piece needed a bit of raspberry jam on it—I couldn’t force myself to endure eating the plain toast. The word “bland” may as well have been sketched into it (more-tasteful wheat toast, no less). Also didn’t have a big appetite for lunch, though not because of anything not feeling right. During the mid-day chemo I watched Wimbledon, then spent time hacking on the computer some more.

Now it’s just after “tea” (dinner) time, which gets served around 4:30-5:00pm, and I managed to eat a decent portion of my meal so I won’t be starving later. Also have a scone, just in case.

Dot dot dot

Another side-effect was little red dots on the back of my hands, called “petechiae”, which are where caused by broken capillary blood vessels. The blood collects under the tissue and appears as tiny dots (usually the size of a pinpoint). The two doctors didn’t seem to react or seem troubled by them when I pointed them out, and a nurse told me they’re just there until platelets are up (later), so I’ll just put them under the “Side-Effects” banner.

Load ’em up

On the play-list for tonight, aside from knitting more of the hat, I’m getting one bag of platelets, which takes about 20 minutes, and also get a bag of blood which is either 2 or 3 hours. In an effort to have the blood transfusion help me both in terms of energy and my ability to sleep, around the middle of the day they gave me the LAST BAG of cyclophosphamide chemo med. The remainder of my week will be spent being monitoring for side-effects.

Medicine everywhere

Unfortunately Elana’s come down with a head cold, which means she won’t be able to visit for at least today and tomorrow. (Our friends arrive tomorrow to stay through to the weekend, which will be great!) Nurse J, one of our liaison nurses, said hopefully it’ll only take a day or so for the contagious part of her cold to go away so the doors will open for her again. 😉

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