Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Chemo Countdown Continues – 13 days

Yesterday turned out to be easier than I had expected. My AFI (Actual Feeling Index) was a 4.5, the same as the past 2 days. Tomorrow will be a busy day at the hospital. I’m scheduled to give a blood sample, meet with my chemo doctor, have chemo, and then have a follow up visit with my plastic surgeon. I think I last saw my plastic surgeon about 6 months ago.

I have two main questions for my chemo doctor. He had mentioned a few weeks ago about leaving me on a chemo maintenance program following completion of this cycle. I assumed at the time that this meant medicine that does not require an IV and that the side effects will be more tolerable. I’ll want to find out more about this tomorrow including the drugs that he is recommending. He did mention them when we talked about this a few weeks ago, but my mind was on other things at the time. My second question is the amount of time to begin recovering my stamina from this chemo cycle. I have estimated it at 11 – 12 days (that’s what the countdown chart is based on), but would like his insight.

I read a good article on chemo fatigue yesterday. It is a result of low red blood cell counts. This is confirmed in my case by my weekly blood analysis lab tests. These are the cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. The less oxygen the body has the less energy one has. Chemo is a shotgun approach to finding (and hopefully destroying) every last cancer cell in the body. Unfortunately, to do that, it attacks every cell in the body including the bone marrow which produces new blood cells. This may be simple or old biology to many, but it is relatively new to me, so I thought I would share it since it’s on my mind the last few days.

I’m not dreading chemo as much tomorrow as the past two weeks. This is a combination of having a better week this week than I expected and it being my last treatment in this cycle. Bottom line, I’m looking forward to getting this over with. Take care everyone.

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