Jun. 30: Chemo #11

I never wrote anything up about Chemo #10 on June 8, probably because it was uneventful. I didn’t see the doctor; I went straight into the infusion room and got hooked up to an IV. My dear, sweet niece-friend, Erin, accompanied me and brought me a tasty lunch, which we took forever to eat because we were talking so much. We were talking so much that we even forgot to take pictures. What were we thinking? Except for no picture proof of our day, and the needles and poison and other sickies in the room, Chemo #10 was a delight. Thank you, Erin!

Yesterday was Chemo #11. It was a doctor visit chemo—now I see her every third treatment—and I had several questions for her.

  1. Lately my left forearm and hand are numb when I wake up and take a few uncomfortable hours to un-numb. I started having this problem in both hands several years ago; my rheumatologist said I was headed for carpal tunnel surgery unless I wore wrist supports, and they cured the problem immediately. This is the first time I’ve had numbness while wearing the supports. Dr. O said not to worry, that I was probably sleeping weird. I can’t say I was ever really worried about it, but I mentioned it because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a side effect from one of my chemo drugs. She doesn’t think it is. I woke up this morning without any numbness. Jen’s body thinks it’s funny to play tricks. Not cool, Body. Not cool at all.
  2. I’ve been having all-over pain again, similar to what I felt before seeing a rheumatologist in 2005. This is strange because the chemo drug I’m on right now (Rituxan) is a common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Shouldn’t I be feeling better, not worse? Dr. O thinks the prednisone (another common RA treatment) probably helped with the pain, and now that I’m not on it, it’s coming back. She prescribed exercise instead. Not that I want the prednisone again, but, well, Dr. O can bite me.
  3. That wasn’t very nice. I know exercise helps. But it’s one of those I-hurt-too-much-to-stand-how-am-I-supposed-to-get-on-a-bike things. So, y’know… grr.
  4. Along with joint pain, I’ve also had very tender… skin? Is that what you call it when no matter where the cat puts her weight on my body, it hurts so much that I want to throw her across the room? Again, the doctor suggested exercise would help. Yeah, she’s a stitch.
  5. I haven’t taken Vicodin for many weeks now. Yay me, especially because Dr. O doesn’t want to give me any more anyway. I have wanted Vicodin and I have frequently felt like I needed Vicodin, but I guess I’ll just fark up my liver by taking too much ibuprofen instead.
  6. Dr. O noticed that I’m retaining fluid in my calves and feet. I told her that de-cluttering is one of my biggest challenges, so she prescribed a mild diuretic. I thought she was overreacting until I went into the chemo room and saw a patient whose foot was the size of Cleveland. Alright, fluid retention is a valid concern. I trust you, Dr. O.
  7. I asked if I could take B-vitamins, which have been helpful to me in the past when I’ve had low energy. As a bonus, they also seem to help my hair grow a little faster. She OK’d it.
  8. I’m supposed to see Dr. O again at my August 31st appointment, but she’ll be on vacation, so I’ll see Dr. G instead. Seems like whenever I have to see a different doctor during ongoing treatment for WHATEVER, that different doctor finds something new to treat me for and quite frankly, I don’t want anything new right now. I’m done with surprises. I’m crossing my fingers that Dr. G will think Dr. O is doing everything she should be doing and I’m right on track with treatment.

Kim F’n was my best girl yesterday because she sat through chemo with me. We played on our phones, tried not to gawk at the giant foot across the room, and admired the blue stuff in an IV bag that another patient was getting. It was very pretty. I was a little jealous; all of my IV bags have clear stuff in them. Booooring.

The only really rotten part of chemo yesterday was that it took three tries to get my IV in. It’s been taking at least two lately, and OH MY GOODNESS, I am so tired of getting perforated. I wish so much that I had a port and then this wouldn’t be such a problem every time. I don’t know why I didn’t get a port. Other patients have ports. They didn’t let me have one. Boo-hiss.

Victor stopped by with lunch for me. He hasn’t been taking my chemo days off since I started the new regimen, because it was eating into his vacation time and we want him to be able to take time off later this summer. However, since my chemo’s done just a couple buildings away from where he works, he can usually come by for quick visits during his lunch hour. He only has to pretend to like me for a few minutes this way.


Vic’s head really isn’t that much bigger than mine. It is bigger, just not that much bigger. (On a slightly unrelated but also totally related note, YAY FOR C-SECTIONS!)

My upcoming treatments are on July 20 (Alisa!), August 10 (April, is this yours?), and August 31 (guest spot open). After that, they’ll continue every three weeks UNTIL THE END OF TIME, or at least it seems that way. Oh, and while I’m on the subject of my chemo buddies, I want to thank all of you who have accompanied me for a treatment thus far:

  • Mother Mary
  • April and Lisa
  • Loveliest Lori
  • Sherilee
  • Kim F’n, TWICE!
  • Kathy
  • Sunshine
  • Erin

…and Victor, of course, for being our errand boy for the first six. (Yep, I kinda like that errand boy, even when he’s not running errands.)

So, that’s the latest on chemotherapy for Jen. For the next three weeks, it’s “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” 

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