I forget what-all I mentioned in previous medical updates, and I’m far too lazy to go check. So forgive me if I retread some ground here. In fact, I might have made this same disclaimer at the beginning of one or more medical updates. Whatever.

Chemo goes in cycles of three weeks, of which there are six, so it’s an 18-week process. Each cycle only has three days of chemo treatment (two the first week, one the second, then one week off). Treatments are 4-4.5 hours long. And it’s almost magical how 13 or so hours out of three weeks can knock me down so heavily and for so long.

I’m getting two drugs: paclitaxel (alternately IV and IP) and cisplatin (IP only). I had a mild allergic reaction to the paclitaxel at first, so they premedicate me with dexamethasone and diphenhydramine for that one. The steroid causes me to want to stuff my face with food all the time (and exacerbates my already epic insomnia), while the antihistamine makes me groggy and drowsy but doesn’t help me actually sleep. IP hits harder, but generally the paclitaxel isn’t that bad. In general, though, I don’t have a huge number of spoons for interaction with other people. My apologies to anyone I’ve neglected lately!

The cisplatin, on the other hand, though administered on only one of the three days, is the worst experience ever. This is the drug that coats my DNA with platinum, which is still cool… but man was not meant to pump platinum into her abdomen. Seriously. They even adjusted the dose this second cycle, and it still ruined me for an entire week. Pain, groggy-headedness, fatigue, pain, discomfort, nausea and vomiting, discomfort, an inability to sit the fuck up, headaches, a general gross feeling, tinnitus, pain, everything going weirdly flavored or just bland (a great combination with the steroid-induced appetite surge), and worse constipation even than before chemo, and also abdominal pain — aaauuugggghhhh I hate cisplatin.

I’m not entirely sure I’m getting cisplatin next week, though; the calendar on the cancer center site is not very detailed, but it kinda looks like it’s paclitaxel every time during this next cycle. Cross my fingers XD I see the cancer center oncologist this Friday, so we’ll see what he has to say. The genetic test results came back, and it turns out I do have a mutated gene, so it may just be about that and my consequent increased risk of breast cancer.

Oh, and did I mention I still have fibromyalgia? Yeah, sadly, that hasn’t magically gone away because I have cancer. And it’s really difficult to tell how that’s affecting my reactions to chemotherapy, and how much of my pain, fatigue, and groggy-headedness is caused by that rather than by the chemo drug(s). The folks at the cancer center are great, but they’ve almost completely ignored this aspect of my symptoms. So that’s fun.

I’ma try to make a productivity log, if only to demonstrate that I have been able to do some artistic things during chemo so far, but I may fail. In that case, at least trust that I have been able to do some artistic things during chemo so far XD


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