Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's Up With the Doc 46? - Chemotherapy Really Just Isn't Any Fun

To say that I feel like I've been hit by a truck might be an understatement. The first three or four days after my 1st cycle of cisplatin/taxotere on March 6th I felt more tired and more nauseated than I have before - much more. The next three or four days were just generally not so great, but not awful. On Saturday morning, March 14 I woke up feeling pretty good, which was great since we were at a volleyball tournament. But everything went down the toilet by midafternoon when the fever, abdominal pain and nausea hit. Anybody keeping track will note that this was cycle day 9. Just like the last two cycles of Alimta. The fever isn't occurring in 21 day cycles, though, because the cis/taxotere was delayed by 3 days. So it always hits on cycle day 9. Today is my fifth consecutive day with temps over 101. Because this was a Friday cycle the fever started on the weekend and I had to go to the ER on Sunday when we got home to get all my cultures, white count and CXR to make sure we aren't dealing with infection, just like the last two times. Everything's fine.

So this can't be anything but tumor fever. Which would be exciting except that the tumor progressed on Alimta while I was having tumor fever so I am not holding out a lot of hope that it means that this chemotherapy is going to be any more effective. See? When I feel bad I lose my natural optimism. I felt so poorly when I went to bed last night that I decided I wasn't going to let the oncologist do even the second cis/taxotere cycle because I feel as though I'm sacrificing time that I could be feeling good, enjoying my family and friends for little return. Then I felt much better when I got up this morning and figured I'd hold off on the final decision. Now my temperature's 101.3 again and I'm just fed up. I talked to both my oncologist's office and my friend in Albuquerque and I'm going to try Aleve instead of Ibuprofen since that's been shown to have better efficacy in tumor fever. And whatever else happens today, tomorrow is another day.

Yesterday the New York Times sent a photographer out to take pictures and record an interview with a reporter that they plan to use in a web-based series they are doing on patient stories. The series is diagnosis-based and this one is on lung cancer so they found me. I thought the interview went really well and because Emma's home for spring break there may be pictures of her in the story, as well. He certainly took a few of her. They said it would probably be 6 weeks before the series is up and I'll certainly give a shout out at the time.

1 comment:

Dr. Kathy J said...

Lisa, This is the first time I have tried a blog, and none of the kids are home to help me, so here goes. I was thinking that this must be your one year anniversary and so I logged in to see how you were doing. I was hoping that you would feel well enough to come to a dinner meeting with us Occ Docs at the Hawthorne Inn last weekend. Good lecture. Understood that you will have to participate in what you can, and you have every right to not participate in anything that you don't feel well enough to do or just don't feel like doing it. If you remember Bartelby the Scribner who "preferred not to". It seems we are constantly doing things for other poeple, you have the right to do things for yourself. I hate to read about all the chemotherapy side effects that you are having, but I can't believe your presenteeism at work. The drive alone could wear you down. It is great that they seem to be letting you work PRN, but the schedule you have made for yourself does appear to be difficult, so I hope that you aren't pushing yourself too much. I appreciate your straight forward honesty with your treatment and decision to have control and not do procedures that you feel are futile. I was told as an intern that I had a "bad attitude" on internal medicine because I said such things in 1981. Good for you. Add life to years, not just years to life. Be happy. GOD Bless, KJ