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I have a fever. I hit 100.5, which means having to call the after-hours on-call line. They want me to wait another 1/2 hour and take temp again. If it gets worse, then I'll have to go to ER.


My side effects with Gem

MEDICAL UPDATE: Ok so here's how we'll do this. Here is a sheet which contains side effects possible with Gemcitabine (Gemzar), which first chemo drug up in the new chemo protocol I've just begun.

To see a larger version.of it, go to Chemocare.com, and use the search function to look up Gemcitabine.

Now, out of all those possible side effects, here are the ones I had, myself:

- flu-like symptoms
- fatigue
- nausea (mild)
- poor appetite

Look how few side effects I had, compared to how many are possible!


Begin Gem, unwelcome surprise

MEDICAL UPDATE: Well, I fell asleep during chemo today. (Day 1, week 1 with Gemcitabine/Gemzar only today.) And my mother was worried because I wasn't breathing properly in my sleep. (Note: my mother is an RN, so she sometimes will spot things that the layperson won't.)

Mother told the nurse that was doing my chemo, A, of her concern. And A put one of those devices onto my finger that measures oxygen. And they found my breathing was poorly while I was asleep during chemo.

So A called my oncology team with this finding. And my team sent the team nurse, S, over. I was only just waking up, having no knowledge of any of it, when S arrived. S said that I could have an overnight test done to see if I need oxygen at night. And they think it's my pain meds causing this slower/shallower breathing in my sleep.

I felt so violated that mother and chemo nurse A did this, and just had team nurse S come in without me knowing what was going on.

I cried a lot, and really hard. I don't want more tests! And I don't want oxygen or a sleep apnea machine or whatever else they might throw at me if I let them do this test. Then my mother cried because I was crying. And I think nurse S nearly cried.

I don't want more abnormal things! I want to be normal and I can't be normal because I have cancer and a big fat leg from the lymphedema.

I declined the test about 3-4 times but I can think about it and get back to S later if I decide to take the test.

I'm tired all the time,  and it is possible that I'm not breathing properly in my sleep and that's what's causing my tiredness.

But I just don't know how much more I can deal with. The possibility of the test showing I need oxygen or something... I don't know if I can deal with it.


Starting Gem/Tax tomorrow.

MEDICAL UPDATE: I saw the doc today at SCCA. I start chemo with the new chemo drugs at 8am tomorrow.


Gem/Tax details.

MEDICAL UPDATE: I have been asked for further details about the type of chemo protocol I'll be starting soon. I have a couple links, from info sheets I was given at the oncologist's office. These are from Chemocare.com

http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/gemcitabine.aspx is Gem

http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/docetaxel.aspx is Tax

If you're curious about the chemo drugs, Gemcitabine (Gemzar) and Taxotere (Docetaxel), which I'll be given starting after Thanksgiving, you can check out those links.


Gem/Tax will start soon.

MEDICAL UPDATE: I went to SCCA today for a lab draw, Zometa infusion (bone strengthening med), social worker, and patient education. (While I was there, a nurse from Palliative Care touched base, and she will have scheduler call me tomorrow.)

Lab draw and Zometa were boring like they usually are.

They raised my Fentanyl (pain patch) from 75mcg up to 100mcg. This should be a huge help with pain!

The social worker asked Some questions and asked me to fill out a form. She was very kind, especially when I got upset at one point. I have to call her tomorrow for scheduling.

The patient education with my team nurse was about the next type of chemo protocol I will be starting after Thanksgiving. I am going onto Gemcitabine (Gemzar) and Taxotere (Docetaxel). Otherwise known as Gem/Tax.

I'll have a similar schedule with this as I had with the Doxirubicin and Olaratumab: 2 weeks on and 1 week off (resting week).

There is a laundry list of side effects between the two. But to just put a few key ones out there... It's *possible* that my hair *might* not fall out this time. A lot of the side effects involve aches, pains, flu-like symptoms. Fatigue. It's possible that I could need a blood transfusion due to low iron while on this chemo protocol.

Speaking of iron, a recent lab draw showed that I have low iron. So I'll be getting infusions of iron for a while. I believe the nurse said 8 infusions done every other week; I had my first one today.

Last but not least. Unfortunately, the Lymphedema (swollen right leg) may be permanent. So. Charming. My right foot is also swollen. New shoes may be in order.


MEDICAL UPDATE: Ok so what was going on, right?

Think of my pain levels, for a moment, like a bank statement. I was in the negative (very deeply in the negative!!), meaning I was hurting crazy-bad.

Going into the ER meant they could use heavier pain killers to bring me back up into the positive (little or no pain).

What they used was Dilauded (a narcotic pain med derived from morphine; they used the IV form, which is much heavier duty than the pill 💊 form I have at home), and Toradol (IV NSAID).

Going back to the bank statement analogy, now that I'm in the positive again, it will be a whole lot easier to maintain my balance with my regular pain medications.


Pain meds and oxygen.

MEDICAL UPDATE: At UW hospital. Pain reared its ugly head. They are giving me more Dilauded by IV, as well as a med called Toradol.

I'm on a bit of oxygen which is a little annoying.

I only got a few hours of sleep last night so I'll crash for a while.


Heading to hiso

MEDICAL UPDATE: I'm still in some pain and have been pretty consistent with the last several doses of pain meds. We're getting ready to go to the hospital now, at dark:45AM (also known as 4:45AM).

Thanks for all the prayers!


MEDICAL UPDATE: Just had an episode of the hot, searing pain tearing through my leg again. Happened just before midnight. I'm conferring with my mother about it. I may be going in to UW Hospital tonight.

EDIT: I spoke with my mother. She wants me to wake at 3am to take more pain meds. And then we will go to hospital at 6am.