Sorry, sorry, sorry. I will continue to try to do better because I know this post is two weeks overdue. On Friday June 27, I had my last visit with the nurse practitioner for my follow up for neutropenic pathway. The doctors told me that my blood cell counts had rebounded incredibly quickly, and they asked me if my bones hurt. I contribute this blessing in part to my age but mostly to everyone’s prayers.
On Saturday June 28, I was feeling so much better that we decided to venture out. After looking up “101 Things to Do in Houston” which included on their list a tour of MD Anderson Hospital and scouring the hospital waiting rooms for celebrities, we knew we had to look outside of Houston for our entertainment. The one item on the list that actually caught our eye was a visit to Old Town Spring, a small town outside of Houston with “over 150 eclectic shops.” We had a good time and true to its description Spring had tons of little boutiques in old houses and cottages. We had bar-b-que on an old caboose, and we enjoyed being tourists for the day.
Sunday June 29, we enjoyed a day of rest while we waited for my brother Frankie and his wife Doris to arrive from West Tennessee. Frankie and Doris arrived around 10 pm. As excited as we were for their arrival we had only a brief visit and we quickly retired.
Late Monday morning, June 30, after catching up on rest and missing breakfast, Frankie and Doris picked us up and we went to lunch at a local bar-b-que restaurant. Although I was feeling better with each passing day my poor appetite was the one thing that really lingered. Lunch was fantastic, but I ended up taking most of it home with me. Despite the fact that we all slept in, we decided that an afternoon nap was just what we needed. Frankie and Doris came back over around 6 pm, and we opted for another Astros game. We did learn something from our previous Astros experience that it is okay to buy tickets at the gate. Houston Astros’ games never sell out, unlike the Atlanta Braves.
Tuesday July 1, Frankie and Doris were planning to leave around 9 am, and my parents decided to leave and ride back with them to give us a little space and take care of things at home. They told me they would come back at the drop of a hat if I needed them to.
So now Marissa and I are on our own with all of our families on standby. Wednesday July 2, we had an appointment with an occupational therapist to go over my wheel chair assessment, that we had requested a month before when my pain was at its worst. MD Anderson actually measured me to fit me for a new wheel chair that is rented on a month to month basis. It can be kept as long or as little as I want, and it can also be picked up and returned even if I go back home to Atlanta for treatment. Wednesday was also a day of errands as I was scheduled to start chemotherapy again on Thursday. This way we would have anything and everything I could possibly need so Marissa would not have to leave me alone during my treatment. We saved the best errand for last, to go to the Social Security Administration Office and enroll for Social Security Disability. While we thought this would be a nightmarish task, it actually turned out to not be so bad. A couple of nice gentlemen helped us, and we were out of there in about two hours.
Thursday July 3, I had routine blood work in the morning as well as a chest x-ray. I had an afternoon appointment with Dr. Trent just for a check-up and question/ answer session before I began my second round of chemotherapy. He said that my blood work came back normal and that my chest x-ray was clear. This in itself was great news because had these tests not come back normal I would not have been able to start my second round of chemotherapy. Dr. Trent was interested in how I tolerated round one of chemotherapy. Since my nausea began on day 3 last time and lasted until after it was over, he added a long lasting nausea medicine to my daily chemo regimen. He also prescribed Diflucan, an anti-fungal medicine, to prevent me from getting thrush again this round. I was also prescribed Levoquin, an antibiotic that will prevent infections. This will hopefully prevent me from ending up in the Emergency Center with another fever. He followed up with a physical exam. After feeling the mass in my abdomen he said that it appeared to be softening. He commented, “That’s encouraging,” which we hope we did not take out of context because most doctors, and especially Dr. Trent, are not into making comments for the sake of encouragement. Overall we were thrilled with the news, and we proceeded to check in for chemotherapy after 5 pm.
Friday the 4th of July we reported to the Cancer Center for day two of chemotherapy. During the chemo treatment all I could think about was being in the Cancer Center on the 4th of July. I had to see some fireworks to liven my spirits. I asked the nurse where we could catch the best show of fireworks and she said without a doubt, Clear Lake City. Clear Lake City turned out to be about a thirty minute drive, and my IV drip was scheduled to end at 7:50 pm. We knew the schedule was tight as we rushed out of the Cancer Center. The fireworks were scheduled to begin at 9:30 pm, and I couldn’t miss the show. We drove into Clear Lake City around 9:15 pm, just in time to sit in a traffic jam on the bay bridge. As it turned out that traffic jam ended up not moving for the entire duration of the fireworks, giving us a perfect view of the show over the water.
Saturday and Sunday, July 5 and 6, were both uneventful days. Life as a cancer patient on chemotherapy becomes a cycle of 21 days, with day 1 being the first day of chemotherapy. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (days 3, 4, and 5) I felt much better than I did on days 3, 4, and 5 of the first cycle. I did not experience the nausea as I did previously, but on days 6, and 7 (Tuesday and Wednesday) I felt worse than last time.
Today, Wednesday July 9, I am still feeling incredibly fatigued, but fortunately that is really my only complaint. As the chemo works its magic it takes some “good” cells with the “bad” ones. They warned me about “chemo brain,” the effect the chemotherapy would have on my mental capacity. I have noticed that my thoughts are not as clear, and that my attention is not as devoted. This has shown an effect on my blog posts. The solution may be to blog more often so that I do not have to remember as much, we’ll see how that goes over. Special thank you to Marissa for helping me remember past days and typing my posts as I lay here and dictate.