I plan to return to Marfa and points beyond as well, but first a quick update:
Tuesday, the day before infusion, I started taking dexamethasone, a steroid designed to stave off an allergic reaction to the chemotherapy agents, and with some additional anti-nausea effects as well. When I went to bed that night, my lungs sounded better than they had in months, and I coughed up very little fluid. It would follow that a good part of bronchorrhea is related to inflammation; it’s a shame steroids come with so many negative side effects. To wit–that night, I had a splitting headache and didn’t sleep a wink. I’m just glad we had agreed that David would drive me into Boston the next morning.
That was yesterday, Wednesday. Having taken the advice of members of my support group, prior to chemo I requested thermal packs to warm up my veins and I drank lots of water as well. After being dosed with zofran and more dexamethasone, infusion began. Alimta was only 10 minutes, and then another 50 for the carboplatin. Of course, that 60 minutes can stretch into many hours, what with waiting for lab results and the pharmacy to mix my personal cocktail.
I should add that I dressed for the occasion. First, the ironic but somehow very appropriate t-shirt shown above. My diamond earrings, to go with the platinum that would be coursing through my veins (my idea of a funny). And a lucky charm; some years back Jemesii cast an actual piece of Lucky Charms cereal in silver, and it has become a cheeky and cherished amulet.
We left the hospital around 3 pm and I was feeling a little bit loopy but still pretty chipper. I took a couple of ambien prior to bed and logged at least six hours of good sleep. This morning I had two more steroids as well as some zofran and sent out an email to my family and a few friends to say that aside from a somewhat leaden (make that platinum) feeling in my limbs, I seemed to be tolerating the treatment. However, I believe I crossed my t’s and dotted my i’s a bit too soon.
An hour after lunch, I got hit with my first wave of nausea. I popped a compazine to little effect. After an hour I took two more zofran. Fortunately I never vomited, but was caught off guard—I’d not expected to be so nauseated on my first course (the side effects of chemo tend to be cumulative). The headache returned and I gravitated between chills and sweats; fortunately no correlating fever. My tongue felt swollen and I became cognizant of peripheral neuropathy (tingling and numbness–in addition to the relatively mild neuropathy which has been a lingering side effect of cisplatin/taxotere) in both my hands and feet. This ride was becoming bumpy.
However, I am happy to report that I feel somewhat better tonight. Also, I am greatly cheered by the phone call I received from Dr. Shaw: the gene sequencing is a go.
Onward. Let’s just hope that the cancer’s butt is being kicked too.