Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I know that my last entry was a bit frightening. Since I didn’t want you to worry I had planned to send another update sooner, rather than later. Of course my brilliant ghost writer jumped into action instead with a post on Tuesday 9/20, and I can’t imagine anyone being worried about her after that one! By the way, the blog dates are when you start writing the blog entry, not when you post it, so that I have now started to write my updates off line until I get the time to post them. The next 3 paragraphs were actually written on Saturday 9/17 at Cedars, and the rest was written Tuesday 10/4.
Continuing where the last entry ended, Radhika slept until 8PM Friday with only occasional bath room breaks, so the Ativan knocked her out for a good 7 hours. After she woke up we watched episode 43 of the Queen, and at 9:30PM it was time to leave. She was dazed and tired, but wanted to walk to the car nevertheless, since the 2000ml hydration had given her some energy back. The news that we’d be able to go home on Saturday really lifted her spirits, and I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up grapes for her and dinner for me, while she waited in the car. When we got back to the apartment she threw up once in the courtyard, but by 10:45 we were both asleep after having had some dinner: beef and veggies for me, rice and yoghurt for her.
I spent Saturday morning packing and getting ready to leave straight from Cedars. Radhika woke up somewhat unexpectedly at 8:30, saying that she had acidity and briefly spitting up, but after an Ativan she went straight back to sleep. The Ativan is taken sublingually, so it is really the best anti nausea med for her stomach, and the fact that she slept so long after the one the day before would also mean that she’d be fine until the IFEX pump finished at 1:30PM. I woke her up at 11:15, after which we watched episode 44 and then she took her shower. That fatigued her so that she had another vomiting bout, but after some rest she could eat some rice with yoghurt. As it turned out we only got to Cedars at 2:30, because packing up alone took me longer, so that we only got out of there by 8PM after 5 hours of hydration.
I read my entry from April 7 again, and it vividly brought back the memory of how ghastly IFEX 1 was for us. This time we really had only one bad day, Friday, and that was nowhere near as bad as even some of the better days we had during IFEX 1. She lost 4 pounds of weight this time, just like last time, but I think last time her end weight was inflated because of all the hydration she was getting. She was still keeping some food down this time, since we were careful what she ate and she had fewer problems to start out with. The only thing is that she may not remember much about the last day or two, since she was pretty out of it mentally, but from IFEX 1 she remembers nothing at all, so even that is relatively speaking better. Moreover, as opposed to last time, her blood values have almost all been in the range for a normal person. We are certainly glad that this round is behind us, and that Forscher said to Radhika the round before “No more IFEX after that, unless you want more” because I am pretty sure that means we are done with IFEX.
Funny reading these last 3 paragraphs, because more than 2 weeks later it all seems so far away. Radhika's blog entry gives a great description of our first experiences back home. As you can imagine we spent these past two weeks getting used to our freshly painted house and the possibilities it opened up. The smell was completely gone by Wednesday 9/21, and Radhika was doing well. We were a bit surprised when on Friday 9/23 afternoon we found out that her blood test from the day before showed her white blood cell count to be really low. With the impending weekend it made for a hectic afternoon trying to figure out what exactly to do, and in the end it meant another blood test on Monday 9/26 (which ended up showing that the Neulasta shot had fully kicked in and her whites had gone back to normal) and just being careful not to catch an infection in the mean time. Radhika felt fatigued on Saturday 9/24 so that I took Mira to gymnastics and the soccer game by myself, but other than that we didn’t go anywhere and didn’t do much of anything. Radhika never developed a fever which meant we didn’t have to make any trips to Cedars. By Tuesday 9/27 she felt fine, and we spent the rest of the week talking about curtains, kitchens and sofas, buying some things from Lowes, Home Depot, IKEA and the container store, and going for acupuncture. It is a lot nicer to deal with window treatments than chemo treatments! Of course that is easier said than done sometimes, because just as we were getting into the swing of things, Radhika’s hair started to fall out again. This happened after the first round of IFEX as well, except it went a lot faster and led to Radhika getting her hair cut off 10 days after the end of the round. Today it is 17 days after the end of the round and maybe she will get a clean cut tomorrow, but the fact that it took twice as long to get to this stage is again an indication of her resilience. She is now doing well, except for her hair, and the cough which the doctors/nurses/acupuncturist say is caused by the chemo making the lungs drier.
One reason for why we have been motivated to work on our house is that the painting has given us a fresh start for this: all the windows were uncovered and there was no wall art of any kind. Another reason is that Radhika’s parents will be coming from India this Thursday 10/6, and we want the house to be somewhat presentable by then. It is tough though, because these things always take longer than you want them to. We have learned though that we like to think things through rather than going for the next best thing, so on the flip side we have to be patient with ourselves and the process. I am pretty sure that by January we will be living in a vastly improved house.
Looking forward, the next 2 rounds of chemo will be MTX starting on Monday 10/10 and 10/24, respectively. Radhika’s parents will be with us for both of those until they leave again on Thursday 11/3, so they will take care of Mira for us during these 2 rounds. Radhika’s mom is a great cook, so we will all be well taken care off for these 4 weeks. Her next big round is Adriamycin on 11/7, but she didn’t have all that many problems with Adria last time, so we are not really worried about it, especially since it seems quite far away. Radhika’s next scan is on Tuesday 10/11 and we hope it will show the improvements she has felt. Of course I am planning to keep you updated about the results as things unfold during that round.