It’s Friday Morning and I’m almost through my first week after starting Chemo. It’s been a crazy ride this week!
Lets start with Monday Morning… Lisa and I are driving to San Antonio so that I can start my chemo. We were about 15 – 20 miles outside of San Antonio when my phone rang. It’s CTRC (Cancer Therapy and Research Center) to tell me that I’m not going to be able to start Chemo this morning. It turns out there’s a billing problem.
I immediately see red! First off, I’ve been going to CTRC since April. Surely they could have worked this our before. On top of that, I had already been driving for a little over 2 hours when they called me. I was pretty sure I was going to try to find an Oncologist in Corpus Christi, but this really sealed it for me. Lisa immediately got on the phone with the VA. I got on the phone with CTRC and within an hour we had the two of them talking and got things worked out. In the mean time Lisa and I were sitting in a Burger King not sure if we should go home or proceed to San Antonio.
Once we got to CTRC it was fairly uneventful. Once they start giving me Chemo, it only takes half an hour. I wait longer for the blood tests results to come back than anything. It’s all very comfortable though. The people are wonderful ,the recliners we sit in are very comfortable. Best of all, in my mind we’re moving forward.
The ride back to Corpus Christi was uneventful too. I was just about ready to chalk this whole Chemo thing up as a piece of cake when it hit me (about 8:30 or 9:00 that night). I’m not sure I can describe the feeling..The sensation was as if the whole room were spinning. It only lasted about 15 – 20 minutes, but I was sure that if this continued for a while it was not going to end well.
The next morning I felt OK, just weak. I managed to be a productive member of society, I just moved a little slower than usual. That night I even managed to run a music rehearsal for the cast of The Producers. I’ll admit, I was wiped out afterwards.
Wednesday Morning I woke up relatively early because I had to see my Radiation Oncologist. Wednesday was my “Fitting”. They create this form-fitting pillow that will cause you to lie on the machine the exact same way each time. They also marked up most of my body with black magic marker. That way they can line me up in the machine a little easier. Then top it all off, I got three little tattoos. The tattoos are in case the magic marker comes off. That way they will always be able to tell how I should line up.
I had a talk with Dr. Stewart (My radiation oncologist), I explained to her that I really needed to find a medical oncologist in Corpus Christi. She agreed to help me find one. I’ll tell you, this is one of the reasons I really love Dr. Stewart: Once she found a Doctor for me, she didn’t have one of her nurses call me. Dr. Stewart actually called me herself.
Wednesday afternoon I developed a fever. Now Lisa and Rachel and the entire cast of “Full Monty” as well as the cast of “The Producers” have all been sick. I’ve done everything I could to avoid it, but you can’t forever. I wasn’t too worried, but my instructions were to call if I ever develop a fever of over 101. I was at 101.6. I called several numbers at CTRC and kept getting voice mail. Eventually I just went ahead and called Dr. Mahalingham’s cell phone.
The doctor told me that he didn’t actually believe that my blood counts would drop that quickly. After all, I only had one treatment so far. He did think that this was worth watching. He told me to take 2 Tylenol and see if the fever dropped. If it didn’t then I had to got to the emergency room. Fortunately it did drop and I didn’t have to go to the hospital. It spiked once or twice more during the night, but then it was over. In the morning I got a call from my nurse at CTRC. She also told me that if it came back at all during the day I was to go directly to the Emergency Room. Fortunately it never did.
I did really feel run down all day yesterday. I attributed that to the fevers and general crud. At the end of the day, I finally forced myself to sit down and have a meal. I had really lost my appetite all day. Strangely, once I was done eating I felt better. That’s when it occurred to me that my blood sugar had bottomed out.
You know, between the surgery, the chemo, the crud, the emotional anxiety involved with all of this; it’s really hard to tell sometimes what the causes are for feeling poorly. As it turns out, this was a lesson I learned (or thought I had) right after surgery. I’ve got to keep eating or I’ll feel bad.
Well it’s Friday Morning and it’s time to get ready for work. This weekend, as all of them are, is really busy. That’s why I’m taking Chemo early in the week. So that I can make it through the weekends.
If you’re in town, come see the Full Monty at the Aurora Arts Theater. The show it terrific and we still have plenty of seats left this weekend. Don’t wait though, there are only 3 more weeks to see this show!! Let me know if you need tickets.