• Attitude

    Between treatment normalcy…

    This has been a frenetic weekend. I wasn’t sure how my energy would hold up, given what we had planned, but now that the craziness is over and I’m back home with my feet up, I can tell you that I was… perfectly normal! This is week 3 of my 4th cycle of chemo. That means that my immune system and blood values are probably all at the absolute nadir – they have been trashed by the chemo drugs and now need to rebound in time for my next treatment in 4 days time. Despite that, I feel perfectly normal. My energy level feels about the same as it would…

  • Chemotherapy Experiences

    Counting Cycles

    Today is Day 4 of Chemo cycle 4, so I am now 2/3rds of the way done. Sort of… The world counts it that way – the moment that the drug drip stops, you are done the next cycle. But in real life, that’s just the beginning.  Each chemo cycle starts for me about 3 days before the actual day of drug administration.  That’s when I head into the lab to get blood work done to determine my response to the previous cycle and whether I have recovered enough to have the next set of medications.  Since all chemo is toxic and causes extensive damage in the body, the effects…

  • Chemotherapy Experiences

    Spectacular Fail!

    As I approach Cycle 4 of my chemotherapy, I once again headed to the lab yesterday to get blood work completed.  Because I live 3 hours from my chemo clinic, I get blood work done on Mondays, read by the chemo nurse on Tuesdays, then get the go-ahead to come for chemo on Thursdays.  It shortens my very long chemo days to be able to do the blood work ahead of time.  This was my idea anyways, but it has not been working out so well for me lately…  Last cycle, my smug self-assurance that what I was doing with the ketogenic diet and the fasting during chemo was making…

  • Chemotherapy Experiences

    The Anatomy and Physiology and Psychology of Chemo Baldness…

    Going bald as a side effect of chemotherapy is not a universal experience, but it’s pretty common. Since chemotherapy drugs are generally targeted at rapidly metabolizing and rapidly growing/dividing cells, it’s expected that hair follicles will be impacted by many of the medications used. There are not a lot of cells that continue in a significant growth phase in human adulthood, but those that are – gastro-intestinal lining cells, immune-system-creating cells, hair follicles – are the ones that get hit as collateral damage. For women in particular, losing our hair can be devastating. Since infancy, it has been a big part of our identity and our appearance, so it becomes…