• Chemotherapy Experiences,  Side Effects

    The Effects of the Dex (it rhymes… 😊)

    Dexamathasone is a steroid medication.  It has been around since 1958 and is quite inexpensive.  Because of its strong anti-inflammatory function, it is used for everything from rheumatoid arthritis to dental extractions, from speeding fetal development in utero to combatting severe altitude sickness for mountaineers.  Sometimes long-term usage, sometimes for a very brief period around a specific medical event. For cancer, it used mainly for its anti-emetic effect.  From Wikipedia:  People with cancer undergoing chemotherapy are often given dexamethasone to counteract certain side effects of their antitumor treatments. Dexamethasone can increase the antiemetic effect of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, such as ondansetron.[16] The exact mechanism of this interaction is not well-defined, but it has been theorized that this effect may be due to,…

  • 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…

  • Chemotherapy Experiences

    Rebound Like a Boss!

    I had bloodwork done two days before Cycle 3 chemo, and when the result were returned, I was way below reference range for both WBC and Neutrophils, the immune system markers.  It looked like I wasn’t going to be able to have my chemo.  Tanya, my chemo clinic nurse, talked with Dr S, and offered me the following two options.  Option A was to come down to London on Wed evening and redo the blood work on Thursday morning. If it remained poor, I would be denied chemo and asked to wait a week until the following Thursday, putting my whole future schedule back and messing up a whole bunch…