• Chemotherapy Experiences,  Side Effects

    The Effects of the Dex (it rhymes‚Ķ ūüėä)

    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‚Äôs 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…