One round down, 5 to go! That means one month down and 5 to go, also. For me, one round is two treatments spaced 14 days apart.
So how did it go?
Well...it was different then the first time, that's for sure. Here's a brief run down of the important points I think matter from the first treatment (the differences are underlined):
1. We drove 3 hours for a biz trip to see the always awesome Dr. David Tiberio present in RI. We left Friday night (first treatment was Thursday) and came home Saturday night. No travel this time.
2. I had an adverse reaction to one of the long lasting anti-nausea (such a weird word "nausea") meds so they couldn't give it to me. They switched the drug order around so I was able to get that specific drug in.
3. I fasted (didn't eat anything) for 24-36 hours around my chemo. I forget when my last meal was before my treatment, treatment was in the evening, and my 1st meal wasn't until 8 PM on Friday night. I still fasted, but only for about 24 hours, noon Thursday to noon Friday, roughly.
4. I threw up A LOT the first 5 days. NO PUKING this time around! That was clutch.
5. I had crazy hiccups on Saturday, like every couple of hours. I had the worse hiccups in the world. They lasted for about 3 days, WOKE ME UP Sunday night, I basically didn't sleep at all Sunday night and got little sleep Saturday because of them. The hiccups were compounded by intense acid reflux and they would hit me in waves, as in, 2-3 hiccups on top of each other. Every time I hiccuped I wanted to puke.
There was a big change though - I only have to give myself ONE SHOT per day! I have a blood clot in my neck (my oncology team told me that's "normal" with some cancer's) so I need to inject myself in the stomach with an anti-coagulation drug every day. Before it was twice a day, now just once.
Shots man...I hate shots. Easily the worst part of my day...every day.
I hate needles. Like a fat kid hates diets. That thought "I need to take my shot in a few hours" ran through my head constantly and would make me feel sick. I have gotten over it, now that I only have to take one shot.
Those were the differences for the most part. I was still down for about 7 days, but I did seem to bounce back a little bit on day 5/6 depending on how you count (Tuesday).
It was still the most intense awful feeling. Think:
You just got dumped by the love of your life.
Worse hangover possible.
Worse flu possible.
Your dog just died.
My favorite "Fight" buddy.
That's kind of how I felt. It's indescribable, but, you get the picture.
Day by day:
Day 1 = Thursday = FIGHT! I just went home to sleep.
Day 2 = Friday - Day 2 was in line with Day 2 from last time. Felt awful, no energy, no desire to move. Start of the chemo hiccups.
Day 3 = Saturday - pretty much continuation of Day 2. Hiccups got worse. Figured out the way to beat hiccups!
Day 4 = Sunday - Hiccups hit a crescendo. I feel like such a baby comparing about hiccups (again another funny word), but hiccups + heart burn + nausea + feeling shit = HELL
Day 5 = Monday. Started to feel a little bit better. Hiccups were much less. Heartburn still there and so was nausea.
Day 6 = Tuesday. I felt ok enough that I wanted to try and venture in for a 15 minute cardio session. We live 15 minutes from KDR Fitness (our gym). THAT DRIVE, 15 minutes, a drive I do multiple times a day sometimes...killed me. I remember thinking - oh man, this drive is really tiring. I got into the gym, talked to one of our awesome team members for about 15 minutes and then promptly went home and slept for a few hours. Goal for day = not accomplished.
Day 7 = Wednesday. I did get in a 15 minute bike session on that day. But that was it.
Chemo rule #93 - if you have symptoms under your throat, don't exercise. Meaning, if you have a sore throat or headache, it's ok to go in an work out. Nausea? NOPE. Don't do it. This is a good rule of thumb for feeling sick too.
I felt AWFUL after biking. I had to actually sit down for about 30 minutes after my "work out" to rest. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Day 8 = Thursday. Felt good enough to get a strength training session in! One set of everything, rep range 8-12. See below for what I did. My energy was finally coming back.
RKC Front Plank - 20s
Scap. Push Up - 3 sets 3 reps with 30 secs rest.
Hip Ups - 12 reps
SA Standing Supinated to pronated row - 12 reps
RDL's - 12 reps
SA Incline Bench - 12 reps
BW Box Squats - 10 reps
Side Lying ABD's - 15 reps
From day 9 (Friday) to day 14 my energy and how I was feeling improved exponentially. No nausea, no heartburn, no fucking hiccups.
The weekend was BUSY.
My mom and my aunt came to visit me on Friday.
We finished up a short term contest at the gym and had a party to celebrate on Friday.
I intended to go into the gym on Friday night for the party. This would have been the first time I was in the gym, in front of members in about 3 months. My plan was to get there early, so that I could "set the tone". That way, I figured, I wouldn't be bombarded by questions. I got there 20 minutes before the party started.
My #KDRFitFam - sorry I didn't stick around!
There were already 20 people there. I chickened out. They all looked at me when I entered and I chickened out.
I went right up to Jamie, gave her the cash (the contest was a team contest, 3 people, team that lost the most weight won $3000), and told her I had to leave. Christine, one of our coaches, walked me out so I wouldn't have to talk to anyone.
I want you to understand something- I am not an introvert in any sense of the word. HELOOOOOO I am writing a blog about my horrible time going through cancer treatment. I thrive in groups in people. I love people. But...chemo changes you. I just couldn't muster the energy to be around that many people.
Saturday was different; our charity work out was for a local wrestling team, I wrestled in HS so I really wanted to be there for that. Plus, I FELT better, like I could handle more. So I went in.
The new Charity Dragon Champions! These two burned 1000 calories in under an hour (male) and 70 minutes (female). That's hard!
It was so great to see our members, get some hugs and talk to people. After the charity work out, we drove around locally, visited some out door spots with my mom and aunt and got home at 9 pm.
Just cause you got cancer doesn't mean you can't wave in the wind!
It was a long day.
Sunday was Easter, family time! I love Jamie's family and to have her family and my family (in part) together made me really happy. But, I was un-aware of how much the weekend drained me.
I fell asleep in a chair in the living room during the family event. I was just so tired. I felt like I was 80 years old. I didn't really "sleep", it was more a rest of the mind and body with my eyes closed if that makes sense.
I believe that we are beings of energy - it's my hippy up bringing maybe?
That every time we interact with someone we either pull energy from there or give energy to them.
Sometimes it's an equal trade, but not always.
Sometimes, when you’re low energy, being around people can bring you up.
For me, being around all of those people on Saturday and Sunday totally wiped me out.
That's about how I felt after Saturday's gym visit.
But it was great! I would do it again in a heart beat. It's tough owning your own business and not being able to contribute. On Saturday, I was able to contribute a little bit and that helped me feel a little bit more "in it" and my self.
Chemo rule #54 - Always think about the next day. We tell people that exercise is hind sight, meaning you won't feel the effects of the work out (soreness, fatigue, etc.) until AFTER the work out is done, and usually not until the next day.
Going through chemo is the same. Except, just walking for 15 minutes can wipe you out on some days. You always need to be thinking - how is this going to affect me for tomorrow?
Monday we went to see Batman vs. Superman. Bad ass movie! I also got a number of projects done on Monday.
Tuesday I got the last workout in before my port placement and FIGHT. Three
workouts for me this round - woo hoo!
Gotta work on that ass!
How was my diet different after treatment 2?
This was my "treat" meal after I worked out. I ate like...15 chicken nuggets.
Pretty much the same. I lived off of bland comfort food for about a week. Lot of gluten free toast, soups (for some reason I was jazzed up on dumpling soup this time), grilled cheese, meatloaf, mac and cheese and quiche.
I cooked my first meal in about a month with Jamie this time too. For some reason, the thought of cooking a meal, i.e. actually assembling raw ingredients, cooking them and putting them together to make something, made me queasy. Not sure why. But I sucked it up and made an egg dish (BEN—that I love, with my love?) my love.
It occurred to me that during my 7 days on, I need to be better with my food selection, specifically more veggies and more protein. My weight has stayed the same, but I know I have lost muscle mass, probably in the realm of 8 lbs or so.
So, I started drinking a 35 gram protein shake and taking my multivitamins with it on Day 7. This also helps me get water in.
Part of my morning ritual.
Getting the chemo drugs out of your system is VERY IMPORTANT. They are extremely toxic, so the idea is to get them in and get them out as quickly as possible. This is where water comes in.
Every 1-2 weeks I get a CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel) done. They look at two liver enzymes, ALT and AST, among other things. Those two enzymes give my oncology team an idea of how hard my liver was working to get rid of the chemo drugs.
My ALT and AST were 5-6 times the UPPER limit. That's high. So...more water! Having chronically elevated levels like that can lead to liver damage.
Here's a take home point I want you to consider - drink a protein shake and take a multivitamin every day at the same time. First thing in the AM. Aim for 30 ounces of water. This will help you get in more protein (generally never a bad idea), more water (almost never a bad idea) and multivitamins (usually a great idea, but that depends on the vitamin brand and how it's made). Studies have shown time and time again that people don't drink enough water, don't consume enough protein and are deficient in many vitamins and minerals.
Oh...I forgot one thing - I started losing my hair...so this happened.
Stay tuned for how I beat the hiccups! Believe me, you will want to learn this trick as well as what causes hiccups and what may be causing mine.