CC Notes: Almost Back To Life.

Sorry for the abrupt disappearance, I was in very bad shape Tuesday and Wednesday. The chemo pump will be coming off shortly, and hopefully, I’ll start recovering from this last round. First and above all, my thanks to Charly and Voyager, who kept Affinity up and running in fine, interesting style. I can’t say thank you enough for that, and all your posts are so popular. Speaking of, I am so behind in answering emails, I have received them, I will answer! I’ve also gotten all the new submissions, and there are a lot, so it might be a few days before you see your stuff up, but I will get there, I promise.

I did manage to avoid another Neulasta, my neutrophil count was over 10 after the first dose of that nastiness, and it’s hoped it can carry me through the final cycles. If not, I can opt to do the more minor injections over three days, rather than the on body. This time, what knocked me on my arse was…heartburn! Yep. It started while still in the infusion center, but it wasn’t horrible. This was my first Tuesday, and never again. Holy shit, it was stuffed full of extremely talkative old folks, along with a nurse coming back out of retirement temporarily, and one who is a major, loud talker. Two of the older gentleman who had been trading work war stories, and complaining about the current crop of people were concluding their talk next to my chair, as the one gent was getting ready to leave. During his final chat, said gent was burping throughout, quite loudly. Then I heard a woman across the hall talking about her horrible bout of heartburn/acid reflux, which she dealt with by taking “old-fashioned pepto bismal.” I should have taken all that as an omen.

Chemo now exhausts me to the point that walking out of the hospital pretty much eats all my energy. I couldn’t even make it into the store to pick up my dex from the pharmacy. Got home, attended to my bag and all that jazz, then fell over into bed. Rick made me some Malt O’ Meal, which went down well enough. It wasn’t until late in the evening that the heartburn from hell hit. There was pain, there was burping. There was vomiting. I spent the night pretty much chained to the lav, leaking out both ends. Antacids weren’t helping, and I was out of the old-fashioned pink stuff. Rick was in town working on Wednesday, and I asked him to get me all the things, which he did. After taking much more than I should have of the generic prilosec and zantac, I was finally able to get some damn sleep. It still hasn’t gone away, I can feel it lurking in my throat, but here’s hoping I can keep a leash on it.

I really do count myself as lucky that I made it through half my cycles without feeling terribly bad. I’m not sure I could have carried on if it was like this from the start. I still remember the day of my first infusion, I was full of energy and appetite after. Seems like half a lifetime ago, and that particular me is nowhere in sight. The fatigue is mind-numbing, and the shake is worse than ever. In the good news department, pain has receded a fair amount. In the bad news department, chemo brain keeps getting worse.

I will be sleeping in each day until I’m fully back to life. Even though I get up early for me, around 9am, but that’s okay, as long as I don’t have to set a clock.


  1. kestrel says

    :-( Wow, that’s awful and I’m so sorry… I am hoping for sleep for you. And no clocks for a while. A very careful )hug( as long as it’s OK with you.

  2. says

    Thank you both. One thing you learn quickly in treatment is that there’s always something. Even so, I wouldn’t have guessed heartburn from hell. Oh well.

  3. says

    Thanks, Marcus! Mostly, I just want some energy back. Any at all. I’m tired of being tired.

    Thanks, Joseph. Here’s hoping the worst is over.

  4. jazzlet says

    Acid reflux is horrid. If you can try and sleep as near upright as possible. If you can’t do that (and it does take some practise) lying on your left side is best. This is because of the way the stomach lies on the left side of your body meaning the bottom of the oesophagus will be in the pocket of gas you have in your stomach rather than in the acid juices, so you are a bit less likely to reflux those acid juices. Well that is unless you are one of those relatively rare people with your internal organ placement reversed from normal, but you’d probably know if you are. Anyway have a quick look at an anatomical view of the stomach in the abdomen to see what I’m whittering on about.

    I hope the acid reflux eases, I’m very glad the pain is less, but sorry the shakes, tiredness and chemo brain are worse.

  5. jazzlet says

    Oh and if the refux doesn’t ease get yourself some Gaviscon Extra, its far better than pepto bismol, it actually makes a layer on the top of your stomach juices like oil on water which will let gas out, but not acid.

  6. says

    Jazzlet, thanks, I know about the left side business, I can’t sleep on my right at all. I didn’t think about Gaviscon, thanks! I’ll be sure to get some.

    Thanks, Charly!

  7. Nightjar says

    Glad your white blood cell count is up, hope it stays that way and no more Neulasta is required, that’s good news. Sorry about the heartburn… I hope this cycle’s side-effects don’t last for long. Do get all the sleep you need and don’t worry about the emails, take your time, we can wait :)

  8. avalus says

    How horrible. Rest, sleep, nap, get better.
    Yes, do not worry about the mails, they will not disappear. We sure are a patient bunch.

    Also yes, thanks to Voyager and Charly for your great posts!

  9. voyager says

    I’m so glad your level of pain has improved.and the neutrophil count is good news. Sorry to hear about the heartburn, though. I hope you find the right combination of antacids to deal with it. My only suggestion is dry soda crackers. Sometimes nibbling on one can help get the acid out of your throat. Unsalted is best. Everything else I want to say just sounds motherly so try to get lots of rest.

  10. says


    We sure are a patient bunch.

    Yes, you certainly are! It’s appreciated, too. :)

    Voyager, thank you, and it’s fine to sound motherly. It’s getting better, I think it will be gone in a day or two.

    Jazzlet, :D

  11. Ice Swimmer says

    Take all the rest you need and pace yourself as you see fit to recover from all the horrible, bad and annoying stuff including the heartburn and the chatty infusion center neighbours.

    While I don’t want to discount the digestive tract problems in any way, heartburn sounds even worse (as in more acutely fatal) than it is, like something to do with a heart attack. Language, it just goes the way it does.

    It’s good to hear that your pains have receded.

    My warm thoughts for you and thanks for Charly and voyager for their posts!

  12. rq says

    Rest, as much as you need, I’m just glad to hear you’re (mostly) okay. We’ll get along just fine in the meantime, you’ve selected some wonderful volunteers to contribute and maintain the blog. I hope you feel better soon, and manage to get good amount of rest and peace. Song!

  13. chigau (違う) says

    I read this and nodded-off and dreamt and awoke and refreshed and I conclude:
    that chair
    over there, is malevolent
    be careful

  14. Onamission5 says

    It would never have occurred to me that chemo could result in gawdawful reflux. Don’t know why, since I knew it can mess with a bunch of other digestive processes.

    So glad for you that phase is done with.

  15. says

    Ice Swimmer:

    While I don’t want to discount the digestive tract problems in any way, heartburn sounds even worse (as in more acutely fatal) than it is, like something to do with a heart attack.

    It’s called heartburn because it can cause very bad chest pains, and people often mistake it for a heart attack.

  16. jazzlet says

    Ice Swimmer

    As Caine says it can be mistaken for a heart attack, unfortunatetly the reverse is also true if you have a history of heart burn. My gran’s GP assumed she was just having more heart burn when she was actually having a mild heart attack, so he sent her away with more digestive remedies and she died of a much bigger herat attack a couple of days later.

    Caine have you had your naps today? ;)

  17. Ice Swimmer says

    jazzlet @ 26

    That must have been horrible. I’m sorry that your grandma and her kin, including you had to go through something like that.

    Thank you, Caine and jazzlet for educating me! I should have known better.

  18. jazzlet says

    Ice Swimmer
    Thank you, it was a long time ago, 1971 in fact and she was 83 at the time, so while she might well have had a few years left if given approriate treatment I’m not sure how long the treatment available then would actually have given her. And she did have a pretty good life. I supppose I mention it because women especially don’t always realise when they are having a mild heart attack as the symptoms may not be the same as those men have that we all know the signs for.

    And why shoud you have known? Your English is excellent, but they’ll be plenty of little corners of the language you’ve had no reason to come across, as well as parts you don’t know all of the nuances as in this case. Heck Caine wouldn’t do Word Wednesday if she didn’t come across words many of us don’t know :)

  19. victoriajoy16ck says

    Hi Caine

    Do you get premeds before your chemo? I get 50 mg Benedryl and IV femotidine (fancy Pepcid). Than after a half an hour of normal saline they start my chemo. That said -- your protocol is much tougher than mine -- so you would probably need more.

    We have the same chairs and they are arranged in groups of 4. Then there are private rooms with beds. I have been the group chairs one time -- and I totally get the noise factor. Everyone is talking, the pumps are beeping, someone is vomiting, a visitor is cluelessly walking around, a very well intentioned volunteer is checking on your “feelings”. And, really, I just want to sleep!!!

  20. says

    Hi Victoriajoy. Oh yes, I get premeds. My infusion suite has something like 14 to 16 chairs. If it’s full, you can be placed in a room with a bed. Most of the time, people are pretty quiet, lots of napping going on, but yeah, the damn beeping can make you a bit nuts, and I add to it, thanks to a twitchy port -- any time I bend forward at all, it flips out. The drinks and blanket stuff is usually done right away, and no one bugs you after, I would not want anyone asking me about my feelings, they might get an earful. ;)

    I’m with you -- napping is best.

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