Breast cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Hair loss, Taxotere, Women's Health

Time Goes By… So Slowly

Time goes slowly when you’re not having fun, I can confirm.

And at certain points during chemotherapy, it is as if time has stopped entirely, and life is going on around you while yours is completely stopped, and all you can do is lie in bed and stare into space. I’ve had days like this in every round of chemo, and it kicked in again last weekend. It’s just like when you spend a Saturday night in by yourself looking at everyone else having fun on your Facebook feed (which I do all the time), only times the feeling by a few thousand! Quite depressing.

It took about four days before the effects of the final Taxotere really kicked in, and over the weekend I started to feel all the usual tiredness, lethargy, aching, prickling pains, sore mouth, coated tongue, horrible taste in my mouth and a general feeling of being just not right – you can’t really put your finger on it, but it really makes you quite miserable. I have been having the worst hot flushes all week, but am reasonably convinced that they’re due to the steroids and chemo drugs and not the actual menopause. It’s a bit tricky to get cool during a hot flush when you have two heavy cats sitting on top of a duvet on your lap though!

I have also been able to feel my veins pulsing and twitching for the past week – fortunately it seems to have stopped today, but it’s rather weird, as if I can feel the drugs going up and down my veins. The nurses have showed me how to massage my damaged veins and I’m trying to do some stretching exercises as I realise my muscles and joints are totally tight at the minute and not used to so much inactivity. You don’t realise how much your body will change during chemo treatment, but I feel like it has aged my body by about 30 years. Assuming radiotherapy doesn’t hit me too badly, I hope I can start jogging gently in January and get back to a good level of fitness within a few months.

I have had an elevated temperature for the past 32 hours or so – not quite high enough to go to hospital, but much higher than normal, which is worrying. I am checking my temperature every hour and dreading the moment I see 37.7 and know I have to go back to the hospital to be put back on the drip… After six rounds of chemo, my immune system is at its lowest ever, and the feeling of wanting to get past this stage and out of the danger zone couldn’t be stronger.

I haven’t taken pictures of anything other than cats for the past week at home, but my Mum pointed out that there was a patch of hair growing on the back of my head, so I asked her to take a picture. The photo on the left is from the day of my last chemo and the very ugly back-of-my-head photo on the right is from yesterday. I was quite surprised how much hair there was, and it seems a lot of it is recent growth, which makes me think my hair has already started growing back. It will probably still fall out a bit in the next couple of weeks though and start growing again, and apparently I’m likely to get ‘baby hair’ before I get real hair (I think the stuff I have at the moment is baby hair – it’s extremely soft!)

The nurse said it should start growing back one month after the last chemo, so that’s Christmas Day – something to look forward to!


14 thoughts on “Time Goes By… So Slowly

  1. Adriana Tomalino says:

    Tranquila Lauri, los sofocos van a pasar. Estás sintiendo una pseudomenopausia provocada por la medicación pero luego te vas a sentir bien otra vez. Estuviste viendo películas? Y leyendo? Recuerdo que yo leí muchísimos libros cuando estaba en esa etapa. Cuando recuperé mi pelo (yo siempre lo usaba largo hasta la cintura) y tenía el pelo cortito muchos me decían que tenía un look más sofisticado. Así que aprovechaba y “me hacía la estrella de cine”. Ja, ja.
    Te mando muchos besos, tranqui que la parte más difícil ya pasó!

    • Si, estoy leyendo mucho! Y viendo peliculas pero en los peores dias, ni siquiera consigo ver peliculas, solo quiero dormir. Actualmente estoy leyendo la trilogia de The Hunger Games (Los Juegos de Hambre, creo) que son para adolescentes pero por lo menos es un poco de aventura y super facil leer!
      No estas en Facebook, verdad? Es dificil imaginar tu pelo cortito o largo porque no he visto ninguna foto! Es como si te conozco pero nunca nos hemos visto! hehe Besito, Laura

  2. Lisa Dawson says:

    I think the taste in your mouth is the worst!! Nothing helps except for constant gargling with Difflam (lovely…). Hope that you get your temperature down. Have got my last treatment on 19 Dec and can’t wait to get back to a semblence of normality. It’s not that I’m that bothered about the lack of hair (although obviously am yearning for my long hair back…), I can live with it, but it’s the having to wear wigs and scarves that is starting to become really annoying! Roll on hair. Hope you are feeling better soon xx

    • Thanks Lisa, yeah and I find the taste in your mouth lasts a couple of weeks, don’t you? With Taxotere it’s worse than FEC, and everything just tastes meh. I actually use Corsodyl Daily mouthwash and I really like it so maybe try that! And I just crave cold icy drinks all the time. Tea tastes like dishwater, once again!
      Roll on the end of the year for you then! You are so nearly there! You’ll still feel pretty rubbish on Christmas Day, I guess, but the worst of it will be over and it’s such a great feeling knowing you don’t have to face those cannulas again! (Although I’m not actually out of the woods either as this temperature is worrying me). Fingers crossed and I’ll be thinking of you on Dec 19! (I’m going back for my follow-up consultation that day). xx

  3. Adriana Tomalino says:

    Sí, estoy en facebook con mi nombre (y con el pelo cortito), con mi nene, que en ese entonces tenía 2 años. La foto es de una de las primeras salidas los dos solos, después del tratamiento……paseando por el Zoo de Buenos Aires. Te puedo mandar alguna foto reciente (viste la de LinkedIn?), pasame tu correo….besitos.

  4. Lisa Dawson says:

    The feeling that you don’t have to do another round again must be amazing! Can’t wait. Hope your temperature has gone down. Is snowing here so I suggest a good course of action is onesie, dark chocolate brazil nuts and Come Dine With Me. Hope the 19th goes well for you too! x

    • It snowed here overnight too! You sent this at 9:29am and it was a bit too early for chocolate Brazil nuts but I was cracking on nicely with the marmite on toast and tea at that point! I’ve just had my daily filgrastim injection (only two more to go!) and am stuffing my face with pistachios now. Come Dine With Me sounds like a plan! Take care and wrap up warm in this weather! xx

  5. Liz Walker says:

    I know what you mean about feeling like life is on hold and everyone else is having a great time, felt like that last weekend in the day time, brought my cover down and layed on the sofa all day on Saturday and Sunday watching the rugby, had no energy at all so just wanted to stay there in the warmth and do nothing, you just listern to you body and if it wants to rest then rest i will, it’s good to see startings of hair growth, I bet it feels really soft to touch xx

  6. Bryan Foat says:

    I can totally relate to the feeling of being able to trace the chemicals as they course through the body. I think it is more an illusion than anything else since the drugs are suspended in liquid, are uniformly dispersed and go into the blood stream, another liquid. I can’t see that they some how “ball up” or otherwise congeal in some way that would make them anything other than uniformly dispersed through the blood stream. However, I had exactly the same sensation you described … so who knows. I mostly attributed it to toxic flashbacks to other drugs possibly being released from fatty deposits or something like that 😉 I’ve been told that sort of thing can happen sometimes as one accesses fat reserves. Anyways. It sounds like you are rounding the corner and should be feeling better and recouping soon. Have you studied as much about the radiotherapy as you seem to have on the chemo? I didn’t have any “rayos”

    • You might not remember it so clearly now but the pulsing of my veins is definitely a physical thing, it’s not an illusion. It’s only in the arm where the drugs actually went in, and I put it down to my veins being tired and overused and wonder if there’s a little bit of blockage so it takes an extra bit of effort for the flow to get through or something. Fortunately it’s now stopped, so hopefully that’s the end of it! But I’m pleased to know I’m not the only one who experienced it!
      I really didn’t research chemo much at all – all the info I have gleaned has just been what the docs have told me, or my experience or what people like yourself have told me. I’ve read minimal info about radiotherapy too so we’ll see what happens. Most people have said I’ll just have extreme tiredness as it goes on, but there can also be localised skin irritation (sore boob!) and people have said it has burnt the roof of their mouth, so I hope that doesn’t happen as my mouth is already really sore and I need to be able to do my number 1 activity (eating) without interruption! I’m intrigued for the first radio session anyway – they have to permanently mark me so that they get the same spot every time. I’m hoping it won’t be a bright green blob on my boob!
      Hope all’s well with you, say hi to my friends in the BA office! 🙂

  7. Adriana Tomalino says:

    Lauri, a mi me pasa que mis venas tienen el recuerdo y cada vez que me sacan sangre para algún control (médico ó laboral), tengo que explicar que deben usar un “butterfly” y sacar de mi mano. Y ahí empieza la historia: “ahí está la vena, la veo y es buena”, “sí, está….pero se irá enseguida que lo intentes”…”podemos probar”…”NO, no podemos probar…porque es mi brazo”…en fin, de no sé cuántos extraccionistas solo 2 atendieron a lo que yo les decía, los demás, dejaron mi brazo morado y dolorido, para luego terminar sacando de la mano como ya les había dicho….y yéndome a casa “con mi peor cara”.
    Besos, Adri,

    • Lo mismo me pasa todos los veces, es terrible, y cada vez peor!! Has visto la pelicula Biutiful? Ayer lo vi, y no tenia la menor idea de que se trataba de un hombre que esta muriendo de cancer (si supiera, no lo habria visto ayer!) En los primeros 10 minutos de la peli, hay una escena en que Javier Bardem pasa por lo mismo, una enfermera intentando sacarle sangre sin poder, hasta que finalmente el mismo lo hace! Tuve que cerrar los ojos durante esa parte, fue doloroso!!
      Si no has visto la pelicula, hay que verla! Beso

  8. Adriana Tomalino says:

    No creo que me atreva….yo prefiero “que sean felices y coman perdices”.
    Igual, actualmente mis pelis rondan por Mickey Mouse y sus pares, ja, ja!

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