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Life after Chemo - (Journal Date: 7/12/05)

7/12/2005

I can't believe how much more tired I've been after Chemo Treatment No. 6!! I was able to bounce back within 3-4 days after the first couple of treatments. The middle rounds took a little longer, but the final treatment has zapped most of my energy. I have actually laid down to rest at 3:00 pm for seven (7) hours only to get up to go to bed and sleep for another nine (9) hours.

Unfortunately, I hadn't anticipated being so tired when we scheduled a visit from my Mother, her husband, and my niece from northern Wisconsin. Each day I got a little stronger and we were able to watch several DVD's at home; went to the movies to see "Bewitched"; went bowling and somehow I rolled a 209, 144, and 212 (must have been the chemo); went swimming at the local neighborhood pool; shopped at the mall (ok the ladies did the shopping and the men checked out the lazy-boys in the lobby; and finally a boat ride on the local lake that included a floating picnic and my first time waterskiing in over a year. Man, could I tell that the muscles and stamina are gone!!! Got to get back to the weight machines as soon as the doc gives me the green light.

We shared some good memories together and grilled out way too much food. It was great for my daughters to spend time with their cousin that they don't see very often. They are all getting to be big girls and they got along so well. I know my Mother is worried about me and she wishes that we weren't separated by 1,200 miles. I hope that she was reassured by visiting the HPRHS Cancer Center, meeting my wonderful/crazy nurses, and by seeing how well we are taking on this challenge with a positive and faithful attitude. I am so proud of her for volunteering to captain a Relay for Life Team in her home area on July 29 to help find a cure for cancer!

My post-chemo symptoms are similar to those I have written about previously:

* Fatigue: 2-3 weeks to recover energy after my final treatment.

* Heartburn: more common and more severe with subsequent chemo treatments.

* Metallic Taste: starts to go away just in time for the next chemo treatment. More foods and liquids are tasting metallic (including water) with additional treatments.

* Heat/Humidity: with 90 degree heat and 90% humidity, it has been harder to breathe outdoors and I really prefer to be inside.

* Sunlight: I am very sensitive to the brightness as well as to UV rays and will burn easily if not protected.

* Weight Gain: I finished the last of the Prednisone...finally! Have gained 20 lbs. since the beginning of treatments. Looking forward to the doc giving the green light to a sensible diet to take the weight back off.

* Anxiety: Some extra anxiety as we approach the follow-up CT Scan and PET Scan to determine how effective the chemotherapy has been in treating my cancer.

* Hair loss: still holding on to some fine hairs on top and a little thicker on the sides. Hair color is no longer salt & pepper, but more white/gray. I hope the new crop of hair comes in dark and thick. I recall how painful the hair was coming out. I guess the hair follicles were sensitive....it's bad enough losing your hair, it shouldn't have to hurt coming out!!

Normally, I would play a good amount of golf in the Spring and Summer and teach golf 2-3 nights per week. With the heat and the loss of energy, it hasn't been a priority for me. Perhaps I can get interested again this Fall after I get my health back.

Yesterday, I had my follow-up CT Scan and we have an appointment with the doc tomorrow. Praying for some really good news!!!

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