Sunday, January 10, 2010

Round 4

I finished round 4 of chemo on December 30th. I must say there is very little news to report, and that is a good thing.

So far I am so very lucky: practically nothing to complain about, whatsoever. The sequence of events has been just about identical with every monthly round--
1. Spend just about all day of day one getting the stuff trickled into my veins (but took only six hours this time, not eight; I guess my body has quit rejecting the stuff.)
2. Two uneventful hours each day on day two and day three
3. Feel a steroids-induced sort of "caffeine buzz" for about five or six days during and after the chemo infusions
4. Crash with extreme fatigue for about three more days
5. Gradual day-by-day return to normal

Is that "it?" Pretty much. A few "cold sores," which are actually an eruption of herpes viruses probably all of us carry inside us, waiting for a suppression of immune system as an opportunity to erupt. After monthly cycle 3 I had some burning and numbness in my big toe for about 48 hours. After cycle 4 I have had some "lightning storms" in my calf muscles making for some non-stop (but small) twitching, but hard rides on my indoor bike, hot showers, and slathered-on BenGay seem to be making them gradually go away.

Although my oncologist dropped a hint that he might want to go beyond six cycles (why push my luck?), I doubt it will happen. So, just two more cycles to go, one at the end of January and one more at the end of February.

To wax philosophical for a moment, this experience has been thought-provoking, to say the least. The financial cost of it all (to someone; my health insurance has been remarkably good so far), plus watching Nancy's 95-year-old father get repeatedly sent to the hospital for questionable expectations, make me think hard and often about what I should do with this second gift of life. Just muddling along seems insufficient.