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[cancer] Side effects update, the (largely) good kind - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-03-18 05:46
Subject: [cancer] Side effects update, the (largely) good kind
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal, stories, writing
Well, yesterday was shedding day, with all that implies, plus a bit more. Ran a little differently this time, though. I never fail to be surprised by my body.

On the one hand, everything's been a bit easier this cycle due to the "skip" week I took for Rain Forest Writers' Village. I have been far less miserable than in some previous cycles. On the other hand, I continue to exhibit new and occasionally odd side effects, like the Great Earwax Flood of 2010 which occurred earlier this week. In the specific case of the shedding, my general stool volume has been consistent with the lower range of prior shedding experiences, but much more firm. This produces issues with hemorrhoids that I don't generally experience with the more liquid shedding that's been typical. So I'm trading dehydration and extensive seat time for a more fundamental, burning, discomfort.

On the flip side, it really has been easier. I never slipped into serious sleep issues, granted that the process is always somewhat irregular for me these days. My right brain woke up on Tuesday and I've been very productive on "The Stars Do Not Lie". My general well being has been more than adequate, which is both welcome and slightly unusual.

I ascribe a lot of this improvement to the "skip" week, which certainly had beneficial medical effects such as spiking my white blood cell count upward. However, I also want to claim some credit for simply being a little smarter and more experienced at this. I tweaked my medications through this last cycle in ways that I expected to improve both my GI issue and my cognitive issues, and I believe I've succeeded on both counts. I've also tried to stay way ahead of the potential for sleep problems. And I'm listening carefully to my body's cravings, which I'm trying to take literally. When my gut says "Protein, damn it!", I don't make toast.

Mostly, I'm paying attention and trying to keep things on beam. With luck, this learning will carry me through the continuing slow decline of the next seven chemo infusion sessions.

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Elizabeth Coleman
User: criada
Date: 2010-03-18 14:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So is a skip week a regular thing in chemo treatment? What are the downsides? I know killing the tumor is of course something we want done ASAP, but it's not like dealing with bacterial resistance, right?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-03-18 15:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So is a skip week a regular thing in chemo treatment?

Not automatically so. We arranged it so I could attend Rain Forest. Sometimes they happen for medical reasons, as in when the white blood cell count is depressed too far.

Downsides are (I believe) a slight loss of overall effectiveness due to recovery time for the cancer cells as well as the body as a whole, and (I know) an extension of the end date for the course of treatment. But yes, this is not analogous to antibiotics.
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shelly_rae
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-03-18 15:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's all a long learing experience sweets. You don't have to expect a slow decline. Keep listening to your body (and your buddy)--You've come a long ways already. Did you think it would be as easy as it is?
Anon
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-03-18 15:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Actually, dear, I did expect it to be more brutal than it has been.
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shelly_rae: Triathlete
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-03-18 16:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Triathlete
Well that's something then. Less than brutal, worse than the dentist, sort of like an Endurance event--extreme long distance--no wonder you're tired eh? Hmm, perhaps that's part of why I'm an endurance athlete--after chemo, cancer, even TBI, a triathlon, marathon, cross country bike ride doesn't seem that hard, right? Right.
Your best cheerleader. Go Jay!
love,
Anon
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Elizabeth Coleman
User: criada
Date: 2010-03-18 19:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Don't know if you've seen this: The Cliches of Cancer
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-03-18 20:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wow. Thank you!
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