I completed three consecutive days of chemo, and was released with a follow-up appointment for the next Wednesday. Chemo itself wasn't awful, I guess. It was a lot of sitting around and watching movies/television while they pumped me full of drugs.
I receive three drugs that are the "chemo" drugs themselves: Rituxan, a monoclonal antibody that targets cancer cells; Fludarabine and cyclophosphamide, both cytotoxins that tend to kill cells indiscriminately. In addition, they give me some steroids just to pep me up (I guess) and iron. The Rituxan and the iron take quite a while to drip, but the other drugs only take about 45 minutes to an hour each. The first day was long--seven hours, the second, only about five, and the third, a short three hours.
I didn't feel sick to my stomach, but something that they gave me upset my GI tract. My stomach just didn't feel good and I ended up with some other "issues" (to put it politely). It's quite the diet; this morning--10 days after beginning chemo--I am 30 pounds lighter! And I am eating--although my dear Dr. Pepper doesn't taste good to me anymore.
When I went to the doctor on Wednesday, he ran a quick blood count. My white blood count plunged from 140,000 to 2,000! Even he was shocked at how quickly my numbers had dropped and he didn't like the rapid weight loss. Good news is that my hemoglobin (the part of the blood that carries oxygen to the body) is up! For the first time this year, I can breathe enough to walk to my car from the doctor's office!
So, until my next chemo appointment in April, I continue to make weekly trips to the doctor so that they can monitor me. This next week I'll get more iron to boost my hemoglobin further.
I am now forced to wear a mask in public so that germs stay at bay. So, if you see someone rocking a "Cancer Sucks" mask, you'll know it's me.