Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

March 16, 2007 – “One Round Down….Who Knows How Many to Go”

I have completed one round of chemo and I feel really good. This time I have chemo as an out-patient at the MSKCC clinic and it is so much nicer and easier than last time when I had to spend 3 consecutive days in the hospital. The nurses are wonderful (here is a picture of me with Heather who takes care of me every week).

My chemo regimen is fairly quick and easy. I spend the first Friday getting one drug (Gemcitabine) for an hour and a half. With the free lunch I get and the Law and OrderMarathon on TNT, those 90 minutes goes by very fast! The next Friday, I receive two drugs (another dose of the Gemcitabine and Taxotere), which takes 2.5 hours. This also goes by very quickly. Then, the following Friday, I get a day off before we begin the 3 week cycle again.

Like last time, I have been acutely aware of my body and all of the symptoms and side effects that I may experience. Luckily, I have had very few, if any, real issues. The first week I hardly even notice I am on chemotherapy. I feel great, go to the gym, have a normal appetite etc. The second week becomes a bit harder because I have to take steroids with the bigger chemo dose to guard against nausea. The steroids tend to make me very hungry and give me horrible insomnia. So, I spend the first few days after the second week of chemo walking around like a zombie because I don’t sleep at night. I told my Dr. that because I have not been experiencing serious nausea, I’d like to stop taking the steroids and he is open to it. So hopefully I will start to sleep better. I still go to the gym and exercise but I tend to be a bit more “drained” this week.

My taste buds tend to change a lot during this week as well. Nothing tastes like it usually does. I have been very amused by what I like to eat and what I shun because of the taste. High on the list of “yum” are mango, pineapple, rice, steak, ice-cream and diet coke. On the list of “watch out, I’m going to barf”, are chicken, vegetables, soup and yogurt.

I was telling Dave the other day that I probably am experiencing similar symptoms to that of someone who is pregnant. I have mild night sweats and mild nausea. It’s amazing how those same symptoms are considered either “wonderful” or “terrible” based on your situation. For instance, when you’re pregnant, although it is not fun to sweat and be nauseous, you are excited and ‘welcome’ the symptoms to an extent because it means you are having a child. When you have a disease like cancer those same symptoms are viewed as “scary” or “horrible” or induce great sympathy and sadness in people. It’s ironic to me that the same exact symptoms could produce such different feelings or emotions in people. So, I’ve decided to pretend I am pregnant and that I really enjoy the symptoms! Well, not exactly but I’ve decided to not be “scared” by them and accept that this means that the drugs are doing their job and that the cancer’s days are numbered.