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Chemo Week 1:
February 27-March 5, 2003

[No two chemotherapies are the same, nor are the reactions of individuals. This is my personal record. For definitions, use the Glossary.]

I received my first chemo treatment (Taxotere, generic name Docetaxel) on Thursday, February 27, and will be getting them each Thursday for six weeks.

I also need to quickly interject that I will need several weeks to get the rhythm of the side effects, such as those I discuss below.

Chemo is better and worse than I expected. I had expected to be vomiting constantly and finding my hair in the bottom of the shower but neither has happened. Before each treatment I get anti-nausea medications (I will list them next time) and, I have since learned, that hair loss usually takes 2-3 weeks after treatment begins.

It is other side effects that are taking a toll, namely, a bone and muscle pain (pelvic and legs) that are the worst. They started a couple of days after treatment and lasted for a couple of days. Even the pain medication (oxycodone) had trouble beating it back and at one point, it was so severe, I was brought to tears.

Then there are the steroids (dexamethasone, a corticosteroid) that I take 12 hours before chemo, one hour after and again 12 hours after, to also help with side effects. The only catch is that they throw me into a "high" (making sleep difficult) and then a horrible low, about three days after treatment. But I will have to go through several weeks of this to really see any pattern.

Following my first treatment, Days 1 and 2 were fine. I felt great. Then I crashed out the bottom and was hit by severe bone and muscle pains for a couple of days. I also found around Day 3 that I was severely dehydrated and I was gulping V8 juice (I have no idea why the urge for V8 juice) and barely pissing, for the amount of liquid that I was consuming. That and sleep helped.

I think it was about Day 6 that I realized how immature my attitude had been about chemotherapy, which is the subject of my journal entry of this date.

Robert Young

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My Chemotherapy Journal Menu
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