Pill Chemo, Round Three

Sorry for the silence here at cancer central, folks. Round three was a doozy and I’m still recovering.

Here’s the short version of the story: I lost 10 pounds in a little under two weeks.

The long version of the story goes like this…

The first week of Round Three wasn’t so bad. I was able to enjoy my sisters’ visit. Lisa, Sonya, and Mia (Sonya’s one-year-old) got out of the house for a few activities surrounding July 4 but they mostly took care of me. I introduced them to Duck Dynasty and What Not To Wear, two TV gems I’ve discovered during many hours on the couch. Mia let us take turns holding her sweet little hands to practice walking. She doesn’t see much utility in crawling.

The second week of Round Three was really bad. My hands and feet hurt due to the funky chemo side effect where the palm side of the hands and the bottom of the feet look like and feel like they’ve been terribly sunburned. I got sores at the tips of some of my fingers where the nails end and the sores got infected. But I learned how to work around all that. The really bad part was five or six major diarrhea episodes a day (remember the spirit of full disclosure). Taking Immodium didn’t help. I got to the point where I couldn’t stand to eat or drink anything. I felt as weak as I had felt fresh out of surgery. I took to my bed and called on some fabulous ladies from my church congregation to help me survive.

I also went to my doctor on July 12. I stayed there from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM while blood tests were run and the nurses pumped me up with various fluids. (God bless the nurse who stayed late so I could finish the Potassium at the clinic and not have to go to Urgent Care.) Dr. P. ordered me off the chemo (a day early), prescribed an antibiotic, and gave me a little over two weeks to heal up. I felt great that evening. Unfortunately, the diarrhea wasn’t quite done with me. It still isn’t. Happily, I do see significant progress towards solidification and a decrease in episodes.

I’m scheduled to see Dr. P. again on July 30 and I’m curious to see what she will say. Will she recommend moving forward with the pill chemo? She originally called for eight rounds. In that case, she’ll have to reassure me my hands and feet will be OK in the end. I’ve read that particular side effect can be permanent if blisters show up. Will she recommend trying out another chemo option? In that case, I think the chances are I will again suffer from side effects that will make me feel super sick. Might she recommend stopping chemo? I’ve got six rounds under my belt if the folfox regimen and the pill chemo rounds are added together. I obviously don’t respond well to chemo (in terms of how it makes me feel). I feel pretty beat up at this point and would be OK with stopping chemo if Dr. P. is OK with it. I want to go back to work.

Sorry to leave you with another cliffhanger, dear readers, but it seems my future is once again up in the air.


My Short Term Disability benefit ends July 31. I’ve started the ball rolling to use Long Term Disability beginning Aug 1. I’m being careful, but I’m doing fine, financially. That’s a huge blessing!


5 thoughts on “Pill Chemo, Round Three

  1. Dearest Monica, Even though this has been horrific, your writing skills are so well honed that reading through it all is riveting. I can hardly wait to know what happens next. You have a good mind and I’m sure you will make a good decision concerning the chemo and work. Prayers and Love.

  2. Monica,
    ((((hug))) Sounds awful….I hope the Dr is able to help you figure out what to do next. Will ask more prayers on your behalf. We may be going your direction in the next few weeks. Are you up to a visitor or wait until another time?

    You are an inspiration!!

    Thinking of you,

    ps I agree with your mom. You are a talented writer!

  3. Some questions answered on July 30th, right? I’m eager to hear what Dr. P says! You’ve done so well with the challenges you’ve had so far. I’m thinking about how we’ll celebrate the end of your chemo experience . . . you’re getting closer to being done.

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