Monday, March 21, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

I think today I have a case of the Mondays. While there have been some aspects of cycle two recovery that have gone smoother than cycle one recovery, overall, I don't feel like I am bouncing back as well as I did after cycle one. Here is an overview.
  • Fog: Let me get this one out of the way first. The feeling of being locked in a fog was much less severe this recovery period vs. the first one and I am very thankful for that. I will attribute that to sticking to my goal of using very little to no meds (other than what is required) during treatment and recovery for cycle two. No four day gaps between days this time around.
  • Fatigue: I am TIRED, constantly. Cycle two seemed to go after any reserves of energy I thought I may have tucked away. Waking up and getting going has been a bit more of a chore this time around. My days start a bit like this; Wake up, spend 10-15 minutes in bed trying to motivate myself to get up and get moving. Stop one, the bathroom to take care of business, and to sit for a minute to rest. Stop two, the couch. That's right, after my bathroom break (and break) are complete I stop by the couch to rest and regroup before I start to head to the kitchen to put breakfast together. Stop three, the dining room table. The reason I mentioned that I start to head to the kitchen is because somedays I take an extra break on the way to make sure I am fully ready to finish my trip to the kitchen. Now, before you paint a mental picture of my house being larger than it is, it is probably less than 60' worth of walking required to cover this entire path. Thanks fatigue.
  • Lockdown: My recovery, and many of the things I am allowed to do during recovery, are tied to my blood counts. Fridays lab work earned me a period of lockdown. One of the main blood counts they are concerned with is my neutrophil count. Neutorphils are a type of white blood cell that helps cells to kill and digest microorganisms, important for fighting infection. A normal neutrophil count is 1500-8000. As of Friday my count was a shade over 400, leaving me susceptable to neutropenia, which lowers the immunolgic barrier to bacterial and fungal infection. What does this all mean you may ask? It means that, as of Friday, I was told I need to stay home, avoid public places and children, consume no fresh fruits or vegetables and limit any company that I thought about having until further notice. Hooray for sitting around the house every day. I don't like cabin fever, I love it.
  • Sores: Speaking of infection and the attempts to fight it, another of the fabulous side effects of chemotherapy is the development of "sores". Now, as I have mentioned, my body is in no condition currently to fight infection and heal itself. I think that is description enough for this topic.
  • Pain and athletic limitations: Early into a light yoga workout Thursday I knelt and one loud pop from the left knee later, my only form of exercise currently, other than walking, was taken away from me. I now have an extra pain to deal with during this experience which, hopefully, will clear itself up sooner rather than later, because compensating for it seems to have lead to a major cramp in my right leg that doesn't want to loosen up yet coupled with a new and exciting ache in the lower back.
So there you have it, I think somebody has a case of the Mondays. However, there is a bright spot today that makes most of this ok and not worth worrying about. Today was my midway CT scan, to check if progress is being made after two cycles of chemotherapy. And the phone call I got this afternoon confirmed that progress is indeed being made, my tumors are responding to chemotherapy and are reducing in size. Go team Dougan!

Maybe that case of the Mondays isn't so bad.


  1. Brian that was the news I was waiting for. I was getting a bit worried cause you have not posted. Keep your head up. Things are turning for the good. If you need to talk call me! Message me if you need my number again.
    Take Care brother,

  2. I think it's just one of those days for a case of the Mondays. Hang in there, it's gonna get better.

    Keep me in the loop re: lockdown... as next weekend would have looked a little something like this for me.

    Friday: drop off Holly, drive to Falls Church to see Mike Gordon, drive back to bmore for appt I can't miss on Saturday
    Saturday: appointment, head south again, this time to Chesapeake. Give Brian lots of noogies and probably fall down at least once, given my general level of clutziness.
    Sunday: drive back to bmore

    Sooooo. No fresh fruits/veggies sucks ass. No out in public sucks ass. Are you allowed to receive packages or other things from the outside world? Do you need some hospital strength sanitizer to use after handling any foreign objects?

    Give me a call when you're up to it!

  3. I am so glad things are going in the right direction.
    I will try to call you tomorrow.

  4. Boo-ya Team Dougan!! My whole crappy month just turned around with that good news. You are my perspective, my inspiration and hell, now I'm crying... Ben gives a grin and a thumbs up. Alex fist pumped and Chris would respond if he wasn't in AP Global History hell right at this moment...

  5. I know this might sound naive, but can someone explain why NO fresh fruits and veggies?

  6. Because of how much they get handled either on the way to the store or at a market itself. As everyone touches all the fruits and vegetables to find the "perfect" one they leave bacteria and germs all over them, and then, with blood levels being low and no immune defenses I (or others in my situation) are unable to defend against the kind of common germs and bacterias normal people beat on a daily basis and could potentially get very ill and would be at risk for a very nasty blood infection.