I’m happy to report that the worst of the bone pains has passed. Once the nurse called me back, she looked into it, and advised that I could take an NSAID (like ibuprofen) for the pain. I have stronger NSAID for my arthritis, so I took one of them and within 30 minutes the pain had almost completely subsided.
Yesterday was also my most tired day. I took a nap at 11am and woke up at 2pm. I clearly needed to spend the day mostly sleeping (although I did do yoga and go for a walk – albeit a short walk). Both the yoga and walk made me feel better – so as much as it is difficult to motivate at times, I know that getting out and exercising does make me feel better.
Today I get to go swimming again. The nurse explained that the bone pain is caused by the overproduction of white blood cells being pushed out from the bone marrow into the blood. Since there are a lot all of a sudden, this causes pain – but it also is a sign of the rebound. So with the pain stopping (I’m sitting writing this with no medication in me – so it isn’t the medication dulling the pain, rather then pain being finished), my blood counts should be back up which means swimming is back on the agenda (yay).
So, if chemo is day 1 (we are recalibrating to a 1 offset rather than 0 as that is what most of the health folks do) then day 11 is my rebound day. I think I will create a graph which will allow me to better forecast symptoms and see if cycle 2 is similar. If I understand this correctly (crossing fingers), I’m not in recovery mode until the next treatment, which has been pushed to Wednesday because my oncologist is on vacation. Currently, the schedule has round three moving back to Monday, but I cannot imagine going back in to chemo at day 12, so we will definitely need to put that out. I may be strong, but I don’t need to unnecessarily push myself for the convenience of someone else’s schedule.
I mention in the title that today may be an emotional one. Today I get my head shaved. If you haven’t done chemo you may not understand this idea of proactively shaving your head. There are a couple of reasons for it. The practical reason is that hair falling out in clumps is a pain. The second, more important one, is an exercise in control. If I’m going to lose my hair then I am going to control when it happens. Control is a huge issue with cancer, as it is one of the things you lose. You lose a lot of control over how your body is growing, how it reacts, and the various schedules of appointments and such. So, when you have an opportunity to take control and do something on your own terms, it can be important for some people to take control. I admit it, I’m a control freak. I like to plan things and I am already struggling with my inability to plan the exact dates of our Hawaii trip because I have no clue how I will be feeling.
And so, I am taking control of my hair, and having it shaved today. Scott will get his head shaved too. We’ll take a fun selfie when it is done! I’m looking forward to seeing what it feels like to have my head rubbed, the same way I like to rub Scott’s head right after a hair cut!