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1st Post-Chemo Dr. Visit - (Journal Date: 3/16/05)

5/24/2005

After my first chemo treatments, the worst side effects included abdominal cramps, constipation, and fatigue for about 3-4 days. Some of these symptoms may be the result of the general anesthesia I had for my porta-cath surgery in between chemo treatments. I felt like I rebounded fairly quickly, but I could tell that my body took a pretty good hit. The prescription drugs I took kept away any nausea, headaches, or flu-like symptoms. Still no hair loss, but I was warned that it might start to come out two weeks after my initial chemo treatment.

My onocologist advised me to continue with the nutritious foods, to increase fiber, and to keep drinking lots of water. I was able to continue with the elliptical trainer at the HPRHS Fitness Center targeting a heart rate of 150-155 bpm, but it is more difficult to last my usual 35 minutes. I still have the green light to play golf if I feel up to it. I am a part-time certified golf teaching professional, but have taken time off from teaching until I can get past the chemo treatments. Meanwhile, my doctor recommends that I pick the ball clean and not hit any fat shots or take any big divots. Man, that's too much pressure...Doctor's orders are not to hit any bad shots!!

My sleeping problems (waking at about 2:30 a.m. every night) are a direct result of the Prednisone. While I can take Ambien or Tylenol PM to get to sleep, neither will be much help keeping me asleep. Problem does go away after my five days on Prednisone.

I am experiencing a good amount of hip pain, which is a common reaction to the Neulasta shot that I take on the Sunday after treatment. This shot is meant to stimulate white blood cell production in the bone marrow to fight diseases and infection. Pain in any of the bones, particularly the large bones, is common and indicates that the drug is working.

Another side effect has been the change in taste of most everything. A pronounced "metallic" taste is common and won't go away completely until the chemo treatments are through. The taste buds are fairly fast growing cells and as such they are also being targeted by the chemo.

Our goal of complete cure will probably take six treatment cycles and it will be better to over treat than to under treat. Future scans will help us make a final decision on treatments.

We are planning on CT Scans following the second, fourth, and sixth chemo cycles to evaluate my response to treatments. A follow-up PET Scan will be scheduled at the end since this test can be effected by chemotherapy drugs.

Finally, the girls got to buzz cut Daddy's hair down from about 3" to 3/4" to let them participate in my new look. Several guys from the office buzz cut their hair already in support of my battle with cancer. Some say that I look younger....with all of the salt & pepper (gray) gone!! We'll see if they remain complimentary as I begin to look like Mr. Clean!!

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