Doxil Round #12 is DONE!

It has been a long haul. One full year of Doxil. I have been through cracked hands and feet….large blisters all over my feet and some between my fingers on my hands….a constant burning of my feet when I am still…horrible rashes that have left my skin completely raw in different places on my body. I have had bouts of nausea for about 5 days starting about day 3 after my chemo. One more of those bouts to go….starting this weekend. My hand vacillate from being all wrinkly like someone 30 years my senior to being red and swollen where I don’t really even have fingerprints. (Such is evidenced by these new-fangled phones that would like to use my thumb print to unlock. It can’t read mine…and when it does, it only will match maybe 1 out of 10 times). First world problems! Anyhow…this was most likely my last Doxil infusion. It is toxic to my heart eventually and I am getting close to the lifetime dosage. I have been on some form of chemo therapy since early December 2019 and my specialist has recommended I take a break and perhaps try something not so toxic for a little while and see how it works. That is if my scans I scheduled for March 8th come back decent. I will teleconference with my specialist at Mayo at that time and we’ll solidify the plan. If the scans come back less than desirable…we make other plans. Either way, a month from now I will be doing something different. Contrary to the side effects I listed above, this has been a relatively easy chemo regimen for me and I know that I may have to really embrace the term, “suck it up, Buttercup” from now on. Every time I go to have a treatment, I don’t just put “chemo” in my day planner (yes, I still like to have something on paper as well as on a virtual calendar!). I always put, “Take treatment with grace.” I think about it on the way to the appointment and with all the people I deal with during my treatment: nurses, doctors, other patients, and other ancillary staff. That is my goal. If I need to fall apart, I do it when I get home. Today, it was reciprocated. The head social worker met me and gave me a gift. I had been inadvertently left out of the first two cancer support groups I signed up for online. It was totally an oversight, but she felt really bad and even brought me a gift from the cancer treatment boutique in the hospital as I didn’t even think it was open…I have never been there. I got the opportunity to see the nurse practitioner instead of my medical oncologist and she was a wealth of information. What a breath of fresh air! One of the infusion nurses stopped by while I was getting my chemo and gave me her card and a brochure about nurse navigators. All info I should have gotten 16 months ago. But my battle will hopefully wage on for a long time, so I am happy to have this information. I was overwhelmed with their kindness. Even the second nurse (when they give you chemo – poison, really – they have to have two nurses check all the information on the bag of chemo…my name and birthdate – and the long ID number on my hospital bracelet vs the number on the infusion bag. The secondary nurse wished me a happy birthday since it is only 5 days away and I wouldn’t be back before then. For the first time in a really long time, I left feeling that I wasn’t just a person with cancer, but Cyndi: a person with a name.

We are in a cold snap in Nebraska. Today it got up to 12 – our balmy day for the week. Valentine’s Day and Monday, my birthday, are weather alert days because the windchills are projected to get as low as -35! Just goes to show you that you turn 50 and hell freezes over! :o) Warmest day of the week, and I spent an hour of it with my feet packed in ice. The irony is not lost on me!

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