It’s Tuesday and I like to keep things interesting! I haven’t been around and I have a lot to share about this past week but for now I’m going to stick with today’s updates. Why? Well, frankly because I’m exhausted despite my 3 hour nap.
I ventured out early this morning to see my radiation oncologist (RO), who was anxious to hear about Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) and also see my skin. My skin is better overall than it was before, even just a week ago, but still in rough shape. I’m using (I say me but really, Joe does the hard part of applying everything!) less xeroform and bandages but still go through at least 12 – 15 of each per day with 3 dressings changes. Joe is such a pro now that even the doctor commented on his technique being great today while he applied a coating of the prescription to my skin. She was also surprised and impressed that we turned the “tube top” netting into a vest of-sorts that goes over my shoulders so that it stays in place all day.
Anyway, we are only 2 ½ weeks out of radiation and my radiation was a higher dose than usual plus Xeloda so my skin is healing slowly. Well, I’m over it. I smile while typing that but seriously, enough already? I’m sick of wearing bandages all day every single day. Literally. The RO proactively agreed that my skin is taking a while, which we expected, but she wants to help it along so after a chat with my medical oncologist (MO) and me, we all agreed to take an extra week off of Xeloda. My feet and skin will thank me for that.
My RO commented on how nice my skin looks overall and that it is better each week. By next week, hopefully it will be mostly healed, likely with the exception of the area that was previously radiated. I’m banking on it, since I’m in a wedding in just 10 days! It was also decided that there will be no boost so I’m totally done with radiation (for now and hopefully ever) – WAHOO!
Next I ventured across the way to my MO’s office to have my blood work checked again. Last week it was quite low, borderline transfusion, so being off Xeloda for a few days, I was optimistic despite my sheer exhaustion. Unfortunately, exhaustion and pale skin doesn’t lie. My counts were even lower this week, with my hemoglobin down to 6.6 (average for women is 11.4 – 14.7). Yikes. The nurse joked about how I was even walking but it explains why I had a hard time taking the stairs to the second floor a few minutes prior. I’ll need two pints of blood tomorrow, which I’ve never done before. I’m nervous, of course, but it is what it is and I’m hopeful to feel better. I’m fairly certain that I could sleep all day right now.
My MO stopped in and joked with me about my skin matching my white tank top, which seemed appropriate, considering! He is a very kind man and I appreciate him looking out for me. The nurse made all of the arrangements for tomorrow then walked me upstairs, where I normally receive IV chemo, and set me up to have my blood type checked. She hugged me after ensuring I was all set and went on her way. The nurse unfortunately had some challenges with my veins to check my blood. Only my right arm can be used since I had lymph nodes removed from my left and my port cannot be accessed right now because of radiation burns. I have quite a few bruises from recent blood draws on my right arm and at least one scarred vein so sadly, we are running out of places. She tried my hand twice but couldn’t draw blood and then blew a vein. L She ended up using the same hole that they drew blood from earlier, which hurt like heck to access but at least it worked. My quick blood work appointment turned into almost 3 hours.
It was time to rest after that and I took a very long nap. I’m up now and waiting for little man to arrive home but honestly, I’m ready for bed again already. I’m hopeful that the transfusion will give me some energy back because I desperately need it! On that note, I’m off to rest while waiting for the little guy. I’ll update more tomorrow while receiving my transfusion and share my incredible trip to NYC and MSK with you all! Happy Tuesday!!