Thursday, July 20, 2017

Last Chemo Dose of Round 1!

We've been a little incognito lately, apologies for the absence.  We've been busy with chemo, kids, work, adventures, and more ice cream than usual.  Not too much ice cream, just more than usual.  You can never have too much ice cream.  We don't officially have a family crest or motto but "You can never have too much ice cream" sounds like it could be the beginning of something beautiful.

Right now we're sitting at the Huntsman Cancer Institute where Nin is getting her fourth and final dose of her first round of chemotherapy!

After this she will still have her 12 weekly doses but apparently that treatment is much easier than this one.  These four doses are supposedly much more difficult to tolerate than the next 12 doses.  Nin tolerated the first two doses fairly well but the 3rd dose (two weeks ago) really took the wind out of her sails.  We think the problem was the she forgot to hydrate, which is super important to flush the drugs out of your system.  We hope that was the reason and that it wasn't because the drugs were compounding and becoming harder to tolerate.  This last dose should answer that question for us.  We made sure Nicole drank plenty of fluid the day before, the morning of, during, and after this dose.

Crossing our fingers that drinking a lot of water will help and she'll have an easier week that last time.

The main side effects she suffered last time were fatigue and nausea.  There was a lot of this happening that first week:

and this:

We assume that both of these side effects were intensified by her not hydrating.  After chemo she couldn't even look at water because it tasted terrible.  Chemo can make things taste different for some people.  For Nin it makes things taste like metal.  Mostly drinks.  Because she wasn't hydrated and couldn't drink anything, she became more dehydrated and wasn't able to get the chemo drugs out of her system as quickly as before.  It was a vicious cycle.  She needed to drink to flush the drugs out of her body but the drugs made her too sick to drink.  A real nasty chicken-egg type situation.

Along with the fatigue and nausea Nin has been suffering from blurred vision around Day 3 or 4.  Luckily it only sticks around for less than a day.  She has a hard time focusing on things further away.  So when she has conversations with people she looks like she's squinting while staring into the sun.

We love to have something to look forward to.  We love to travel and try to do one International trip each year.  We also try to do one big trip in the US each year, usually a long distance camping trip with our tent trailer.  Having a trip to look forward to every few months makes for a happy Schweppe family.  With all of the crappy-ness that is cancer, it's treatments, and it's unpredictability, having things to look forward to is so much more important than usual.  Our recent trip to Iceland was a HUGE blessing in keeping us in good spirits through all of this.

This past weekend we took a quick trip up to Lava Hot Springs.  It was a great getaway before this latest chemo infusion.  I wish we had a bunch of awesome pictures to post but we hardly took any.  We spent the entire day swimming, sliding, and jumping off stuff at the pool.  A crazy rainstorm blew in around 4pm so they had to close the pool.  We went back to camp and got in the tent trailer. Both kids immediately fell asleep and we sat back and relaxed as rain drops slammed the top of the tent and wind blew against the walls.  It was just what the Doctor ordered.

Nin's next round of chemotherapy will start on August 3rd and run weekly for 12 weeks.  She will be getting Taxol, Herceptin, and Perjeta.  There are still a lot of side effects with these infusions but most people breeze right through them compared to these past four infusions Nin received.  We're anxious to find out how she does with the next round.  We are optimistic and hopeful that the side effects will be minor.