Friday, September 10, 2004
Post-Chemo Friday
I still haven't gotten used to the day after chemo. I feel fine for the most part and feel like I should be doing something, but I know if I do, it will wear me out and intensify the side effects. And then there is the dreaded Neulasta shot coming up in just a few moments. Rather than whining about the little things, I should be focusing on the many things for which I am grateful.

At my doctor's appointment yesterday, I found out my blood levels are still strong. My red blood cells went from 11.8 to 11.6 -- just a slight dip. As a reference, at 11.0 they would start supplemental medication to assist in keeping these levels high. At 9.0 they start transfusions. So I am still in good shape. She recommended I consider adding a daily dose of iron if I could tolerate it. This would help keep my levels up without adding additional medications. I think her direct quote was, "Frankly, Jeannette, I'm quite impressed. You are doing excellent." She also concurred that the cellulitis was looking fine, but still encouraged me to just keep an eye on it.

I also mentioned that I have started having some burning and tingling in my feet. This is likely a sign of chemo-induced neuropathy. This isn't as common a side effect of the AC cocktail; however, it is much more likely to experience this side effect on the Taxol which I start next. To prevent this from getting any worse, the doctor suggested I start glutamine supplements. Glutamine is an amino acid which helps the body restore itself. This will help manage the damage caused by the chemotherapy to the good cells. For the specific symptoms I reported, it will help protect the nerve endings and also balance the GI tract a bit which may help with any problems I have been experiencing in that area (bonus benefit!).

Once again, it isn't so much a complication as an annoyance and it is a side effect that can be managed. I continue to be grateful that treatment has evolved so far. The miracles of modern medicine are amazing. The blessings of generous God are even more amazing.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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    "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12