When I say “chemoey” it means lethargic, achy, distracted, pain in my tumor sites, cranky, bleary-eyed, exhausted, and weak. I’m a real crowd pleaser. My side effects seem a little worse this time around, and I’m wondering if there might be a cumulative effect. Even so, how I feel right now is nothing compared to how much other drugs have wrecked me, so I catch myself before I start complaining. I just need to rest and ride this initial body shock wave.
The body shock started yesterday right as the last few drops dripped from my chemo infusion bag. Despite the pre-medication of Benadryl and Tylenol to prevent this, I started to go into a minor bronchial spasm. My bronchial passages tightened and an unstoppable cough set in. It felt as if someone had freeze dried inside my chest so that everything felt tight. The chemo nurse made me stay an extra half-hour or so for monitoring and thankfully the cough calmed and chest tightness loosened on its own without me having to endure more mind-numbing Benadryl.
This possible allergic reaction to SGN-35 happened to me the first time I tried the drug in late 2010, also at about the third infusion mark. It’s something we’ll have to monitor. Other than that, my doctor says I look great. My blood counts are all normal. I have no palpable swollen lymph nodes and I don’t feel any lymphoma symptoms. Dr. M was more interested in hearing about our recent party, which is a refreshing change from the days when I would come in with a huge list of questions and complaints.
I have a PET Scan scheduled for July 12. The imaging will allow us to know if the SGN-35 is shrinking the lymphoma cells, if it’s keeping the areas of disease stable, or if things are flaring up further. Then, we’ll determine the next steps. Stay on SGN-35 as long as it’s tolerable? Move forward with a Donor Lymphocyte Infusion? Switch to another therapy? Stop therapy altogether? Many questions to be answered in time. Right now I will focus on resting and recovering and enjoying these next couple of weeks of treatment respite until I have to deal with whatever realities July 12 brings.
I’ve got to take it easy and let my body do what it needs to do without compromising it. I can’t push too hard or else it only sets me back. The whole cancer treatment process is like skiing; it’s a constant experimentation with finding the edge, the thrill of riding it, and the pressure of trying not to snowball downhill.