Monday, November 12, 2012

Here we go...Taxol Round 1 and Abbey has Croup

So, here we go again. It is chemo day--our new chemo day, Monday.  On Thursday, my white blood counts were not high enough to proceed with chemo.  So, we moved our day to Monday, and switched to a new chemo drug (Taxol)  that hopefully won't make my immune system dip too low like the previous treatment did (AC).   My labs looked great today (apparently, my ANC count (neutrophils) is in the 4's today (it needed to be 1.5), so we were able to cautiously start with Taxol.   Praise the Lord--an answer to prayer, as I am able to start this new treatment with a strong immune system.  Thank you prayer warriors!

Since I have seemed to make a habit of taking photos during my chemo sessions, here you go.  Taxol Round 1--Chemo round 3. 

They gave me a lot of pre-medication to try to prevent an allergic reaction to Taxol.  I received benadryl, multiple steroids, and pepsid (acting as a H2 inhibitor, since the benedryl and steroids acts as H1 inhibitors).  They just started the Taxol.  Please pray for no negative reactions to the drug.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly about Taxol:

The Good: Apparently, it shouldn't hurt my immune system as much as the first treatment.  It is also shown to be very effective against breast cancers.  The dosage is smaller because it is divided into 12 weekly treatments.

The Bad:  The dosage is divided into 12 weekly treatments.  I know, this is also good since my dosage is smaller, but I am not a fan of needing to be at the oncologist office for this treatment for 4.5 hours weekly.  Oh well, I am sure the 12 weeks will really fly by.  One more negative thing about receiving 12 weekly treatments is that it will make it harder for us to visit family around the Holidays.  Apparently, there are different side effects with this drug as opposed to the last one.  It seems from what I have read, some added potential side effects include bone/joint pain, hives, diahrrea, and burning and tingling sensations.  These are in addition to the side effects from the last drug I took (nausea, fatigue, neutropenia, etc.).  Neutropenia shouldn't last as long though.

The Ugly:  Ok, this maybe isn't really ugly, but the doctor said my hair may begin to grow back on this drug. However, since I am going to go back to the two rounds of AC (that I am skipping currently) after these 12 weeks, what hair growth I have will likely be lost.  It will be a little sad to watch my hair fall out again after watching it grow back. Oh well--this is small stuff in the big picture of things.

How have I been feeling lately?
I have been feeling ok for the past few weeks, except for the extreme fatigue.  I just have no energy.  We finally decided to leave the house for a bit (to go somewhere other than doctors' appointments) on Saturday morning and on Sunday morning to run short errands. I feel my most energetic when I wake up in the morning, so I always try to take advantage of this time of day to get things done.  I was EXTREMELY careful at both places, didn't touch anything, kept a distance from others, used multiple sanitizing wipes, etc.  This has just become a norm when I leave the house now that I am chemo.  At both places we visited this weekend, I felt really exhausted and had to sit down halfway through our short strolls through the store.  But, I can handle this fine.  I keep reminding myself that this is only for a short time when I look at the big picture of my lifetime.  I crave the ability to leave the house. I am someone who always like to be on the go.  God is really developing and changing me into one who can appreciate being at home, as well as away.  So, this isn't necessarily a bad thing that I can't leave the home much.

What's going on at home?
Like I said in a previous post, now that Abbey is on the move a lot, she likes to play with whatever Luke is playing with at the time.  This means that she crawls or rolls right on over to him and attempts to take it away.  This has been a fun lesson for Luke to learn.  But, he is such a good big brother.  He usually just finds her another toy and does the smart swap.  Only a couple of times has she figured out what he was trying to do and was unhappy about it.  This is a funny picture of the opposite happening though.  Abbey was reading her favorite Sesame Street flap book.  Luke was trying to "share" the experience with her.  Look at her face--do you think she approved?

Abbey says, "Please take your hands off the book and we will have no problems here."

Abbey and Luke are doing really well.  Abbey and Luke really have not even left the house much this past week either.  Luke did go to school on Tuesday, but we chose not to send him on Thursday since my counts were low--we didn't want to risk him bringing something home to us from school (and I am not talking about craft projects, but rather, germs).  Abbey really didn't leave the house for about a week--until Saturday.  On Friday afternoon, strangely, Abbey developed a cough that only occurred when she slept in her crib.  It was only happening a few times per night, and she would return to sleep right after each episode.  During her awake time she seemed completely fine.  Then, yesterday morning she awoke with a hoarse-sounding voice.  She was happy all day long though, but just wanted to be held more frequently.  I just held her a lot more than usual, thinking she must have just missed some mommy time.  Then, at 11pm last night, she awoke with a terrible sounding seal-like barking cough, as well as she had extreme difficulty breathing.  Time to go to the hospital.  Drew and Abbey headed to the hospital around 11:15pm and then came home around 1:45am with a croup diagnosis.  It was so difficult to stay behind at home and not be with my baby, but Drew really didn't want me to go and be around all of the germs there since I was due to start treament today and we didn't know what my counts would be like.  The hospital gave her a nebulized steroid (breathing treatment), a steroid injection (which happens to be the same one I am taking with chemo), and made sure via chest X-ray that nothing else was going on in her longs.  Then, they sent her home.  Our poor little girl has croup.  It will likely last up to a week, and apparently she is contagious for three days since the time it began.  Croup is usually viral and very contagious--this is not a good mix for our household since I have difficultly fighting illnesses during chemo.  Please pray that Abbey heals quickly and no one else in our family gets this (I will add these requests to our prayer list).  As germaphobic as we are, I still have no idea how she got this.  We don't even wear our shoes in the house.  My only thought is that perhaps someone (maybe Luke) walked in their shoes on the rug and then Abbey crawled over that area and put her hands in the mouth.  I know Drew, Luke and I have been washing our hands like crazy.  We will now make sure we wash Abbey's little hands more frequently.   

We are eating extremely well at home--lots of fruits, vegetable, lean unprocessed meats, quality proteins (like  cage-free eggs), and whole grains.  It seems with each round I have craving changes.  During the first round, soups worked really well.  Last round, I craved eggs all the time and soup a lot less (perhaps because I ate them first round a lot--not sure?).  So, I am wondering what I will be craving this round.  Will what I eat this round make me want not to eat it next round?  One thing I have craved during both rounds--Pad Thai.  I could practically eat some sort of Thai food every day.  Weird, huh?  It is like I am pregnant all over again.

Drew is being the awesome husband that he has always been.  He does a great job of balancing work, family, taking care of us, and picking up a bigger load around the house.  He does so much and is such a compassionate, caring husband!  He is also our house's official "juicer" and smoothie maker.  Below is a picture of him and Luke (helping) juicing this morning.  We all enjoyed a carrot, ginger root, strawberry and blueberry juice.  Of all of us, Luke enjoyed this most and asked for more.  That kid eats super healthfully--his favorite foods are fruits and vegetables.  I almost gave Luke the rest of my juice, as it wasn't setting well with me.  (Cue the "Life Cereal" commercial phrase--"Give it to Mikey, he'll eat it!"--right?)  Our little boy HAS to have a super-immune system.   But, I plugged my nose and down the hatch it went.  

We are again, so thankful for our friends and family who continue to pray for us, care for us, bring us meals, and everything else you do for us.  Thank you all!  We have so much to be thankful for and feel so blessed to have you all in our lives.


  1. Praying for you daily Heather, and hope this round us not as rough on you. Praying for all if you through this-- Drew, Abbey and Luke. We will def pray Abbey heals quickly and no one else gets sick-- I am sure that was very very hard on you to not be able to go with her to the hospital. :( Love and prayers to alk of you!

  2. Been praying for you also, Heather! God loves to teach those of us with (normally) fast-paced lives, to SLOW DOWN and have patience -- to learn to WAIT on the Holy Spirit. ;) Hang in there!!!