The first slap

The first slap
This photo was taken the day after I was diagnosed, and it is my first bitch slap at cancer. I'm the one with the icepack symbolically placed on my boob. My teammates changed our team's uniform to pink at the last minute, and I came off the soccer field that night with one goal and a whole lot of love. Several of these women are my close friends, but they are all warriors, and they all helped me set the tone for this fight.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Back in the chemo suite

Well, here we go. As I write this I am beginning my new course of chemo, and from what I understand, it's a doozy. The meds this time include Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide (a.k.a. Cytoxan), and will be administered four times, everyone two weeks (8 weeks total). The list of side effects is enough to make one nauseated by itself: hair loss, mouth sores, lowered white cell count (with increased risk of infection), diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, decreased apetite, lowered platelet count, skin changes, and my favorite--red urine. This last one is because Adriamycin is a Kool-Aid red colored agent (see photo below), and so that shows up in your urine when you pee. Lovely.

I'm a bit nervous going into this. I'm glad to have it underway, I guess, as the sooner it starts, the sooner it will be over. I'm nervous for the side effects, but also because I'm being treated with antibiotics for cellulitis on my chest--a minor complication from the surgery. The antibiotics could make the digestive side effects of the chemo worse, and if the infection starts to get worse (if the antibiotics aren't really working), then I'm at risk of a more serious infection given the likely effect of lowered white cell count. However, 24 hours after each infusion it is standard to get a shot of Neulasta, which boosts white cell count. So we're hoping that will help prevent any major infections.

I also worry about the nausea itself, as it is likely to be worse than what I experienced in my first 12-week course of chemo. I've been told to just eat whatever sounds good or tastes okay, even if it's only sweet things or salty things for a whole week.

At the very least, this should be interesting! And it's important to remember that this course of chemo will constitute quite a major bitch slap in this whole cancer treatment trip. I'll end with a photo of Grace and Patience N. Hope next to the syringe of Adriamycin.

Starting my new course of chemo with Patience and Grace.


  1. Not fun at all. It's particularly sobering to see the nurse(?) administering it is wearing full protective gear. Not sure what I can do but provide support from a distance. I love you, Lara. Don't forget that.

  2. So now it's 3 days later. Not to steal your thunder -- probably you'll comment soon on how it has gone. By our numerous text messages and phone conversations, you did fantastically! The nausea was a bitch, but as you said yourself, you're a trooper and handled it well with Zofran (and never vomited, right?). And today you're feeling quite well. As I write this, I'm on United an hour out of Chicago and will arrive Champaign later this evening for several days visit.

    A comment on the photo of your doxorubicin (Adriamycin®) injection: Many years ago (1967) your mom and I came to Seattle from NYC, where I was in med school, for a pediatrics elective at UW. For 6 weeks I helped care for young kids with leukemia. It was the early days of successful chemotherapy, and one of the first drugs in use was daunorubicin. As the name implies, it's closely related. And in the syringe, it looks exactly the same: many of the kids talked of getting their KoolAid IV!

    Anyway, apparently you're over the hump of the first of these four chemo blasts. Hope so -- maybe they won't be as bad as we've been worried about.

    See you soon --- Love, Dr. Dad


To comment, be sure to select an ID under "comment as." Anonymous works for those who don't want to comment using their Google, Yahoo, or other ID.