[cancer] Side effects update, the (largely) good kind

Well, yesterday was shedding day, with all that implies, plus a bit more. Ran a little differently this time, though. I never fail to be surprised by my body.

On the one hand, everything’s been a bit easier this cycle due to the “skip” week I took for Rain Forest Writers’ Village. I have been far less miserable than in some previous cycles. On the other hand, I continue to exhibit new and occasionally odd side effects, like the Great Earwax Flood of 2010 which occurred earlier this week. In the specific case of the shedding, my general stool volume has been consistent with the lower range of prior shedding experiences, but much more firm. This produces issues with hemorrhoids that I don’t generally experience with the more liquid shedding that’s been typical. So I’m trading dehydration and extensive seat time for a more fundamental, burning, discomfort.

On the flip side, it really has been easier. I never slipped into serious sleep issues, granted that the process is always somewhat irregular for me these days. My right brain woke up on Tuesday and I’ve been very productive on “The Stars Do Not Lie”. My general well being has been more than adequate, which is both welcome and slightly unusual.

I ascribe a lot of this improvement to the “skip” week, which certainly had beneficial medical effects such as spiking my white blood cell count upward. However, I also want to claim some credit for simply being a little smarter and more experienced at this. I tweaked my medications through this last cycle in ways that I expected to improve both my GI issue and my cognitive issues, and I believe I’ve succeeded on both counts. I’ve also tried to stay way ahead of the potential for sleep problems. And I’m listening carefully to my body’s cravings, which I’m trying to take literally. When my gut says “Protein, damn it!”, I don’t make toast.

Mostly, I’m paying attention and trying to keep things on beam. With luck, this learning will carry me through the continuing slow decline of the next seven chemo infusion sessions.