If you spend any length of time around me, you will notice that I can barely get through a day without quoting (a) a line from some random movie; (2) a line from a song, or; (c) likening something that happened to something on an episode of Seinfeld. I still believe that every episode of “Seinfeld” was the best episode, so I had a good laugh yesterday when my medical oncologist told me that I am a “bubble boy,” remembering something from one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes.
If you read blog #17, you’ll remember that I had just finished radiation on two cancerous lymph nodes and was getting ready to start single-agent Taxotere (aka Docetaxel) for a cluster of prostate cancer tumors that had migrated to my rectal wall, causing all sorts of fun problems.
I had my first Taxotere infusion on June 27th. Perhaps I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. Other than a little discomfort that came from “poking my port,” there was almost nothing unpleasant about the experience. I want to pass along to anyone who might face this in the future that it did not hurt or burn, and it did not feel hot or cold. It was just kinda “there.” Start to finish, the process took about three hours. It was the first of six treatments that if things go as scheduled, will take place every three weeks into October 2022.
I do notice some side effects from the first treatment, none of which are profound. I do notice that my tongue feels a little “weird,” but it has not affected my sense of taste at this point (i.e. donuts and cinnamon rolls still taste good). I do feel tired – especially at night – but I run at a pretty hard pace, especially right now with so many things going on simultaneously at Cincinnati Cancer Advisors, so that might be contributing to the fatigue as well. I haven’t lost any hair yet, though I am told that might not start until after treatment #2 on July 18th.
There is one pretty big side effect that is being addressed right now though. I had my first post-chemo bloodwork yesterday and my “ANC,” or “absolute neutrophil count,” has dropped to near undetectable levels. ANC is basically a measure of the body’s white blood cell count and is indicative of its ability to ward off infection, of which I have very little at the moment. As such, I have to hunker down and do three very important things until the situation improves:
As soon as it is approved, return to the hospital for a Neulasta injection.
Do not leave my residential “bubble” for anything other than medical treatment and receive no guests.
Run – don’t walk – to the ER if I begin to feel sick.
Now that I think of it, I am pretty sure none of this was ever addressed in an episode of Seinfeld. 😊
Until next time,