I’m an East Coast girl – March 2, 2015

I won’t lie.  The weeks post-chemo suck.  With the sore throat, vomiting and ever present diarrhea, I’ve lost 15 pounds since I started chemo.  Not the way I’d recommend losing weight.  In addition, the scar from my port was infected; I got pus out of it on Friday, and then my cheeks, which are normally a little flushed, have been very flushed since the chemo treatment and never went away.  It’s like I’ve had a bunch of drinks and have massive Asian glow, or that I forgot to put on sunscreen and went skiing.  My cheeks are so flushed that the skin has started peeling.  And lastly, I took my blood pressure yesterday and it was 90/65, with a pulse of 96.  So I let my doc know all of this stuff and she wanted me to come in today for a blood draw and a visit with her.  After the first chemo treatment, my cheeks were a little flushed for a few days, maybe almost a week, but then they went back to what is normal for me.

Dr. K took one look at me and said, Oh my God, we have to do something else.  So after talking with her, and talking with her colleagues, she’s completely changing my chemo protocol.  She said that if I lived on the east coast, this protocol which she is starting me on would have been what I would have been on in the first place.  She’s convinced that the Taxotere is what’s causing most of my problems; I’m in the less than 5% of patients who exhibit these symptoms. She called this protocol the Harvard protocol; the one which uses the Taxotere is the UCLA protocol, and is used on the west coast.  I got a good chuckle out of that.  No rival Pac-12 protocols to be tolerated here, I guess – sorry Nancy S and Nancy D!

So here it is.  I’ll be keeping my appointment on March 13 for a blood draw, visit with Dr. K and chemo, but my infusion will be much shorter, only about 2.5 hours.  Here is the new chemo protocol:

Adriamycin and Cytoxan every two weeks for 4 treatments

followed by

Taxol, Herceptin and Perjeta once a week for 12 treatments

followed by Herceptin every 3 weeks for 1 year (this does not change)

She then said that my high pulse and low blood pressure is because I’m dehydrated and wanted me to stay for fluids with potassium, and told me to take 40 meqs of potassium every day until March 13.  The fluids took 2.5 hours to receive today, so that was unexpected, but equally unexpected was having Jonrie be able to visit with me! She brought me a great gift plus some awesome treats.  (Thanks, Jonrie!)  I’ll continue to take Zofran as needed; I’m taking it every 6 hours and thus far today I’m okay – I haven’t even felt the need to vomit yet today, so keep your fingers crossed.

What this new protocol means is that there is no more argument between my oncologists and my breast surgeon.  I’ll finish the 2 new treatments in mid-July, have 3 weeks off,  then have surgery the week of August 10.  Everything has fallen into place.  I can only hope that these new drugs don’t cause the same reactions as the first protocol have.  Dr. K said more than once that she appreciates having a patient who can go with the flow so easily and so intelligent as to grasp what is going on.  She also said she doesn’t want to give me back to Dr. Priya, which I found very funny!

I was getting a little dragged down, to be honest, with the prospect of non-stop diarrhea for another 12 weeks, coupled with these cheeks which look like I’m a alcoholic.  So I’m very hopeful that this new protocol, while more bothersome because of all the infusions, will, in the end, be easier on my body.  Here’s to science; to east vs west coast protocols; and a medical staff who’s willing to take my discomfort seriously. I’m blessed.

5 thoughts on “I’m an East Coast girl – March 2, 2015

  1. Rhonda says:

    I’m proud of you fighting for what’s best for you. I didn’t know there was an east coast vs west coast protocol. I was on Adriomyacin, Cytoxin and Methotrexate. I truly believe you will notice a difference in how you feel with the new regimen.


  2. Debi says:

    Hope this works better for you! I did think your cheeks were awfully red in the pictures Ted posted over the weekend. Hopefully you be feeling well enough to post a picture with your surprise you got Saturday.


  3. thesamthatiam says:

    I’d like top come up with some witty quip about your bicoastal chetnik but I can’t. I’m just grateful you’re getting some rely. Fingers crossed, Caroline.


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