Thursday, June 01, 2006


Where have they been? Where are the updates?

First of all, we want to recognize Robin’s distress and her post on the FDMB asking for prayers for herself. Called back on her mammo, Robin has an area in her right breast for which she will receive a sterotactic needle biopsy on June 21. Robin you know that you are totally in our thoughts and that we will be walking with you every step of the way through your challenge.

The week of May 22, being the second week of Venita’s 3rd chemo cycle, usually would have been her good week as side effects diminished and she regained her appetite. She had looked forward to a Memorial Day picnic where she could enjoy eating a grilled cheeseburger and corn on the cob.

But certain side effects became worse, in particular major fatigue, alternating chills and sweats, an incidence of vomiting (no associated nausea), and hardly any food that didn’t smell like cat food or taste like sawdust. All in all, it was nearly impossible for Venita to function. She cancelled two of her 3 physical therapy appointments, and PT Brusier sent Venita home from the one she was able to drag her butt to.

Friday, Venita saw Dr. Chemo, and the reasons for many of these problems became clear. Near the end of the appointment, Venita asked what the white blood cell (WBC) count from her Tuesday blood draw had been, and it was only 1200. (Normal range is 3800–10,800 and the previous Tuesday, her count had been 4800.) Dr. Chemo surmised the fatigue and chills/sweats are the result of an infection and put Venita on antibiotics. She also spent several full days in bed. Bought a digital thermometer and found her temp was fluctuating between 96 and 105 degrees.

Dr. Chemo surmised the vomiting without nausea so late in the cycle was not chemo-related, but rather reflux. His office had advised Venita to take a particular over-the-counter product for this two-weeks before, but once Venita learned the cost, she had called back in for something prescription, but that had fallen through the cracks. Dr. Chemo wrote and Venita filled a scrip for Prevacid. No more vomiting since.

Through the Memorial Day weekend, Venita remained pretty low key. She was able, thankfully, to have her 4th chemo session on Tuesday, May 30. Getting the infusion was touch and go for a bit because Venita’s fever had been up to 102 degrees the previous day, but a WBC count of 12,000 saved the day.

That is the last of the brutal Adriamyacin/Cytoxin chemo, and Venita now moves on to the recreational chemo—Taxol. Everyone promises fewer side effects—likely achiness only. Four session; one every two weeks. Last chemo should be on July 25. Seems only a short 8 weeks away!!

Venita also is taking a break from physical therapy until after brutal chemo is completely out of her system.

Bailey the sick feral cat is not doing well and also needs your thoughts. He is starting his 3rd week of not eating. His blood tests are now showing distress/disease in his liver. He is getting (yesterday and today) IV fluids and antibiotics at the alternative/conventional vet. Hopefully, he will be able to undergo a dental procedure this afternoon; the guess is that an inability to chew set him on this failing course. He is either going to rally here soon, or we will lose him. If the latter happens, we will be very hurt, but he will have had a great run!!


Alice said...

I am so glad to hear from you. I hope you start to feel better soon. So sorry about Bailey and I hope his dental helps his eating. I will be thinking healing thoughts for both you.

Love Alice

Cheri said...

Yay! The worst of the chemo is almost over. I SO hope the next round is much gentler. 8 weeks doesn't seem so long now.

Bailey is in my thoughts as well. I hope he recovers and the dental issue works out to be the problem.

Know I'm thinking of you Venita! Take care of yourself and keep on hanging in there.


Martha and Alley Cat said...

Much thought coming your way. xoxo,m