Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Post-chemo updates

I had some of the expected side effects after the first round of chemo.  I'm going into chemo in reasonably good health, except for the cancer cells in my abdomen that want to kill me.  I feel good and I was training hard right up until I started chemo.

I had to go to the hospital for the first 3 days post-chemo, just for a saline infusion.  The chemo messes with your taste buds, your sense of thirst, and it causes nausea.  I assume that the doctors think the patients won't drink enough, so they use IVs to maintain hydration for a few days post-chemo.

I had some odd taste sensations for a few days.  Cold drinks didn't feel cold.  I was nauseous.  My appetite was off.  I was worried about bone pain that can be caused by a medication called Neulasta, that I got the day after chemo ended.  I thought I had gotten lucky, when I got to Friday afternoon (after a Monday injection) and I had no bone pain.  But, it started to show up on Friday night, and it got worse through the day on Saturday, while I was skiing.

Saturday night, the pain got very bad and it had me shaking uncontrollably when it woke me up at 3:30 a.m.  Some high test pain medication and some blankets to keep me extra warm got things under control.  But, I was also scheduled to teach a skiing clinic on Sunday and that was challenging.

I was getting hit by waves of pain during the clinic, sometimes as I was talking, but sometimes as I was skiing.  I was trying to show good demos to other ski instructors, and all I could think about was pain.  But, I think I held it together OK and the clinic went well.  As soon as that clinic was over, I told my bosses I was done for the day.  I went home, took some pain medication, and I took a nap.

The pain now seems to be past its peak, but it's not fully gone.  I have three more of these shots in the next 2 months, and I hope the pain does not reach those same levels each time.

During the first few days after chemo, I was limited to walking as my only exercise.  I rested Monday, walked for an hour on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then rested 2 days, knowing I was going to ski on the weekend.  I didn't ski a lot of runs, but it took enough out of me that I'm glad I didn't ski any more.

Yesterday, I returned to CrossFit, but with orders to take it easy compared to my normal workouts.

The first part of the workout was 10x3 front squats.  I can't do front squats because of the chest port that's been installed to administer chemo.  If I rolled a bar across that sub-surface device, I'm sure it would hurt like hell, and maybe damage the device.  So, I did back squats, and I took it easy.  I started at sets of 95 pounds and eventually worked to 150.  With a PR of 375, I think that counts as taking it easy.

Next, we were asked to complete 3 rounds of the following, as quickly as possible:

100 single-unders (rope jumps)
30 sit-ups
10 hang squat cleans

For the cleans, I limited myself to only 45#, again to protect the chemo port.  I could still feel some after-effects of the chemo and my cardio system was less than 100%.  I got through the workout in 10:36.

In just 8 days, I'll be back in the hospital for the next round.  My goal between now and then is to exercise as much as my body will tolerate, without making myself sick.  And then, we start all over again.

Obviously, I need to make some concessions to these treatments.  I need the treatments if I'm going to have any hope of a cure from this beast.  But, I'm going to concede as little as possible, and try to live my life as normally as possible.


Jeff Farbaniec said...

I think it's amazing that you were able to ski both days last weekend, less than a week after chemo. Good luck with the Crossfit this week.

Damon said...

I'm hoping I'll stay strong enough through each round to ski the two weekends between each treatment. The second weekend after treatments should be very doable. The first might be a challenge, but it worked this time.

Harriet said...

Thanks for the update Damon. I am interested in how you are doing and salute you doing "what you can, when you can."