I am very late in writing this, but I do think it needs to be documented. My fourth session of chemo was postponed due to the shingles, and I only received it on 27/28 March (instead of on March 7/8). By that time my shingles had disappeared, I was/am on a preventative dosage of antivirals and my white blood cell had recovered well enough to tolerate the further poisoning of my body.
I was, of course, extremely apprehensive about this round. My sessions were not fun up to this point, and I had been in considerable discomfort in the recent past and was in no mood for more. My doctor agreed, and motivated that I be admitted overnight to hospital for the infusion so that the rituximab could be administered extra slowly. Luckily my medical aid agreed (so grateful for this great Discovery plan that I am on!) and I was booked in at about 4pm that day.
And…that’s pretty much all I have to tell you because I got the antihistamine thorough the IV, it knocked me out and I SLEPT THROUGH THE WHOLE INFUSION. I mean – seriously? Given the pain, the discomfort and the puking in the sessions before, this was utterly incredible to me. No ounce of discomfort at all! The worst part of the whole process was getting the IV inserted (not fun, but I’ll take it).
It gets better. I had no yucky side effects afterwards either! I was discharged a day later (after another round of bendamustine was administered) and I went home mid morning. I did not puke even once! Not Once!!! Yes, I felt tired and weak, but even that was less pronounced than it was in the past. All in all, it was an uneventful and relatively OK infusion.
My doctor was as thrilled as I was. We certainly hope that the reason the infusion was so easy is because it was so slow. I do however think that the fact that the chemo was delayed by three weeks (giving my body more time to recuperate) had something to do with it. I guess we’ll find out in my next round, which is in two days and will also be done in hospital (obviously).
Furthermore, just for the record, I had no funny business between the 4th chemo round and the upcoming 5th. No rash, no shingles. I didn’t even have much fatigue. I still am not motivated to work much and I am working at maybe 10-15% of what I would have been before the chemo, but I feel I am slowly snapping out of that. I am also reading books again (As opposed to shorter articles) which means my focus, attention span and concentration is back.
The one negative aspect, which I think I will write more about once I meet with my doctor day after tomorrow, is that the chemo has not yet reversed the hemolytic anaemia and we are frankly not sure it it will. I had doubts as to whether I should even carry on with the chemo at all, but I will save my reasoning (and my decision) for another post!