Tag Archive | liver enzymes

Last chemo!!!

You can’t see me, but I’m doing a little chair dance today. My last cycle of chemo is currently infusing to my body, and I am very happy about that. I won’t consider chemo to be over until all the side effects have cleared out, but today is a momentous occasion nonetheless. I will continue to come to the RCC every three weeks for a year in order to get my Herceptin infusions, but that is a biological and not chemo. Those infusions will be much easier than chemo. The infusion itself is only 30 minutes, I won’t need bloodwork or to meet with Dr. Li prior, and I won’t see all the chemo side effects.

This is the IV stand an infuser for the eight drugs I get each chemo cycle.

This is the IV stand an infuser for the eight drugs I get each chemo cycle.

I met with Dr. Li yesterday to get the results of my blood work and MuGA test. My red blood cell count, hemoglobin and hemocrit all came back higher. They’re still lower than the normal range, but higher than I’ve had in the past. My liver enzymes are still high, but at least they didn’t go up. I was disappointed the levels didn’t go down, since I was good and didn’t do too much physically this time. Dr. Li said I was fine, though, since they were stable and the other liver measurements were within normal ranges. My MuGA came back with my heart function at the maximum measurable level

StatsGuy came with me to chemo since it was the last one, and we celebrated just a bit by ordering lunch from the Panera in the plaza across the street.

Me and StatsGuy sitting at the RCC

Me and StatsGuy sitting at the RCC

Now that chemo is about done, I’m moving on to the next treatment – surgery. I meet with Dr. Engel two weeks from today to find out how much surgery he’ll be doing and the time frame. I’m hoping for early December for the surgery – StatsGuy won’t be teaching and I have family events scheduled for Christmas.

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Chemo #5

Unfortunately, not as fun as Mambo #5, but my sister came with me this time and made it as fun as it can be. Sarah and I don’t get to visit for hours uninterrupted and even talking on the phone is a lesson in Mommy Conversations, since one of her kids (being still on the young side) likes to interrupt every minute or so. All the chatting certainly made the chemo go by quickly. I was sure I had another drug to infuse, but nope – all done. Starting at 8am also helped it go faster, I think, since I was done by 1pm. Lots of time to run some errands on the west side of town afterwards.

Me and my sister, Sarah.

Me and my sister, Sarah.

Bloodwork came back on Wednesday with no surprises. My anemia is still holding steady, with white blood cells and platelets in the normal range. My liver enzymes were still high, though. One had gone down a bit, and the other up just a touch, but since my alkaline phosphate and bilirubin levels were normal, I could still get chemo. Turns out, damaging my muscles, whether through heavy exercise or bruising, can also raise my liver enzymes. So, you’re saying I shouldn’t have dug out that root ball from a bush in front of my house? Maybe you should have warned me about that exercise connection a bit earlier. Once I feel fine, I go back to my normal levels of activity, which tend to be on the high side. Ah well, at least I know better for my last chemo treatment. Maybe I can get those liver enzymes to go down again.

The other thing I learned was not to take my Zofran the day after chemo since it can interfere with some of the anti-nausea drugs they infused in me during chemo. Luckily this time I didn’t start to feel nauseous while the chemo drugs were going in, which puts me ahead of the game from last time. Speaking of last times, there’s just one chemo cycle left. I’m having a big party when this part of my treatment is done!

Chemo four of six

Subtitled: In which there is good news and bad news

Good news: This cycle of chemo means I’m two-thirds done

Bad news: I don’t really count it as done until the side effects are gone, and the nausea started early this time. I felt a bit nauseous once the chemo drugs started going into my system, even with all the anti-nauseous pre-meds they pumped into me. Today is the same, but that’s typical.

Good news: My white blood cell count went up, and my platelets are still in the normal range.

Bad news: My red blood cell count is now low, and my hemoglobin and hemocrit levels remain low.

Good news: While the hemoglobin is low, it is stable, and my iron levels are normal, so no more iron infusions on the schedule, and I won’t need a blood transfusion any time soon. That means my chemo only took five hours this time – the shortest one yet!

Bad news: My liver enzymes went way up, even higher than that first time when they were high. Unfortunately, I didn’t have those values when I saw Dr. Li on Tuesday, so I’m not sure what it’s going to mean for the last two cycles of chemo. Questions to ask the next time I see him (and I’ll have new bloodwork at that point, so we can see if they continue to go up). The frustrating thing for me is there’s really not much I can do to improve my liver, beyond not stressing it out with other drugs to detoxify, which is why I’ve given up alcohol for chemo and only take Tylenol as a last resort (which I haven’t needed since my surgery for my port).

And I’ll end on unmitigated Good news: The breast MRI showed that the tumor which was taking up nearly my entire right breast has almost completely disappeared. There’s just a residual piece about one cubic centimeter in size, and that was after only half the chemo cycle. The last half of chemo should wipe that right out, which significantly improves my outlook. Here’s to good drugs!