Today we started the IL-2. I got the first dose at 7:00am. About 9:00 I started having a few minor symptoms: fatigue, feeling feverish, and a little shortness of breath (which went away before the second dose began). The first dose wasn't too bad at all. Not nearly as terrible as I expected - of course the treatment is cumulative, so theoretically the first dose should be the easiest and it will become worse from here. The second dose started at 3:00 (it is a 30 minute infusion drip every 8 hours). By about 4:30, I started feeling the compounded syptoms from that dose: severe chills and shakes (the chills felt like the inside of my body was cold, not like a normal shiver where you get goose bumps on your skin, but rather a full internal wave of coldness - a very strange sensation). The nurse gave me Demerol for those symptoms along with a medication to counteract the nausea effect of the Demerol. The Demoral worked, but the anti-nausea not as well. I threw up a few times and my fatigue is compounded. I also have a fever of 101.5, even with taking Tylenol every 4 hours and getting an IV drip of another fever-reducing agent. I am not feeling so great right now - extremely hot from the fever, a little nauseaus, and extremely tired. But it's still a lot better than I expected and I'm glad I can continue on to another dose (which I will get at 11:00 tonight). This time I'm prepared for the chills, shakes, and nausea, so we'll see what new symptoms we get to add to the list this time. Considering the average number of doses is seven, after tonight's dose, I'll be just about halfway finished. The most it can be is 2-3 more days. I've had food poisioning four times and, more recently, a 42-hour labor - I think I can last 2 more days (I hope I'm not testing fate with those words), but of course I am saying that with zero personal knowledge about how bad it's going to get. We shall see, we shall see. I am thankful that we get to continue on and find out.
Something that we realized today, after speaking with Dr. Schaub, is that I may have been experiencing cancer pain for the last few months. I have been having pains (like a severe discomfort, not like shooting pains) in my uppper abdomen, right where my pancreas is. The start there and then radiate out through my upper back. When I was trying to breastfeed baby Kai, we had some issues and I lost my milk supply. I was taking a perscription medication called Reglan for help with lactation. The purpose of Reglan is to treat gastroinestional disorders, but it has a side effect of increasing lactation, so it is perscribed off lable for that. Anyway, I just figured it was doing something crazy to my digestive system since that was it's real intention and didn't think much about it. But the pain has been getting steadily worse over time and Dr. Schaub thinks it might be due to the tumor in my pancreas. So I guess I am feeling some of the affects of the cancer after all. But I'm happy that's all I'm feeling, and am still otherwise healthy.
Jeff is being absolutely incredible. He stays by my side all day long. He was here for 12 hours today just sitting with me, waiting on me, and making sure I was receiving the best care possible. This experience has brought our relationship to a whole new level. It was already amazingly strong, but now there is no doubt that there is nothing in this world that can break us. We can do this, we can do anything. I am so thankful for you, my wonderful husband, and your constant love and devotion. I could not do this without you.
I am not feeling well tonight, but wanted to least give an update. I will contiue to try to post daily, but I may not be able to depending on how bad the IL-2 symptoms become. If I can't continue, I will catch up on the other side of this treatment. I know I haven't been very good about returning e-mails and Facebook messages and phone calls, and I apologize for that, but know that I am getting all of the wonderfully supportive messages and they really do mean the world to me. I am thankful for every single one of them.
Today I am thankful for the sickness that will make me better; the amount of time that baby Kai is getting to spend with his grandparents who are caring for him through this chaotic time; the plethora of pain- and side effect-controlling medications that I am getting; my wonderful family and friends; and as always my amazing husband and perfect baby Kai. I miss you little one, but I know you are and have been in good hands. I will see you in a few days and, more importantly, I will see you years from now.