August to December 2012
The subsequent cycles were all very similar. We would check in, get a room, and wait for the drugs. Carmen would bring her usual magazines and iPad so she could read and/or watch a movie. To this day, she has never opened up a single magazine nor watched a single movie on the iPad.
Besides the immediate side effects of the Oxali, there were others that manifested themselves a bit later. For the Oxali, as I’ve mentioned before, it was neuropathy. Carmen’s finger tips would tingle and sensitivity would slowly diminish. This effect was compounded by Xeloda’s side effect which was hand/foot syndrome. Her hands and feet began to discolor and peel. It was as if he was getting sunburned daily on the palm of her hands and the soles of her feet. Combined, these 2 drugs were making it difficult for Carmen to do simple things like buttoning up the girls clothes, or tie their hair, or picking up anything with her fingers. There’s a special talent that I believe only females are given that men, no matter how much they try, can not pick up. That’s tying girls hair in a pony tail. All of my attempts were met with “Oh, I guess it was daddy’s turn to get the girls ready today”.
During this time, Carmen was on a heavy dose of Prilosec for the ulcerated tumor in her stomach. As I understood it, it had ulcerated and was causing pain and discomfort. She had this before Audrey was born, but she just assumed that it was just part of the pregnancy and didn’t say anything. After a few months on Prilosec and chemo, her stomach pains subsided. Upon her next CT scan, it seemed as if her ulceration had healed and the stomach tumor shrank. Both really good signs. The only negative was her ovarian masses had not shrunk. On the positive side, it didn’t grow. Also another positive was that there were no new signs of growth in any other part of her body. We’re assuming that there may be a chance some cancer cells have spread to other parts of her body just waiting for a chance to begin growing. The chemo looked like it was keeping these guys in check. I believe her own immune system was helping as well. During all of her cycles she never needed any blood transfusions or any other boosters. All of her blood counts were in good range for her to receive treatment.
Audrey by this time was sleeping more than 5 hours a night. When she did wake up for food, she would quickly go back to sleep as soon as she was done. I had gotten used to waking up for an hour, then going back to sleep. She was an expert at burping. She did have a few stretches where she would throw it all back up after she finished the bottle. Those were not fun nights. But they passed.
All in all, these cycles actually became routine (maybe because we had become semi-zombies by this time).