Monday, December 22, 2014

Oranges Are the Devil

Last week I went to see my oncologist (my Lymphoma oncologist who I see for routine follow-up and to monitor my post-op blood thinner).  When he came in to talk to me he said he wasn’t sure why I was there for a visit.  I told him that frankly I wasn’t sure why I needed to see him either.  They always schedule the next appointment at the end of the previous appointment, and apparently he couldn’t remember why he had them schedule it so soon.

But actually he found something to discuss.  They always do a quick blood check while I’m there; just a finger prick’s worth of blood.  They ran my hemoglobin and the test showed that I was anemic.  He went ahead and had them take additional blood so he could further analyze my blood. There are many reasons that I could be anemic including recovery from surgery, radiation, and medications. He told me to go ahead and start taking iron pills.    
Today the oncology center called back about the bloodwork results.  Apparently he wants me to have two sessions of iron infusion (via IV) to help with the anemia and one additional test.  It seems like this whole ordeal is the gift that keeps on giving.  I go next week for my first iron infusion.  This time of year I want to think about infusions of cinnamon, ginger, and brandy.  Not iron.  The anemia can cause fatigue as well as sensitivity to cold.  I have been experiencing both.  I assumed the fatigue was radiation related. 

Speaking of radiation, today was day eight (out of 28) of radiation and my first session of internal radiation.  The internal radiation takes a little longer and is a bit more awkward and uncomfortable.  I will have internal radiation for the next two Mondays. The side effects of radiation had already started a bit late last week and the dose of internal radiation seemed to have kicked them into high gear this morning.  I have an irritated stomach pretty much every day and I feel like I have to pee RIGHT NOW even when I don’t.  Luckily I can take medications to help, and I can also alter my diet.
Bizarrely, the “radiation diet” suggests that I don’t eat fresh fruits and vegetables or whole grains.  I’ve been kidding around with Robbie that I’m now on the white food diet!  Mashed potatoes, pasta, dumplings, white bread, and chicken breast.  The unfortunate part is that it looks like coffee is no longer tolerable.  And heaven forbid I eat an orange.  I ate an orange a couple of days ago and I was miserable for hours. 
Today has been tough.  The news about the IV iron along with a round of side effects that came on fast this morning has left me a little weary.  I want to be drinking candy cane martinis and enjoying myself without worrying about the consequences.  This shall pass, but I am having a hard time being cheerful today.  Robbie brought me home beautiful flowers at lunch as well as much needed medication.  As always, he is a rock star when it comes to taking care of me.  As a veteran of “the fight”, I know that these days happen and that tomorrow will be a new day.  I just need to be kind to myself and wait this one out. If you are of good health, please go out and have a martini for me – I am with you in spirit.

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