Chemo and the Corona Virus

I started my new Chemo regimen on February 19th. Accompanied by my friend Lauren, we started our day at DFCI around 11 and did not leave until close to 7 pm. Very long day. I started a new trial consisting of a non-approved drug called Tesataxol. This is a pill form of a common IV chemo Taxol which is said to have less harsh side effects. I also take Xeloda which is also chemo in pill form that can be taken at home for two weeks on and then you get a break for one week. As is standard in trials, you are started off on the maximum dosage. This dosage proved to be way too toxic for me as two days into the meds, i was so so sick. Nauseous, vomiting, couldn’t eat, slight fevers, sleeping constantly and basically stayed in bed or on the couch for five days. I continued the meds in hopes that the side effects would subside. They did not and the doctors had me stop the meds only 5 days in. I started to feel better but was neutropenic- meaning that I had a very low white blood cell count. This was the first time in all of my treatments that I felt this sick. I started round two of these meds yesterday at a reduced dosage in hopes that the the meds will be kinder to me and my body can tolerate it more. I hope and pray that i can tolerate this better because, I really need a win here with this disease. I have been on four different treatment regimens and my life literally depends on finding something that will work.

For some reason, i had a very tough day at DFCI yesterday in regards to my emotions. It could be b/c every time i do in to the doctors there is always a new issue. One week its low white blood cells and this week it was heightened liver enzymes. It could have been because it was my favorite nurse practioner is leaving the practice and yesterday was my last visit with her. It could be because these weekly visits are becoming exhausting for me. It could be b/c my hair is falling out in large clumps even though I was told that i would not lose my hair (we are hopeful this is temporary). I could be all of the talk about the Corona virus is triggering me in some ways.

Trust me I understand more than most the severity of this situation with this virus. I am in the category of people who this virus is most dangerous for- those with compromised immune systems. I also know that for the past four years my family and I have had to make new habits b/c of my disease- always sanitizing and hand washing. Thankfully b/c of this I have a stockpile of hand soap and sanitizer! I get that this virus is new and there are so many unknowns and very limited resources in regards to it but i wish that Cancer and Metastatic Breast Cancer got awareness and attention like this and it really ticks me off.

While we have been going through probably the toughest time this past month or so with me being so sick, the outpouring of support has been tremendous. Our hearts and our fridge have remained full throughout and i cannot thank everyone enough. It means the world to me and my family and it makes me feel so amazing to feel so much love. It definitely helps me on the days that i feel my lowest and gives me the push i need to keep moving forward.

Tough day yesterday.
Just a little hair loss.

7 thoughts on “Chemo and the Corona Virus

  1. Lauren says:

    I’m so sorry it’s so hard. You do need a win- I hope it’s this time. Sending so much love to you always ❤️

  2. Monique Duquette says:

    April, you still inspire and amaze me each day. I feel honored you are sharing your truth and vulnerability with us all. We support you on this journey and we love you. You are still beautiful and always will be!

  3. Janelle Cantelmo says:

    Please know I think about you often and I look at Colin and Quinn and think how blessed they are to have a strong and powerful mother I’m sending prayers and love to you all ❤️

  4. Christopher Ferry says:

    I stumbled onto your story doing some preliminary research on Chemo and Covid for my podcast so I can do a short segment on it. You’re so correct that those of us with cancer wish it got this much publicity. I have glioblastoma. We’re all in this fight together.

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