1. Remember to stay organized (use those planners, right?).
2. Be sure to break down large tasks into smaller ones and make steady progress each day.
That's it, that's all of the advice for today. If you're reading along, I'm so pleased that you're here.
Shameless plug for Marine Biology for next year: Students who have completed biology and would like to explore more about the ocean and it's abundance, please consider taking Marine Biology with me next year. Lots of labs, of course!
It's been fun seeing a couple of you while I'm out on my brief little excursions. I saw one student while I was doing my daily walk on Sunday and another at Winco (please ignore the cookies in my shopping cart). It always makes my day!
How I'm feeling: I feel so close to normal, it's hard to be home. I am staying busy with chores that I want to get done while I can, and of course, I'm crafting daily. I do have two common side effects now.
The first is called peripheral neuropathy, a numbing of the fingertips and toes. In extreme cases, whole limbs can become numb, but in my case it's most notable in my fingertips, so you can imagine that it's a little more challenging to type and craft. This usually worsens as treatment progresses, but also diminishes after treatment. I had some of this when I did my first chemo a couple of years ago, and it did go completely away. For that reason, I'm not too concerned about it for now.
The second is arm pain in my treatment (IV) arm. This is also pretty common, as the chemo drugs are pretty rough on the tissues of the veins where they are injected. It is feeling better than it did last week, so I'm grateful for that. If this becomes too big an issue for me, we may need to take steps to work around it. For now, we wait.
Where I am in treatment: As of today, I'm 16 days out from my first treatment and my immune system is at its weakest point. It will turn around this week and begin to recover in time for the next infusion, on April 6. The chemotherapy regime I'm on is called CHOP-R. Those letters all stand for one of the chemo drugs in the treatment. Here is a LINK to a page for more information about the CHOP-R regimen, for those of you who are geeky, biology types (yes, I know who you are!), and want to know more. It's not too technical, I promise.
A little biology and an fun correlation to what we studied earlier this year: Each of the drugs in the CHOP-R treatment works in a different and complimentary way. The drug, Vincristine is also known by it's trade name, Oncovin, and is the O in CHOP. Here's a little excerpt from Chemocare.com:
" Vincristine belongs to a class of chemotherapy drugs called plant alkaloids. Plant alkaloids are made from plants. The vinca alkaloids are made from the periwinkle plant, Catharanthus rosea. ... the vinca alkaloids are also known as antimicrotubule agents...(which) inhibit the formation of microtubule structures within the cell. Microtubules are part of a cell's apparatus for dividing and replicating itself. "
Since cancer is a disease of cell division out of control, how can you stop cell division? So, do you remember back to when we were working on cell division (mitosis), and doing our hand signs for each stage (PMAT)? Metaphase is when all the chromosomes meet in the middle (hands together), and Anaphase is when the microtubules pull one set of the chromosomes back to opposite sides of the cell before it divides (your hands were acting like the microtubules pulling the chromosomes to each side). What if the microtubules were destroyed? The chromosomes would sit in the middle, just waiting. And stuck at this spot, the cell then dies. Of course it's a bit more complicated, but that's essentially how the Vincristine works. Amazing that now you can think of these things and get it. Pretty.cool.
That's it for today. It's 9:46 am and Earth Science is underway. I miss you all bunches, so drop me a line, take care and work hard for the home stretch!