This round of chemo has been rough. More on that in a bit.

First, the trip to Whitehorse on Monday went well. The flight had a stop in Mayo, Yukon. I’ve only been there once, and never by air, so I was eager for the new adventure.

Departing Dawson City airport

I love seeing the Yukon by air. It’s beautiful!

The Klondike River, just south of Dawson City.
Start of the Dempster Highway, heading north to Inuvik and the Arctic Ocean.
Landing in Mayo, Yukon
Cute little airport!
They just back that pickup truck to the airplane to load the luggage.
And in minutes we’re fully loaded and off to Whitehorse!
Air North always has a free snack or meal – mmmm!
Landing in Whitehorse
View from my Whitehorse hotel room
I ordered another Domino’s pizza – lasted 3 days! Mmmm

On Tuesday morning, I had my checkup with my doctor who is overseeing my chemo. The chemo nurse took blood from my PICC line this time which saved me a poke from the hospital lab!

My blood results show I’m even much more anemic than I was three weeks ago. My hemoglobin and albumin are too low and are dropping, so the doctor has asked I try iron pills, two a day if I can tolerate them. If my levels continue to drop, I’ll need a blood transfusion. And this is despite all the beef steak and moose Jeff’s fed me in the last month!

So this is why I’ve been so weak lately. My heart races when I do the littlest bit of activity. I’ve been doing less and less, feeling like I’d like to do less and less, and now I know why. I was thinking I was just getting super lazy, but doing anything productive, or actually even leaving the house, is getting more difficult.

On Wednesday, I took the city bus back to the hospital for chemo. I was extra chatty – I blame the drugs they give me before the chemo. I chatted up the volunteer in the chemo room for hours!

I usually try to take a selfie during the treatment, and they always seem to show just how high I was, but didn’t realize at the time. This one makes me laugh:

I am usually in the chemo room the longest, since my drugs are given over several hours, so they order a hospital lunch tray for me. Somehow, I’ve gotten the same one every single time! I think they must work on a three week cycle. Highlights are the amazing homemade minestrone soup and butterscotch pudding. I hate mustard though and it just is so devastating that they put it on BOTH pieces of bread, around the pastrami! I shouldn’t complain about a free lunch though.

Chemo was pretty uneventful. I took a short walk to the store that evening for a snack, but just a block long walk is starting to feel like a marathon to me now.

Snowy evening in Whitehorse

On Thursday morning I flew back home to be taken care of by Jeff and Hank. Usually I have a couple good days while on the steroid before the side effects kick in, but since I’m weak it didn’t much matter.

The iron pills are hideous. I’m supposed to take them on a nearly empty stomach, so I’ve been taking them in the middle of the night with a big glass of water and some apple sauce, and then try to get back to sleep before they make my stomach churn. I won’t even begin to get into the constipating side effects, because I’m so over this constant balance of senna and Imodium. I CAN NOT WAIT to not be able to recall the last time I pooped, like back when life was normal.

So my head still has some stubble. My scalp is very rashy, pimply, greasy, and itchy. I remember having this for a couple weeks when my hair fell out last time. The stubble seems to be taking longer to fall out. Maybe it is tougher. More likely it is because I found out both of my chemo drugs have been reduced now, not just the one.

My leg bones are achy and sore. My eyes are fuzzy. I can’t tell if it is snowing or not outside, but if I squint really tight, I can read the channel guide on the tv screen.

I tried to shower this morning, but had to bail and needed Jeff’s help to peel me off the side of the tub and dry me off. I should have warned this was not a glamorous update.

One more time. I have to do this just one more time. I can do it. I can do it.

Meanwhile the Yukon Quest is underway! Jeff has the week off and is busy helping set up. The team’s handlers are already arriving in town and the first mushers may be here as soon as tomorrow!

Frosty Jeff
Hank keeping me company

So there’s my update. I’m hanging in there. More whiny than I have been in the past though. I guess I’m pretty eager to see the other side of this treatment and get back to living life to its fullest.

Lisa

Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada's Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

6 Replies to “Chemo round #5, day 6

  1. Hang in there, Lisa. You’ve got this. Even though you say you are “whiny” you are so positive. I love the chemo selfies and how open you are to sharing everything about this process. <3

  2. Hi Lisa, I’m a fan of your blog since 2012 when I left The Netherlands to Canada! Just a friendly suggestion about your diet: if you cut the gluten and the processed foods, you feel much better 🙂
    I have multiple sclerosis since 10 years ago and never tried any kind of medication since then and tried to correct my diet instead! I’d like to help you if you want and I wish you be healthy and full of energy again☺️

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