Thursday, May 31, 2012

23. Chemo Results & Water

So the big news, which is really not that big, is that I had my first follow-up appointment with the nurses at Texas Oncology on Tuesday this week to see how the chemo had affected me. It was just a blood test and a quick look at my vitals, there's no way to know too much, but they just wanted to generally see if there were side effects, if any of my levels were low, etc.

Everything looks pretty good. And while it's too imprecise to get too excited about, the blood marker that measures the tumor shrunk from around 14-something when it was measured at MD Anderson to 8-something after the first round of chemo. So it looks like the chemo is doing it's job, and without any real side effects, save a mild cold sensitivity where I couldn't drink cold drinks for about 5-6 days without feeling a shock-like sensation at the back of my throat.

I did get a call the day after the visit, though, just to say that there was nothing serious, but that my kidney levels could be a concern in future, and that I needed to make sure and drink a lot of fluids. Ideally about two liters of water a day.

Those who know me know that I used to scorn the drinking of water. It doesn't have any flavor! In fact, for a long time I drank about 4-5 Cokes a day.

That is not a typo.

When I decided to get serious about losing weight, I cut back on Cokes, down to 1-2 a day. Switched in some flavored teas (Texas Tea is my favorite), Raspberry Lemonade, that kind of thing. Still not a ton of water. But I did start drinking a little more.

When I went into the hospital for the colonoscopy in April, I had to forgo drinking or eating anything for a pretty decent period, and so I had the long-dreaded caffeine headache. Along with every other symptom that came with the complications of my colonoscopy, it was actually relatively minor. And once I'd gotten it over with, I decided I'd be kinda stupid to go back to the addiction again, so I decided to officially quit sodas.

As a result, I've been drinking more water, and I've gotten to the point where I don't need flavored drinks as often, although I was craving flavor so badly recently that I had a two-day addiction to Sonic's Cherry Limeades (until the cold sensitivity put the kibosh on that) and then made a special trip to Central Market to buy a dozen Texas Tea flavored with Poteet Strawberry or Fredericksburg Peach.

But now I need to be more serious about it, and I have been. I bought a Bobble filter water bobble right before chemo, and I love it. It filters whatever water you put into it, it holds about 18 oz. of water, and I've been carrying it with me pretty much everywhere. Once I got the word from the doctor, I did the math and figured that I need to fill and drain the thing about 4 times a day to get the water I'm supposed to. Which is pretty easy, as long as I keep it with me and just kind of drink from it regularly. It's a strange transition that happened over a long period of time, but I've become the guy who keeps a water bottle with him and drinks that instead of sugary sodas.

If you'd told me I was going to do that a couple years ago, I'd have laughed right in your face.

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