Week 21 chemo complete: Carrying some extra weight

Week 21 complete: Carrying some extra weight

I am constantly checking my weight. One of the side effects of the dexamethasone (oral steroid) I weekly take with my daily chemo, is that it adds weight to my body and face. Since beginning treatment in February, my weight has increased over 20 pounds. Some days this makes it quite challenging to get around as I feel fatigued and overly tired.

Since Cycle 5 began in June, my dexamethasone dose has been reduced in half, which has slowed the rate of my weight gain. However, as my chemo treatment continues to be effective, the extra weight is a small side effect to deal with. On Sunday I completed Cycle 6 Week 1.

Last week I had a complete blood count, a blood test that measured my overall health while on chemo treatment. The results looked good (see normal range in brackets). The hemoglobin (red blood cells) is below normal because I have anemia.

Hematology Profile
Date WBC Hemoglobin Platelet Count Neutrophils
Reference Range 4.0 – 11.0 135 – 170 150 – 400 2.0 – 8.0
June 4.8 123 386 3.8
June 6.5 122 439 4.7
May 10 118 320 5.2
Apr 7.6 113 357 3.9
Mar 7.0 133 247 5.6
Mar 6.8 127 467 5.2
Feb 5.5 133 191 4.6
Jan 4.4 129 206 2.3

To recap: I have multiple myeloma and anemia, a rare blood cancer. It is incurable, but treatable. From February to November 2013, I received Velcade chemo through weekly in-hospital injections as an outpatient. From February 9th 2015, I am on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On June 29th I began Cycle 6 for 4 weeks.

Weekly chemo-inspired self-portraits can be viewed in my flickr album.

Khorana Park - UBC Wesbrook Village

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