I am now 10 days in to the NCI Sutent trial, and I feel…. mostly fine. The list of potential side effects is medium-sized and weird (of course), and I hesitate to tempt the universe, but by and large, I have eluded the worst of it. So far.
I have 4 days to go in this 14-day drug cycle. I am feeling pretty optimistic. I am also feeling quite hypochondriacal (?). Every little change is an impending side effect. I woke up congested and have been short of breath… but those aren’t on the list. MAYBE it’s because it’s been in the 50s for two weeks here (!), and the plants and their pollen are starting to show up. I found two strands of hair in my comb… but that’s not a common side effect of the Sutent either. SOMETHING hurt (hip, knee, back, shoulders)…. but as Patrick pointed out, our level of activity means something always hurts. Better hyper-vigilant than clueless, I suppose.
It’s not chemo or radiation, but Sutent can have some pretty gnarly side effects. Gastritis, diarrhea, blisters and sores on the hands, feet, and IN THE MOUTH, fatigue…. but not loss of speed in the pool (!!!!). The biggest change I have seen in the last week is rising blood pressure. I’ve always had low blood pressure, but it is now steadily rising, day by day. I don’t even know what that is supposed to feel like. I haven’t changed my currently lame training schedule or cut back on my ski days, but I wonder if high blood pressure will affect how I feel as I increase intensity of physical movement. If my blood pressure continues to go up at the rate it has been, I’ll have to start taking hypertension medication. Again, here we are at medicine to treat side effects of the medicine that’s treating the cancer. It’s a rolling snowball of pharmaceuticals.
My rate of adventure hasn’t been affected much yet. 10 of us hopped on a snowcat with PC Powdercats this week and skied the snowy backcountry. Don’t let anyone tell you there’s no powder in Utah right now. It’s there, you just have to find it! It was a glorious day, lots of fun, laughs, and of course, stellar skiing. And costumes. We made it truly a snowCAT adventure, complete with whiskers. There might have been ears and a tail, too.
And we’re planning for the impending spring (some would say it’s already here. Ugh.) with, hopefully, a trip to Australia. I figure there’s no better time to start tackling The List than last year. We think we can pull off at least a couple of weeks in Oz, so we’re going for it. For now, my adventures can only be on a 3-week cycle, since I have to go back to Bethesda and the NCI. But that doesn’t mean they will be any less awesome nor any less plentiful. I just have to cram more fun into fewer days, which is not a problem. Still saying, “yes.”