When I started my chemo, I attributed most of my wonky side effects to the prednisone. But in fact, I think the chemo itself had a lot to do with my side effects. With my first chemo (anthracyclines), I had about a week of disorientation, unclear thinking, bad balance and just generally wonky feelings, which I attributed mostly to the prednisone, because most of the side effects dissipated along with the reduction of prednisone. But it could have been the onslaught of fast-growing cell killing – this stuff kills anything that grows fast – blood, hair, muscosal linings and hopefully, cancer cells.

Yesterday, I had my first taxol, with the same dose of prednisone and anti-nausea drugs as before (plus antihistamines). This morning I started on my pred taper at the same dose as my previous chemo. And today I felt a lot less disoriented and a lot more focused. It certainly seems that the anthracyclines (my first chemo) contributed to brain fog, whereas the taxol may not. Now, going forward, the cumulative dose of taxol may create similar side effects, but we’ll have to see. For now, though, it seems a lot more tolerable. Time will tell, however. I was very nervous before my taxol, afraid of an allergic reaction, but I was fine, and glad I had antihistamines just in case. So I’m hoping that will reduce my anticipatory anxiety going forward.

I think the anthracyclines contribute to what people call “chemo brain.” I don’t think I’ve had clear thoughts for the last three months or so. My head feels much clearer now. I might even do more serious writing – that would be nice – for months I’ve had the concentration of a flea. My estimate right now is that I’ll be done with chemo in mid-July (I’m going to have a break or two during this chemo), and then maybe done with rads in early September. Long journey, isn’t it? And so unexpected. But then perhaps that will be all I need.