Chemo Experience 101

Just coming out of my latest chemo experience, I thought I’d share a little about what I went through on the last few days (3-7, by my last account). The last time I mentioned it, I was beyond day 7 and I felt super awesome! I’m a liar. It sucks.

I was nauseous the entire time (days 3-7 were worst). Smells were awful, I could barely enter the kitchen. My kids were fantastic, but ended up watching more TV than they do in a ‘normal’ month. I ate because I had to so I didn’t throw up. Vitamin water is REALLY hard to open without the assistance of 2 smaller children taking turns after my initial, unsuccessful attempt. I was exhausted and needed to nap, no debating.

Maybe this time was different from most because I traveled, I stayed up until midnight on day 3-4 (Taylor Swift concert with 3 kids – lots of bright, flashing lights, light rail experience both ways), I had to get up at o’dark thirty to get to an Avistan infusion on day 6, I was finishing my lady time (TMI, I know). But it all worked together to drive my chemo experience into the deep dark underground of hell.

I know there are people who can do this without skipping a beat. One of my daughter’s teachers is fighting breast cancer and stated, ‘I get my infusions on Tuesday, so I might be tired the rest of the week.’ WHAT?! I have 7 days of hell each month and I complain. I’m a wimp. I’m alive, but a wimp. I’m a stay-at-home mom who’s a wimp. She’s a working TEACHER and she’s got balls. I bow to her strength and perseverance in light of what she’s fighting with amazing courage and ballage. And she’ll likely lose her hair.

So, I’ll complain in my wimpiness and then I’ll move on.

Moving on now.

NYC, Nausea, Needles

Our trip to New York was great – even with the rain and wind the first 2 days. We saw sights, visited with good friends; and we ate good food. Walks through Central Park, trips to the tops of tall buildings, seeing the life-size Lego X-wing Fighter and sleeping in were personal favorites. And then the illness began. I managed to get a stomach bug on the last night – we thought it might have been something I ate. My husband got a head cold. That will teach us to relax and have fun. I should have worn a mask and gloves the whole time. 🙂 We saw a fraction of what there is to see in the city, let alone the surrounding areas. I guess we’ll just have to go back.

My parents survived watching the kids for us – though I suspect they drove home and slept for 2 days straight.

I started my new round of chemo last night and ironically, given the tummy bug and nausea I’ve had for the last 4 days, I’m not nauseous today. But, I’ve read up on new homeopathic remedies for nausea – some of them are very odd – juicing an onion and mixing with ginger (just thinking of that one makes me ill); aniseed tea (that one’s for Kim). I’m also finding an acupuncturist who can treat nausea. I’ve done acupuncture in the past and I can’t believe that I haven’t thought about it as an option before – it would have been helpful during my 6 week non-spa treatment. During that time, I was even listening to and reading books where a main character got extreme sea-sickness that they controlled with acupuncture. So, there’s really no excuse.

My eldest is home sick today with what appears to be the same tummy bug that I got. I’m hoping that it doesn’t spread to friends and other family. Remember to wash your hands and cover your coughs!

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Let Me Off This Ride!

I’m finally feeling reasonably human again after this round of chemo. Maybe it was just that I was feeling so good and the shock of it was greater. Maybe the month off cleared so much of the previously ingested toxins out of my system that it really just hit me harder.

I took my first dose on Tuesday, by Friday night I was constantly nauseous – in spite of my efforts to stay ahead of it with my anti-nausea medicine. I couldn’t eat more than saltines – even my ‘go to’ toast with PB was disgusting. I couldn’t open the fridge without gagging. I already have super smell (NOT a super power it turns out), but this goes way beyond my normal sensitivity. I was exhausted, my mind was foggy. Every time I tried to do something – say shower – I needed to lay down after. I spent Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, and most of Monday in bed aside from brief forays outside or to the kitchen to refill my water bottle.

My husband became a single father and did an amazing job. The kids were anxious and worried – though they didn’t say it outright – and it showed in their behavior. He handled it beautifully – keeping them busy, teaching them lessons of why you shouldn’t beat on your sibling, giving them space to feel whatever they were feeling. All while keeping his cool and taking care of me – mostly just letting me sleep/wallow in my nausea.

It wasn’t fun. I don’t really want to do it again. I will if it means keeping the beast locked behind a door, but I don’t want to.

I wonder what the REAL definition is when the doctor says you ‘tolerate’ Temodar well. Does he mean it creates the ‘normal’ level of hell or does he mean it doesn’t kill you? I’ll have to ask him when we see him again on the 15th in preparation for the next steps.

Until then, I’m going to eat a lot to try to regain the weight I’ve lost (never thought I’d say that), enjoy the beautiful weather, hug my kids a lot, kiss my husband, and relish some glorious between days.