Seven ago today I began a process of deliberately poisoning my body; in the medical profession this is called chemotherapy.
It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. Partly because it wasn’t a one time even, but a whole series of sessions. And it got worse as time went on.
It’s been 3 1/2 weeks since the last chemo session, and it’s been a hard recovery time for me. I’ve been physically exhausted, compounded by not sleeping well or through the night. My spirits have been good, my attitude generally positive, but the lack of physical fitness has been disturbing.
Having to work last week was an unexpected setback.
Mostly, I haven’t even been able to walk as long as 15 minutes. Until a day or two ago, I couldn’t even go 5 minutes without feeling wobbly — like I’d run a marathon. Going up and down stairs too many times would produce the same feeling of exhaustion in my leg muscles, complete with pounding heart.
I am the heaviest weight of my life, all because I can’t move more than briefly without wanting to fall over. It’s been a terrible time, and a terrible feeling.
Now, I’m not one to give in to adversity (a blessing and a curse, of course), so I’ve been trying to get out with J at least for the evening Sasha walk. By slowly pushing it, I could make it as far as 10 minutes.
Today, however, I took Sasha for a 15 min walk all by myself. (It was even raining.) Although I feel tired, I do not feel exhausted. This is a huge step forward. HUGE.
And yes, I realize its a screwed up life when you need to celebrate walking for 15 mins.
Tomorrow (5/5) is my final chemo session. Part of me is incredibly happy it will soon be over. Mostly, however, I’m just very tired and drained. I’m not actually ready for another round — it’s like I didn’t recover from the last time.
Sorry to be a bit down, but it’s not that I’m UNhappy, or sad, or anything. Just tired.
It’s the last one, folks. (Fairly) soon, I’ll be back to normal.
It’s just not that pretty.
But its what I look like now.
(And yes, I do feel like my image is much more like scruffy chick just barely dried than Sinead O’Connor.)
First off: my fever broke Wed night. I took it easy yesterday, but am back to work today (tho’ likely not for the full day). Things are starting to get a bit critical and I’m needed on site.
Most importantly: on time, and unmistakably, I am losing my hair.
My advice for anyone who may read this because they are in a similar situation: if you think you are losing your hair, you aren’t.
My scalp has hurt for a few days, but that so easily could have been the fever. This morning I got up and into the shower and stepped under the water. Hands running through my hair pulled out bunches. Even though I was (sort of ) expecting this it was a very bad moment. A freak-out kind of moment.
I cut my hair short in expectation (dread) of this. I am so glad I did. Losing your hair is — and I recognize that this is entirely a me thing — losing your hair is MESSY. Seriously, it get s everywhere. Long hair would have been unbearable. Not because of the loss, but because I would have hair in my eyes ALL THE TIME or look down to see a clump just lying on my sleeve. Ugh.
Yes, this happened 30 mins ago. Mourning will occur later. For now, I am glad I listened to my intuition and prepared for this . . . I have so much hair it is going to take a bit for it all to go. I feel ‘safe’ going to work . . . but they’ll be surprised on Monday.
The difference in my health from day to day is astonishing.
I haven’t talked a lot about the spiritual side of my journey, mostly because it is intensely personal. Moreover, I’m in the middle of the journey and what I am seeing lacks perspective. But please don’t think that my priestess self is dormant, or that I have left my faith by the wayside.
Day three was a real low, and I thought I was turning a corner (positively) yesterday.
In many ways, I was.
But in the evening I developed severe pain in all of my joints — similar to what you feel with a very bad flu. We called in to the oncologist and apparently this is a typical reaction to the taxotere . . . but a few days later than usual. (Who’s special? Lisa is special!) The oncologist recommended heavy-duty painkillers, so I am now on my old friend Dialudid. For a few days.
Loopy am I.
No work for me. The upside is that I was able to go for a walk (15 min) this morning, which just helps keep the fluids moving) and I’m feeling very good. And if I am bored, I don’t really care. 🙂
It’s more than a little frightening that I feel worse as time goes by; and that this is cumulative.
Because I feel utterly wretched. I have a headache (never good) and am fatigued. The worse part is that I have an awful sore throat — like a prickly lump at the back of my throat, scraping my tongue raw.
I have a call in to my oncologist to see if there is something palliative I can take to ease the soreness. In the meantime, I’m just waiting for time to pass.
Silver lining? No nausea.
I conquered the steroids problem: 1/2 dose taken at least 1/2 hour after both anti-nausea and prilosec are taken and with food. yay.
ye gods, though, I am tired. despite a good night’s sleep.
Drinking lots of water, tea, and some juice.
So, this is what being poisoned feels like? It’s tough. Not painful, just . . . boring I guess. I make lots of typos when I write, my head isn’t ‘in the game’ and apparently I’m clearly low energy. (I usually have a big field of energy around me. I do not, now.)
I’m also cold, a lot. I’m sitting here in a warm house with a fleece hat on, my neck wrapped in a luxurious silk scarf, in a fleece jacket over a turtleneck. I’m still a bit chilly.