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Posts Tagged ‘chemo’

Update: Cancery Cancer!

By the way, Dr Joyce was very pleased by how much my tumor appears to have shrunk after just one chemo treatment. She also got a second opinion from a visiting doctor who, based on my MRIs, thought I could have had a lumpectomy before chemo and still wound up with a decent cosmetic result, so that’s encouraging. I got blood drawn yesterday to see if I have the BRC1 or BRC2 genes, in which case I might start slicing off body parts left and right, but the chances of that are less than 5% (they tell me) so I’m feeling pretty optimistic!

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So. Tired.

Everyone said that for the first few days after chemo I’d feel fine. This is not the case. I am as wiped out as I have ever been in my life – I can barely stay awake for half an hour at a time. I’m not nauseous, thank goodness, but I’m so tired and my mouth feels like cotton wool. There isn’t enough water or sleep in the world to quench my needs right now.

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Grrr! Aarg!

Oh my goodness, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I woke up, nauseous, around 7 and staggered out of bed to take my meds. Asleep again on the couch by 9:30, and it’s all I can do to keep my eyes open. I haven’t eaten a bite, and my mouth feels like cotton batting. I’m distressed, because everyone said I’d be fine for the first few days after treatment. This tiredness might be non-cancer related – I always feel a little fatigued this time of the month – but whatever it is I don’t like it.

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So the stories are true – chemo itself is not actually a huge deal. You sit in a reclining chair with a needle in your port (which only stings for a second) and you can’t feel much. They gave me intravenous anti-nausea drugs, which made me sleepy – I slept through most of my 90 minute herceptin dose. Josh has a picture of me hooked up to the machine, which I’ll post later so you can see how truly un-scary, though indeed scifi, it is.

There are snacks and drinks, and little TVs which I didn’t watch because they required headphones and I felt it would be unsociable to have headphones on while Josh was sitting with me. (I have, by the way, the kind of inspired boyfriend who, when he came to pick me up for chemo, had cued up “Birdhouse in Your Soul” so we could harmonize on the way there.) I read comic books – mostly Fables, my current obsession – don’t know why it took me so long to get into that series – and Josh read me a little Two Towers, which knocked me right out. The nurses were very nice, as you would probably expect.

The most frustrating thing about chemo is that no one can tell you in advance what it will be like. Not the infusion – that’s nothing. But everyone I’ve talked to just reiterates that there is no way of knowing how I’ll feel tomorrow or the day after or the day after. No way of knowing how sore or tired I’ll be, when or if I’ll get sores in my mouth, exactly when my hair will fall out. I just have to wait and see, and that doesn’t suit me at all. Today my nurse told me if I get tired or achy it will probably be in about three days – that’s the day of my party! I’d been under the impression I’d be okay until at least the weekend! What if I can’t get out of bed on Friday to bake the cupcakes? What if I feel so lousy my fabulous party is no fun?

Okay, maybe what’s really worrying me is the Party of Awesome – I have been obsessing about it since the day I got my diagnosis, after all. (I wish to be the Martha Stewart of Cancer – is that so wrong?) But in truth, what I most hate is the uncertainty. I know my crazy brain, after all. Tomorrow I’ll probably wake up and find I have hysterical blindness or dogs licking my running sores, just because no doctors will have been able to assure me that doesn’t happen.

And last, a confession: I may seem to be coping (or I may not, who knows?) but I suspect that I am still drifting down the Nile. Yesterday I found myself worrying about what chemo will do to me when it turns out I do not have cancer. Because hello, universe, I am 23! No family history! I do not have cancer! What part of this DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND???

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In … 15 minutes! Where’s my ride?

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