Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chemo log 16 - eve of my last treatment

I knew this day would come. I did not realize it would happen so fast. Tomorrow is my last carboplatin/taxol treatment. In 24 hours my chemo journey will come to an end.

For all that have been keeping up chronologically, the boys and I have recovered from our colds and such that began to plague our household around my last treatment. We all have a little lingering cough but that is nothing compared to how sick we all were. At any rate we are all pretty healthy and tomorrow I go for my final chemo treatment.

Many thanks to all of my supporters, the last month or so has been pretty tough. I appreciate all the cards, meals, movies, house cleaning and everything else. Without the help of so many these last few months would have been unbearable.

Part of me feels like in addition to helping with preparations for our family Thanksgiving (my mom is doing most of it) I should also be preparing for my last treatment. I am not sure how exactly, I am kind of in a state of disbelief. I am overjoyed that my body was able to handle the chemo as well as it has. But I am exhausted, chemo has been a long hard road, physically, emotionally even spiritually. The medicine is designed to kill all fast growing cells. I believe it kills them and so many more. Chemo strips you down, one hair at a time. Sometimes I feel that all that is left are my eyes and they are a portal into my soul. It too has been along on this trek and it to has been changed. It is hard to explain what it is like, loss does not quite encapsulate what I have been through. Chemo is a gift that gives by breaking down my body. It is kind of a paradox, this loss I am experiencing is truly a gain for the rest of my life. I guess that knowledge doesn't make the journey any more fun. Thankfully I am able to remind myself along the way that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

I guess this leaves my preparations for my last chemotherapy much like all the others. I pack up my chemo bag, books, knitting, cribbage board, netbook, and blanket. I head there wrapped up in all the love and support that I have had along the way. I realize how lucky I am to be alive, to be receiving treatment, grateful that my body is tolerating them so well.

Oh yeah and I am completely fricking thrilled that this is my last one.

Drink water and breathe.....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chemo log 15, REALLY sick

So much for my whiny post prior to this. Since then, I have been really sick. The sick I mentioned before was pseudo-sick, or sick because I am having chemo therapy and I ought to be sick. Maybe obligatory sick is the term I am looking for, I may have just made that up. At any rate since my last post I have been REALLY sick.

It started the week before Halloween. Wednesday, October 27th my son Corbin was in bed until 1:00 PM. This has not happened in his entire life. He was some kind of sick. Conveniently my family Dr. is closed on Wednesday. I swear since I became a mother my kids are only sick on Wednesdays or Weekends. So I wait to take Corbin to the Dr. on Thursday.

Since I so love going to the Doctor I went for my scheduled lab appointment with Dr. Vu. I would not have been able to go if not for Mary who came to the rescue. She came over and watched Corbin sleep for a few hours while I was at my appointment. Not to many are willing to watch your kids when they are so sick. I told Dr. Vu of the illness I had going at home and he said to wash my hands often and it should not be a problem. I believed Dr. Vu and was on my merry way.

Thursday, October 28th, Corbin is still really sick and I get him into the Dr. that afternoon. After examining him the NP decides he has strep. She offers me 2 options, door number one is antibiotics for 10 days or door number to is a shot. I opt for door number 2, he is so sick and it just gets them better that much faster, not to mention the stinky pink antibiotic for 10 days is no fun. Now the only person in the known universe that hates shots more than myself is my son Corbin. One time he was so terrified by a flu shot, he bit me. So why would I put my 1st born through this? Because I feel he was that sick. Drastic times call for drastic measures, so myself and 2 nurses pin him down to give him the injection in the butt. He is not pleased, but it is over in less then a minute and with the exception of the slight limp he is no worse for the wear. My family is now on the road to wellness.

I feel fine, Corbin is improving, Mason has shown signs of tiredness but we are not going to get sick. That of course only lasts until Saturday morning when Mason decides it is his turn to be sick, he spikes a fever and passes out for a few hours in the middle of the day. Are you kidding me? I still feel okay, and the boys go to their fathers house for the rest of the weekend. I will rest up, I do not want to get sick.

My immune system fights admirably until about Monday afternoon, when a head cold starts to settle in. Tuesday afternoon I had a nose bleed that I swear was a tumor in my sinuses that had ruptured. I am about ready to call the Dr. when the bleeding finally stops (I am talking 5 minutes or so). I think the blood loss weakened my immune system to the point of me officially getting sick that evening. No fever just lots of drainage, coughing and generally feeling crummy. Wednesday it gets worse but I am still not totally laid up. At this point I call the chemo office and they say come in as scheduled the Dr. will decide.

Thursday, November 4th, I felt pretty crappy, dropped the boys off at school and headed for the chemo office. I had mixed feeling about treatment. I did not want to postpone treatment, if I am going to be sick I might as well be double sick right? But, I didn't want to be incapacitated and end up in the hospital. I guess the Dr. knows whats best. I will leave it in his capable hands. Dr. Vu looks in my throat and says it is probably viral. We proceed with treatment and he sends me home with a Z-pack in case I get worse over the weekend.

Treatment is extra sad for me this time. I was sick, so I must have been a little more tender then usual. It seemed crowded lots of VERY thin people, clinging to hope. New people recently diagnosed with cancer, "that feel great". I was very cold during this treatment and it is the one time I forgot to bring my own blanket. I end up sleeping until Jen arrives with lunch. I never sleep while there either. Kind of strange all around, the chemo brain, the cold, the sadness it all kind of left me in a fog.

Dinner was provided by my friend Salli that evening so after picking up the boys I only need to head home and put my feet up. Salli you could not have picked a better day, I was exhausted beyond belief by the time I got home that afternoon. I turned in around 8:00 PM with the boys, and I fell asleep instantly. Only to be awake from about 1:00 to 4:00 AM on my steroid high. My body just keeps responding to all this medicine that is running through my veins and these sleepless nights have been consistent at least. I wake up Friday still believing that I am not going to get REALLY sick and I head to work.

By this point I am kind of in shock that I have completed 9 out of 10 chemo treatments. I can't believe that I am already here. This cancer journey has been so fast I don't even know where the last 7 months have gone. This realization gives me a little buzz that I ride throughout my day.
Hooray the end is in sight!!!!!!!

By Friday night I finally succumb to this illness that I have been dancing with for the better part of a week. I proceed to get sick, my head hurts, my throat hurts, I am coughing, my bones hurt I have it all going on. I spend another entire Saturday on the couch. The number of times I have done this in the last year is just maddening. This particular Saturday is the worst one yet all the tea, juice, water and rest doesn't seem to be enough I am just miserable. I blow through a couple of boxes of Kleenex. I put off taking the antibiotic the Dr. prescribed, I am waiting for my mucus to turn a particular shade of green, I don't think chartreuse is really a green do you? This must be viral, it can't last much longer, how much snot can I produce anyway. I am a cancer patient doesn't that count for something?

Sunday morning I wake up and decide that I need soup. I have been sick enough it was time to get off the couch. So I take myself to the grocery store where I load up on tea, juice, and Kleenex. I proceed to make a giant pot of soup. Half way through this process I realize I don't really feel well enough to be doing this but who stops in the middle of a pot of soup. That evening this illness comes back with such a vengeance, I finally take the antibiotics. I don't care at this point I will take anything that will make me feel one iota better. Funny the bone pain has not been quite as severe as the last couple times, or maybe this rotten cold is just a distraction?

In between coughing fits and blowing my nose....drink water and breathe................