Episode XX: Never Despair. Never Surrender.
2 treatments down and 2 to go… well for AC chemotherapy.
So, during the last treatment the doctor gave me more anti-nausea medicines which helped some, even though they had some not fun side effects of their own. In the end it was about the lesser of two evils. Being ill or having severe constipation. Not sure which was worse as neither was fun to deal with. While I had my normal hug-a-bucket moment, I did not have anything come up. Yeah! Then the proceeding shot caused the bone pain, but it was manageable… after a day or two ;)
Of course they are pumping me full of steroids and other medicine so my “cancer diet” isn’t working out. Even though I get so sick, I don’t want to even discuss or think about food… I can’t manage but basic carbs (toast, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese) which only works against me. Darn Carbs (while raising hands in frustration)!!! And my taste buds were all whacked out so things I normally love were unbearable to eat or I can’t digest them! The really topper was when the other cancer ladies I met said they gained weight on treatment… for real!
Apparently the treatment side effects can include weight gain... why?
- Chemo - Causes the body to retain (hold on to) excess fluid in cells and tissues. Causes fatigue which makes exercise harder, while increasing hunger. Causes to slow metabolism. Causes menopause which also decreases metabolism.
- Steroids - Increases in fatty issue, resulting in a large abdomen and fullness in the neck or face.
- Hormone therapy - Decreases the amount of estrogen or progesterone in women and testosterone in men. Which can increase body mass from fat, decrease body mass from muscle, and decrease metabolism.
That week did turn out to be more challenging than expected. I don’t believe it was because of the chemotherapy treatments, but because I caught a cold. That took me DOWN. I didn’t even realize how bad it was, until I felt better… and I was sick. By Friday after treatment, I was calling the doctor. My neck was so sore I couldn’t move it due to a swollen lymph node. My throat hurt to swallow, but not like a normal sore throat just more closed off (I thought it was chemo related, but may have been wrong). I was getting a fever. I got to 99.9 and 100.4 is hospital… so I got some antibiotics which were enormous! Crazy big, they even had the ability to break into two.
It wasn’t until a week had passed that I felt somewhat better. I still got tired easily, but I could finally move my neck and swallow. I couldn’t even lie down on a pillow on my left side… it was crazy. My neck was insanely sensitive. Of course combined with all the general side effects (and me just being me) I was probably more of a mess than normal and required more sleep than one person should be allowed, even though sleeping wasn’t as easy as you would think on these medicines.
On a not hear-me-whine-I-am-sick note, my hair was falling out last week and a nuisance. The shower was covered. My pillowcase was covered. In general, it was pretty weird how much hair was falling out – even brushing it became something I had to avoid. So now for the fun part!!! Saturday the kids (and husband) got to cut and shave my head. It was so much fun!
Cosmetology 101... have fun!
We turned on some music and I let them go to town on my head. They first created a punk short hairdo (funny), then a high-and-tight (not cool), then a Mohawk (awesome), until finally I was bald. It was so much fun I think it made it a great experience for the kids and me. I now can take very quick showers – no shaving or hair washing needed. And bonus – no need to spend money on cuts, color, & products! However, the Brain Joseph's Lash & Brow Conditioning Gel has kept my eyebrows and eyelashes still on my face - Another Bonus!!!
My take on Where's Waldo?
I am hanging in there and still have my sense of humor, except after 4 pm when my kids have driven me crazy and it is 1 ½ hours before my husband will arrive home. At that time, watch out or at least they should!
“Mothers are all slightly insane.”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
In my head...
Officially, I am down another treatment. I got to experience being sick while have low immunity and minimal white blood cell count. I got no hair. I got to watch people avoid eye-contact with me when I go out in public due to my crazy cancer caps. I got way too many naps! I got to watch the joy of my kids face as they chopped my locks. So, lots of new things for me!
My Crazy Week...
Now I get to go next week for Chemo Round 3 as well as meet with the Genetics Oncologist Specialist to discuss various testing and stuff I might need done. Yeah another doctor and more new things! So Tuesday I will put on my treatment smile which apparently annoys my dad … his thoughts, “Get that smile off your face….make us think it’s a near death experience.” Funny! Guess I will need to fake a pitiful face next time too.
“You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
Episode Reference: "Never despair. Never surrender.” –Rorschach from Watchmen