Sunday, September 12, 2010
side effects and more
Kerri, Dori, Kristi
It has been almost a week since my 2nd round of chemo. My scalp is so tender it feels like an open sore, I am nauseated, have extreme vertigo and once again open sores on my tongue, back of my throat, top of my mouth and my lips......I look as though I am deteriorating--my face is lifeless and sad. My belly is hard and swollen, my eyes are tired and my mouth is so dry I feel as though I have to peel my tongue off the roof of my mouth. Movement hurts, my joints and bones ache, bursts of sweat, shakes, and pain--I sleep around the clock--waking for meds, water or to try and get out of bed to use the bathroom. Dreams are vivid and relaxation is little--I am unable to connect time of day and what day it is.....I am in my own little chemo world.
2 down, 4 more to go......... I wasn't as tired this time (trust me I am tired, exhausted, completely wiped, but I am not comatose which is how I felt last time) but I feel sicker this time. My body has adjusted to the side effects of the meds I am taking to ward off the side effects from chemo therapy................I know... but now I am experiencing more side effects with another combination of meds.
I have my follow-up labs on Tuesday to see where my counts are. I am hoping that because I was given the booster when appropriate, this time, my counts will dip, but remain safe. I plan to get them checked later in the week as well--now I am a bit neurotic about the whole thing considering the fuck up from last time.
I like to think that my adjustments and attitude toward my diagnosis come from my dad. My dad instilled the drive and determination into me that I am channeling to become a survivor. With each tragedy in life there must be a lesson (if not, then I want out STAT). When my dad passed away it brought me, my mom and my sisters unbelievably close together. It is a bond that needs no words, but it's there and it's undeniable. Now we are being forced to face a different tyrant--one that picks on us specifically for being related women.........that undeniable bond extends to something unpleasant. The fear of the unknown, the fear of "what ifs?", the fear that it will come back, that treatments won't work, that it's too aggressive, that something will go wrong.........
My mom came to help take care of me after chemo again. We joke she only gets to visit me when I am sick, and she takes off once I start to feel better. I am pretty bitchy when I am sick, so she really gets the grunt of it all. But I couldn't do it without her. My mom has a silent strength that grants her the ability to make others feel comfortable with just her presence--which is what she does for me. I am able to sleep and lay in bed, knowing that she is there. It is just like when you were a kid and you get the flu--your mom can't fix it, but she sure makes you feel better. She takes care of me when I can't take care of myself.
Today my mom went home and my sisters came to take over. No one wants to leave me alone after chemo because I am on some pretty good drugs, tired as hell, and don't lift my feet up when I walk very well (a hot mess of disaster really). So they took over making me food, bringing me water, and being sure I don't get stuck between the toilet and the wall. My sisters are the "best emergency alert" buttons. We have grieved and grown together, leaving a forever etched surface on our hearts.
But I am also bonded with a disease that is ravaging my body. My own cells turned against me, mutated, became aggressive, killing me from the inside. I only recognize the fire in by belly, the urge to fight, and the determination to be a survivor. When I feel this shitty I hold on to the hope that I will be given some "good" days.