Friday, July 10, 2015

An open letter

Chemo,

Oh, how I hate thee.

Let me count the ways.

I hate this port. I hate it with my whole heart. I hate that I had to keep a bra on 24/7 for over five months, so the weight of the port wouldn't cause pain as it pulled against "the muscle" in my left breast. (Seriously. The pain of that damn port pulling inside my breast was enough to wake me up in the night, so I slept in an underwire bra. For months. Grrrrr.) 

I hate that I have to keep this specific picture on me at all times, so I have a handy sample of the exact (and only) hypoallergenic dressing my skin can handle. I need the fabric tape, because I have adhesive allergies that result in raised, red, angry, swollen skin if a nurse or tech tried to tape me up like they would any other patient.

Oh, to be able to go back in time before I knew what chemo would mean to me...


I can remember when it didn't make me physically sick to drive past the hospital where I had my treatments administered. I remember when any IV pole I'd ever had to walk hospital floors with was filled with pain meds and fluids to keep me hydrated. Now I know what it's like to pull poison behind me, and I hate it.


Oh my gosh... this picture.

I took this lovely selfie on Day 1 of Round III.

I look like I've been hit by a bus... and this was Day 1. I had nowhere to go but down.



Oh, yes. And how about how chemo took "dry skin" to a whole new low?

I would lather my feet with ridiculously expensive lotion every night, and then pull on socks, in the hopes that there would be enough moisture in there to keep my feet in one piece overnight.

This pic was taken in May, weeks after my last chemo treatment, when my feet were very much on the mend. On the one hand, it's too bad that I didn't get a shot of my feet when they were at their worst. That said, my heel is still pretty horrific here.


How about that pink, rosy glow?

It's been three months since my last round, and I still overheat and get a weird blush from time to time, but gone is the constant tomato-face. Thank the heavens and hallelujah.


And even now, there is this.


I have these new squiggly horizontal lines on my nails.

And to add insult to injury, as my nails have grown, I've found that those hideous little squiggles have resulted in warped nails.


My nails used to be thick, strong, almost indestructible. Now they are thin, flimsy, and warped. And short. Very, very short, because I had a nail catch on something in my purse and tear down into the quick, which was the impetus for cutting them all down as far as I could, so as to avoid further rippage.

I have lost a large portion of my independence. I have lost my energy. I have lost my hair and my eyelashes and now I have lost my fingernails.

And yet... 

You are my only treatment option.

As much as I hate you, I need you. And I am trusting that at some point, I'll meet some version of you that will change what is happening inside of me.

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