I've had a lot of people ask how this chemo compares to the regimen that I ran through in the spring, and there's no easy answer to that. In some ways, it's very similar. In others, it's a whole different ball game.
It's the same in that I am, again, too tired for words. Fatigue doesn't even begin to explain it. Again, I am not in control of my emotions. Feelings ride over me like waves; some times they just wash over me, and other times, they catch me by surprise and I cry so hard that I can't breathe, but I can't explain why I'm crying, because I'm so overwhelmed by the emotion that I can't define it. I'd forgotten how, when I'm neutropenic, I'm so tired that it's hard to breathe. I get so tired that it winds me to open my gummy vitamins in the morning. By the time I've opened all the bottles and pulled out all my
It's different, in that this time I've lost feeling in my feet (and, sometimes, a little bit in my hands). This time I have shooting pain in my feet and legs, and a headache that I can't even describe.(Throbbing. Stabbing. Excruciating. ... None of the words are good (bad) enough.) The mouth sores are different. I don't have the open sores on my gums, under my tongue, and down my throat. This time, it's more like I've burned my mouth on hot soup. Things don't taste right, but it's because my tongue feels like it's been scalded. My stomach's been all over the map with this stuff. The first dose had the (expected) outcome of constipation. The second dose caused all kinds of mayhem when it reversed my usually solid stomach to constant diarrhea. (So that's what other cancer patients feel like! It's... pardon the pun... crap.) My hair, slowly but surely, is falling out. It started thinning last Tuesday and in the last week, I think I've lost two heads of other people's hair.
That said, I do still have hair, but I don't know how much longer it'll last. ... I got out of the shower today and could see my scalp through my wet hair. So, as much as I wanted to keep my hair for Christmas, I'm pretty sure it'll be gone by the 20th. Last time, it took three days to lose my hair, and it was falling out in chunks. This time, less last Thursday, when I had a solid curl fall out and into my hand in the shower, it's a gradual affair.
It's the same, but it's different. It's a milder chemo than the last brew, but it's still wicked. I'm here to tell you, there is no "easy" chemo. But, on the off chance that it'll save my life, you know that I'll keep going.
Days are long, but weeks fly by. I can't believe that it's the middle of December already. It hurts my heart a little that it's Christmastime and I have little to no energy to enjoy it like I usually do. But, at the same time, nothing makes me as happy as having a lit Christmas tree in my living room. So, I'm choosing to be grateful that the tree is up and that the secret to keeping me happy is about as simple as pushing a green plug into the wall.
I haven't been writing as often as I'd intended to. I'm hoping that I'll feel better in this round than I did in the last (the first part of this plan is to NOT lift anything that weighs more than two lbs before I walk out the door in the morning).
Chemo itself, the infusion, isn't so bad. That part is way easier, faster, better than chemo was inpatient. It's the fatigue and nausea that hit in the 12 hours after I get home that's the worst. So consider yourself put on notice that this is probably the last time you'll hear from me for the next 36-48.