Upon being told I have cancer, I thought the chemo would definitely be the hardest part of the process. Just from what I’d seen on movies and TV, I had scenes from My Sister’s Keeper and every other sad cancer movie running around in my head. From my experience, I think undergoing the chemo treatments has been one of the easier aspects of the process. I didn’t lose my appetite or get sick. I did get annoying numbness in my fingertips. I did lose my hair. But I’ve felt better since I’ve been getting chemo than I did in the weeks leading up to finding out what was wrong with me. The side effects of the steroids have been more physically draining on me than anything, with the insomnia and now the recent weaning…
I went to sleep early last night, around 11:30 and woke up 2 AM hurting from my body needing the massive amounts of steroids it’s used to. It’s hard to describe how much a body can ache, not even sure ache is the right word. I feel like I should be on the show Intervention because by 3AM I was thinking… oh man I have a 50mg pill of steroids right now and that would make this pain in my knees go away… Basically I had been on 110mg a day and in a matter of 8 days I’m going down to 5mg a day. I read somewhere online that you generally decrease the dosage by half every two weeks, but obviously it’s important to try to do it right now? I took two baths, used a heating pad, tried to contort into all sorts of weird positions to make the hurting go away but it didn’t work. I took my measly 20mg at 3:30 (I usually take my morning pills at 7, but I knew I wouldn’t start feeling better until after I got some in my system) and more pain pills which didn’t help the situation at all. I think I may have fallen asleep on the couch for a half hour, but I’ve basically been up since then.
I had a doctors appointment at 8:30 AM for labs then my last chemo treatment in our first round of treatments. My father-in-law Jim picked me up and promptly dropped me off where they did my blood tests and found out my labs for the day:
I don’t know what the hold up or confusion was, but I sat in the office until noon before they sent me down to the outpatient center to get chemo. They said they were were waiting for the results of one of my labs, but I overheard a phone conversation about the outpatient center being overbooked. The process of “getting chemo” basically involves me getting some pre-meds (Tylenol and Benedryl), they hook up an IV to the tubes in my chest, that runs for a half an hour, then they check my vitals every 15 minutes for an hour. Somehow, every time I go, I’m there for several hours longer than anticipated. This cancer is very inconvenient for my schedule. Plus it always ends up that after I leave I have to call to confirm my next appointment since they say they’ll let me know and they don’t. In today’s case, they told me they upped my pain pills so Jim & I go to my second home, the Wal-Mart pharmacy, and they don’t have it. So that means I have to call about that, I need to call to have the home health people bring me more solution to flush out the lines that come out of my chest, I had to call to pre-register for my bone marrow test in the morning and I still need to call to see if we’re starting the second round on Saturday… A person less organized than myself would be dead.
So now having finished the first round, the inconvenience of having cancer and the time it takes away from my family far outweighs having to endure any of the physical aspects of beating it.