Tomorrow, knock on wood, I will be starting round two of my chemo. You know, the round that I’ve been threatening to start since, oh, uh, MAY.
My initial May chemo appointment was called off at the last minute when my doctor saw an unhealed surgery spot on my noob and emphatically said there was no way in heck she’d treat me until I was healed. It had all the drama of a movie scene in which a governor spares the life of a death row inmate at the last minute except in my case it was my oncologist calling off chemo, not the electric chair or whatever.
Shortly thereafter, I got an abscess along my abdominal incision. Yeah, gross. I will spare you details and most certainly not post any pictures. That took FOREVER to heal. Then the sad thing happened and I was rescheduled for last Thursday. And then I got a GI virus, which knocked me out for a couple of days and made chemo impossible.
So here I am on the eve of yet another chemo appointment… I think. It better happen. If it doesn’t, I’ll really be tempted to think the universe has declared I am completely cured of cancer and should never see the inside of a chemo infusion unit.
To be honest, I am pretty scared about this round of chemo. My faithful readers and dear friends already know that the next round is much more difficult than the first round of chemo. I’ll be getting a regimen known as AC which stands for Adriamycin and Cytoxan (generic names are doxorubicin and and cyclophosphamide).
I am worried about how I’ll physically handle the chemo. Everyone has a different experience with chemo so there’s no way to predict whether it will be a breeze, nightmare, or in between.
What I know for sure is that during my chemo infusion tomorrow, I’ll also be getting a very powerful and very expensive anti-nausea drug called Emend. In order for Emend to work, you MUST take steroids. And steroids make me CRAZY. As in, up at 2 a.m. because I can’t sleep, gripped with feelings of hopelessness and anger crazy.
The other thing for sure that I must do is take a self-administered shot within 48 hours of my infusion. It’s called Neulasta and it stimulates the production of white blood cells to keep me healthy and fight off infection. For some people, Neulasta causes intense bone pain. Ow. I hope that’s not me.
So while I am excited to FINALLY be getting this show on the road, I’m also scared. It’s been a rough few weeks with the loss a pregnancy, the worry of chemo, and the end-of-summer (lack of) money blues that’s an annual phenomenon in this household, but has been greatly exacerbated by my inability to work. I’m yearning for emotional and physical normalcy and balance but that’s still months away.
Despite all of this, my family has been great. My kids are awesome. My son LOVES the camp he’s attending thanks to generous help from the Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation (the foundation’s 12th annual road race is Sept. 8– please sign up!). My daughter is now 18-months-old and adorably independent.
And at least I know tomorrow will be great since I’ll be reunited with my beloved Aunt Jane who is my official chemo buddy. I’ll also see my dedicated oncology nurse, Jamie, who makes having cancer fun.