Since my last post, I made it through another round of chemo. Guys, it totally sucked. Plain and simple. The sneaky thing about chemo is that not only does it make me feel bad, it wreaks absolute havoc on my emotions because I have 50 million drugs coursing through my system and I feel sick and powerless.
Last Wednesday, I went in for my third (of four) chemo infusions. Seventy-five percent done– woo hoo!
That morning, I made the executive decision to put on eye makeup because I was SURE that I wouldn’t cry and the makeup would be safe. WRONG. But as it turned out, I was in the right place for tears.
The waterworks started big time when I met with my chemo nurse, Nurse J, and she asked, “How are you doing?” I told her the whole shebang as she waited to draw my blood: Feeling sick and powerless. Being overwhelmed by the kids. My husband and I trying so hard to keep life normal for them that there is absolutely nothing left for ourselves and each other.
“It could be worse,” I told her. “I was reading this guy’s blog and he said he was going through ‘dose-dense’ chemotherapy.” Nurse J looked at me and said, “That’s exactly what you’re doing. Dose-dense. That’s why you feel so horrible.”
Nurse J is a gift. At some point last week, I emailed one of my fellow friends who is also a (now free from) cancer chick and I said to her, “Sometimes I just want someone to rub my back and tell me it’s going to be OK.” That’s pretty much what Nurse J did. She gave me the empathy and encouragement I needed. She validated how difficult my course of treatment is while letting me know it’s 100 percent possible to do it.
After I met with Nurse J, I met my oncologist. She asked me immediately how I was doing and the waterworks again started cranking. I told her the whole thing. She asked me more pointed questions about my medical symptoms while validating how hard it’s been. Dr. Higgins is also a gift. Besides being an amazing doctor, her genuine concern and empathy are evident in the hugs she gives, the look on her face as I talk about my sadness and turmoil, and seeing her wrack her brain for ways to ease what I’m going through.
She offered to give me a week off from treatment or cut out Neulasta, the shot I take that stimulates white blood cell growth. Neulasta allows chemotherapy infusions to be scheduled every two weeks instead of every three weeks like they used to be. While Neulasta offers a greatly condensed treatment schedule, its causes its own awesome side effects like bone pain and generally crappiness.
Despite Dr. Higgins’ offers, I chose to stay the course. If I can put my head down and barrel through the next three weeks, I’ll be over the worse part of cancer treatment.
From Dr. Higgins’ office I headed down to get my chemotherapy with my awesome sister Leah as my chemo buddy. Not long after we got into the room, a hospital-staffed acupuncturist came in and offered her services. She didn’t have to ask twice. The acupuncture was amazeballs. I found it so calming and comforting, and will be looking into it for the coming weeks.
Later on, Nurse J came in to hook me up to the chemo. She regaled Leah and I with fascinating nursing stories and told us about her newly adopted dog. She was sweet, wonderful, and interesting. As usual.
And when Nurse J left, Leah and I set up the iPad and watched “Trailer Park Boys.” Since starting chemo, I’ve made it through all eight seasons of the “Trailer Park Boys.” Yes, I’m obsessed. It is hilarious.