I finished my first cycle of chemotherapy last week, and I feel great! Yes, this is what the title is all about. I feel great, and so many people just don’t after chemo. This is not to say that I will feel this way the next time, or even the time after that, but let me take you through this short journey, please?
First, I’d like to say, that no matter what you may think of me or my diagnosis, I have only been scared once or twice during this time. It has never been a fear of dying, or pain…just the unknown. Normal, right? Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret….I hate surprises! No joke. Ask my husband. I badger him for weeks before my birthday and Christmas, because I want to KNOW what I will be getting. People pleaser that I am, I want to be able to school my features, just in case.
I went in on Tuesday for the first round in my first cycle of chemo. I felt pretty prepared. I had my laptop, my iPod, a puzzle book, and my phone. Ya know, just in case I got bored. My chemotherapy regimen is Cisplatin and Etoposide(vp16). These are the chemo drugs that are used for the hard hitting cancers, ie. lung, testicular, stomach, ovarian….you get the picture. All cancer’s are hard hitting, but just like a snowflake, no two are created the same. Some are more aggressive, some move faster than others. Nobody knows how they are going to react, and nobody knows what will alleviate the reaction. I have said it time and time, again, this cancer is a crap shoot, and I’ve never gotten the hang of that game of chance. So, I get to the doctor’s office…on time…believe me, that is a big deal. I go in for the exam(that nobody told me would occur), and everything checks out. Next stop, blood draw. I’m going to stop right here. If anyone is going through chemo, or may need to go through something with infusions/blood draws, I highly recommend getting a port! Any doctor who doesn’t try to get their patient one is a sadistic…well, you know. O.K. – blood draw. My blood cells come back at a normal count, so we are good to go. First, because of the toxicity of the chemo, I need fluids to prevent kidney failure. This takes about an hour. As they are giving me the regular fluids, it is infused with a very potent cocktail of Patron, vodka, gin, and a splash of lime, but more than likely, it is Ativan and promethazine. These are to relax me, and keep me from becoming nauseated. As this is the complete opposite effect that Patron has on me, I’ll stick with this mixture. I have roughly 5 milliseconds before this kicks in, so I decide to try my hand at some brain teasers. Next. Let me try the laptop. Nope. Solitaire? Huh! All of these things I have brought with me, hold no interest. Guess I’ll take a nap. 2 hours later, and I am awakened by the beep of the infusion machine. Time for a potty break. Hook me back up, Jim! I’m ready to get this over with. What’s that you say? I have 4 more hours?!? Oh joy! Long story, still kinda long, I finish my first day with minimal fuss.
2nd day is much the same, with the exception of time. My 2nd and 3rd day are comprised only of the Etoposide. This only takes an hour and a half, at most. The funny thing is, they dose me with the same amount of relaxant. Needless to say, I am useless when I get home. I have a 7 and a 4 year old, they need me, and I am asleep all day! I go back for my 3rd infusion, and I have a bargain that I would like them to meet. If they half the dose, I promise I won’t get sick! Lucky day, they decide that since I am doing so well, we can forgo it altogether! Thursday was a good day. I finished in record time(at least in my mind), and went home to take a small nap to prepare myself for Friday. Bum bum buuuum.
Friday was a fun day. I got to go to the doctor, again! He and I had discussed what sort of actions could be taken to help boost my white blood cells during the short intermission between cycles. His suggestion – a shot of Neulasta. Can I get that straight up, please? Needless to say, it worked wonders on my energy levels. Friday evening, my uncle and aunt came into town, just in case I needed help this week. I was very happy to inform them that I would not need their services, though I appreciate the offer very much(there goes that independence, again!) In my chemo induced brain fog, I forgot that they were coming in, and also invited some friends to stay with us from out of town. Luckily, we have plenty of room, and very understanding guests. I felt well enough to clean the bathrooms and wash some clothes!! This is a really big deal, as I have not felt like cleaning in about 6 months. I do it, don’t get me wrong, but I actually FELT like doing it.
The only other side effect that I assume is from chemo, is heartburn. I had it horribly on the second day, but the third day, I took Prilosec, and it seemed to get rid of it. The nurse informed me that with women, whatever you suffered from during pregnancy will probably be what you suffer from during chemo. Thankfully, I did not have morning sickness with either child, but I had raging heartburn!! I think I can live with that.
I won’t bore you with the details of my awesome weekend. I did that enough with the details of my chemo. Suffice it to say, I feel major guilt for feeling so great. I’ll get over it, don’t you worry, but at this point in time, I just wish that I could will my well being onto others that are not so lucky. My body is an enigma. My doctor accused me of having super hero blood, due to the healing process of my incisions. There is a higher power helping me, I can assure you. I have never stopped praying, as I am sure most of you are doing, as well. My wellness is nothing short of a miracle. I am not healed, but am healing. I can literally feel it. Keep the prayers coming, because I am definitely keeping my faith.
(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV) Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.