Chemo Round 2

Alternative title: Sullen Girl ala Fiona Apple

Chemo two has been easier than chemo one as evidenced by me writing this, physically anyways. I’ve been eating small amounts and drinking which is a huge step above where I was two weeks ago. I think there’s still a good chance that I’m going to go downhill tomorrow and be there for a few days, but spending a shorter amount of time in that hell is a victory. My oncologist also made an appointment for me to come back to the hospital on Friday to get fluids and heavy duty anti-nausea meds to help me get through this without the dramatic weight loss this time. I don’t really feel nauseous too much, I mostly feel tired and sick and just messed up. I think one of the reasons I feel better is that the first anti-nausea drugs was making me sick. I don’t have any exact science to prove this until I make it all the way through the bad period, but I am highly suspicious it was one of the reasons I was getting so sick. Another unique snowflake problem, what will be fine for one person makes another person feel like they are in hell. Now I’m just on the scary steroid (which I’m taking a lot earlier for sleeping purposes) and the anti-anxiety med that is also an anti-nausea drug but ads to me feeling doped up all day long. I’ve decided to finally watch the last season of Gossip Girl, A. is overjoyed.

Emotionally I feel like the sullen girl. All of the cancer stuff before this made me sad, but it was little periods of sadness through an otherwise happy/average mood. Chemo makes sad the norm and the happy/average moments the exception. It weighs on me feeling sick so much and knowing it is going to last three more months. I keep losing things and it’s impossible not to focus on cancer just taking things away from me. Part of the problem is that mentally I don’t feel like chemo is making me better, I feel like it’s something I have to endure to cross my Ts in treatment. I don’t feel like it’s a choice. I’m seeing a therapist to help me deal with all of this and we decided that’s going to be the focus, getting me to think about this as a choice to save my life rather than a forced thing that I have to endure. Trying to find my positivity again because depression for three more months just doesn’t seem like the way to go. Surgery left me feeling better each day and chemo is this sick mind game where you feel sick for days and then start to feel better and then know you have to do it all over again. Three more months is a long time, I am happy though that I just have two more of what is referred to by the medical industry as “the red death”. Seriously people, they are poisoning me.

Speaking of losses, hair is starting to go. It looks all well and good, but if you give it a slight tug it comes out. I’m not looking forward to being bald even with my cool wigs and hats. Just was never a look I was going for. To help take off the grimness of shaving my head I’m going to do it next Friday when two of my aunts are here. Trying to make it more of an event than a funeral. Can you see what I mean about chemo not being uplifting? I’ll probably be patchy by then, but we’ll take off whatever is left and I’ll hopefully feel like I had a say in it.

I did get to talk to some other young cancer survivors and one of them had the same chemo regiment as me and said the back half is way easier. Bone/muscle pain is way better than feeling nauseous for a solid week I guess. Cancer brings the most uplifting things. It was cool to talk to some similarly aged women on the other side. It’s helpful to see that life goes on afterwards. It’s such a major disruption, not just for the months of treatment, but the time it will take to get back on track afterwards really just changes life in a way that’s completely unexpected and no way to prepare for. It’s so helpful to see these young women (we video chat in support groups) and see that they have hair, energy, and good attitudes about getting through it. Most of them are still taking longterm cancer treatment drugs like tamoxifen, and I feel very fortunate that I won’t need to be on any scary drugs for the next 10 years. Just got to stay fit, eat right, and talk to wine about how we’re going to have to be more associates rather than good friends. You better believe I’m celebrating the end of this with a good bottle of champagne though. It’ll be New Years eve after all…

So here’s a weird breast cancer thing for you all. Plus I feel like I haven’t done any boob over sharing lately on the blog, they still take my shirt off at pretty much every appointment I have so there’s plenty of real life boob over sharing going on still. I’m doing physical therapy weekly now which is really helpful and soothing. It’s also totally weird. So the issues that I have are strengthening my abdomen, range of mobility in my left arm (can only life it a little more than half way up), and a lot of stiffness in the breast tissue (see how boob becomes breast when I’m talking doctor?). The way to treat the third issue is to get a massage to encourage blood flow and try and loosen the tissue up, especially since I have less lymph nodes on that side. So about half of my physical therapy is laying on the pallet with a heating cloth on my shoulder, lights dimmed down, and getting a massage on my boob and upper chest. This is one of the bazillion ways that breast cancer is really weird. The funny part is that I got a real massage the other day, but that made me really uncomfortable, probably because she didn’t want me to take my shirt off.


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