Thursday, July 5, 2012

Adventures in Chemotherapy

First week with the 'real' chemotherapy. And it is a very different ball game. This winter I was on a super low dosage of 5-FU, only enough to help sensitize my body to the radiation which was doing all the hard work. I knew the next chemo treatment was going to be the serious stuff with all the accompanying good times. My bum was getting a little complacent, good thing this showed up with a swift kick to remind me who's boss.

First thing they do is give you a good dose of Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication which they found out is also good for nausea. So you get to be mellow, which is especially great when the massage therapist comes to your chair to rub your hands and feet. They also bring you snacks and drinks... Greeks bearing gifts and all that. Come for the poison, stay for the perks! The Ativan experience was interesting. It was reminiscent of that tired, slowly sobering up feeling you get at the very end of a good night partying; but without the good time ahead of it. Then they load you up with two more anti-nausea medications, one of which stays in your system for three days. And don't forget the prescription for Compazine (more anti-nausea) which they'd already given me for home use. I asked the nurse if the nausea was really that bad that you needed four medications, and I got another we-don't-really-know answer of "for some people, yes." Then they hooked me up to the Oxaliplatin and Leucovorin. Two plus hours later and I get a huge syringe full of 5-FU and then they hook my pump full of more 5-FU. This is three times the dosage I was getting this past winter (pshew!). And home... where, as irony would have it, I threw up.

Day two finds me utterly exhausted. Though I haven't been sleeping well lately, and boy did I zonk out that first night. So the bright side is I can now sleep like the dead for several hours at a time. And believe me that does feel like a victory. The dark cloud inside that silver lining is that there is no way to get comfortable all day. After eight hours of thrilling excursions between the recliner and the bed I was absolutely stir crazy with cabin fever. We decided to brave the summer heat and try a short walk. Two blocks later and I made us head back home. It is so disconcerting to have such limited physical ability, especially when my mind is skipping and jogging ahead of me. But it will get better, I know it.

So day three and the pump is off! Still fatigued but it is better. No nausea since the first night and I've eaten a solid two meals today. Are muffins considered a solid meal? This is definitely an adventure (a wild and exciting undertaking), though perhaps minus a little of the exciting bit. I've always been the type to jump on the barely there side paths when traveling. I might not have had my good stomping boots with me when I first stepped on this path, but they've been brought out now and I will clomp over whatever lies in my way.

1 comment:

  1. Eat a banana!

    I've had a few people in my family who've had cancer, and I find chemo fascinating, from a purely analytical point of view. It's strange how exactly the same med can affect two people so differently. Thanks for sharing your experience, I appreciate this little window into the Beating Cancer With A Giant Ugly Stick world. :)