Today, chemo week five at Dana-Farber, was fairly routine. Not much nausea, not much pain at the infusion site by my wrist, and mom and Tina were there for my amusement - and I for theirs. It was a blood work and infusion only week, but my doctor stopped in to visit anyway.
Yesterday for the first time I admitted to one of my friends how I am really feeling and what is happening – and felt so bad when she started crying. I even admitted, as I did with Phil when I told him that I am listening to him and not going to attempt to do the Newport Half Marathon, that I am not invincible. I need others to know because they rely on me and we need to be prepared. If it was just all about me, I’d stay in denial as long as possible!
You’re probably wondering what the heck is happening. No, I am not dying, and I don’t have another lump. Things are simply getting worse. I honestly hate saying (or writing) it because that makes it real, harder to deny and could make people feel bad for me. I hate it when people feel bad for me or baby me!!! I just want to be treated completely normally, just with understanding of my limitations so people aren’t counting on me for more than I can physically give.
It’s really interesting, and somewhat ironic. I find it amazing that officially I no longer have cancer, but things are worse from the treatments than I ever felt when the cancer was in my body. Looking at me, you’d say “she has cancer” but I don’t actually – now I’m a cancer survivor. Just still in treatment so I look like crap. And while some things are starting to get better, other side effects are kicking in…
- My hair is starting to grow in. Really! And not just on my head – I have to shave my legs! I will never complain about that again… My doctor confirmed that it sure appears to be coming back and that it can happen while on Taxol, but isn’t normal so she doesn’t mention it as she doesn’t like to give false hope.
- It appears my eyelashes and eyebrows are no longer falling out – so while they are sparse, it would be so fabulous to preserve what I have and for them to start to grow back too.
- I was able to cut back to a normal dose of benedryl starting today, and starting next week can start to cut back on the steroids slowly, as I haven’t been having any of the real bad Taxol reactions. So that means I shouldn’t keep gaining weight, and I won’t be as hungry all the time – thank goodness ’cause I hate all the weight I’ve put on, and am ready to get back into my smaller jeans…
- Being able to work four days a week, unlike the A/C cocktail.
- My fingernails are starting to go. They are increasingly brittle, have lines I try to cover with light nail polish and four have broken off below the skin, complete with bleeding – so not fun…
- The aches and pains throughout my body are increasing, as are the hand and feet tingling. And it will continue to increase each week.
- My liver is elevated – at first we thought it was because I had a drink and took tylenol, but I cut both out this week and it’s elevated again. Now the thought is that it could be too much ibuprofen because I’ve been taking a bunch for the abovementioned aches and pains. So I’m afraid I am going back on pain killers so I can cut down on the ibuprofen – but will only take them at night when I have no where to go, as I am not supposed to drive or work – it makes my head fuzzy, which I hate! Will take only when absolutely necessary…
- So I know I have to face that I may not last four days a week at work the entire rest of the time.
It’s all relative, right? It’s only seven more weeks. And no matter how bad it gets, I can get through/handle anything for just seven weeks. And then I will get better. And have a fabulous 2013, and hopefully rest of my life. And until then, at least my hair is starting to grow back – and it’s brown, thank goodness!