Sunday, 13 November 2011


I'd like to say I was prepared for the "cumulative effect" of chemo. I mean, I was familiar with the concept. And certainly I'd read the material on "chemo fog," but having pretty much sailed through round one, I thought that the hit would be harder by, say, the last round.

Friday, last day of round two, my apartment temperature is 90 degrees when I arrive home from treatment. The motor controlling the thermostat is stuck. Outside, there are near-hurricane winds and rain so heavy that it's flooded all the storm drains and roads. I open the balcony door and the windows and stuff towels around them, trying to let air in and keep the water out. My Superintendent calls the on-duty repair man, but makes a quick trip over to try for a temporary fix. She messes around by the rad and manages to get the stuck part moving again and then her phone rings. She answers and starts to cry. Her ex-daughter-in-law, mother to her grandkids, is dying. Right now. Of cancer. She apologizes profusely and leaves, promising another call to the repair man.

The repair man arrives about 30 minutes later - a nice, friendly guy who sets to work fiddling with the motor and declares that, while it's working, and will turn off and on, he doesn't like the look of it and will be back to replace it the following day. And then he mentions that he's waiting for a phone call because someone in his family is dying. Of cancer.

Wendy says, "Is this like when you get a red car and suddenly it seems like everyone has a red car?"

Maybe so, but just a little creepier, if you ask me.

A little later, I drug myself with Ativan and melatonin and manage to sneak five hours sleep past the steroids but Saturday, when I wake up, I don't feel anything like rested. In fact, I feel as thoroughly poisoned as I am. Etoposide, Cesplatin, Decadron, Zofran and let's no forget the $40 worth of laxatives I just bought to cope with the side effects of the side effects. I have Steroid Moon Face and I'm flushed red. My hair is beginning to fall out. I feel like walking death and if I let myself cry, I'm afraid I won't be able to stop, ever.

How to describe the feeling? I can't rest or sleep. I can't focus. Eating something may help or may make me feel worse. The poison in my body is working its way through my brain and emotions. I'm angry. I'm despairing. It's just ugly beyond belief.

So, for now, I'm no longer the poster girl for Doing-Well-Through-Chemo. It's hard to believe that the toxic stew killing this tumor isn't killing me, too.

It's Sunday now. I don't feel good. But I feel better than I did yesterday. I guess that's how it will go. Days so bad I don't want to imagine them, days that are a little better. Another two or three months of this to survive, somehow.

Today I'll bother with a head wrap and a little makeup. I'll try to get the floors mopped and the apartment tidied up, in the hope that pretending normalcy will help. I still have two Decadron left to take, but I'll try to be grateful that, at least, I don't have to swallow anymore of them until the next round and I'll start to feel just a bit more like myself in another few days.
Tell you, I've always been considered a "survivor"...but this is adding a whole new dimension I'd like to have never explored.


Rita alias alatvian said...

Hugs and healing vibes for you!
I hope from the depth of my heart, you have more and more better days

Roberta said...

Here. Listening. What else to say?

Anonymous said...

Today you can turn your face to the sun. And maybe for a few minutes just be. Love you.


Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

Sending love.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

It occurred to me today that it's really not about kicking cancer's butt - it's about being strong enough to stay alive one more day when the treatment is kicking yours. Stay the course, beautiful girl. We love you.

Howpublic said...

You're right, Cynthia. And Jan.

Pat Barber said...

I wish blog post comments had a like button! I always love Cynthia's answers! Hang in there Linda, you got this. May not seem like it, some days, to you ... and I'm certain you're "virtually" slapping me silly for uttering such nonsense to you, but, well, just slap away ... and hang in there!

Howpublic said...

I love Cynthia's answers too.

Pat Barber said...

AHA! So you ARE slapping me silly! ... 0_O ! Teehee! Much love and many (very gentl) hugs to you, dear Lady ...