(This week’s post is part of my side series covering my cancer treatments.)
On the third day after my third round of chemo, I pulled out my computer to attempt to write. (I’m a pretty determined girl.) And I sat there. I tried again the next day. Nothing. Granted, the chemo had successfully snuffed out many of my brain cells but I also couldn’t find the sense of humor I lean on to get things started. It had entered some sort of black hole. That day had not gone well and any lingering humor told me “I can’t spin this.” So, I wrote nothing at all.
The day had started when my phobia was realized again with a second allergic reaction to one of my drugs. I had truly been hopeful that morning when my doctor ordered an additional steroid to ward off the reaction. With three steroid doses in me, I was ready to take on the Hulk. Hell, I was the Hulk.
But 7 minutes after the drip started, the reaction came anyway. My husband and I were prepared this time of course, and the second I felt it coming on, I said “it’s happening” and he was instantaneously by the nurses who rushed over and I received another steroid shot to stop it.
But then, I was told that I was done with that drug. No more Paclitaxel. And this is where my mind went dark. For the first time, I started to feel sorry for myself. For the first time, I teared up during treatment. This wasn’t going as planned! I had tried so hard to wrap my head around each treatment, what was going into me, what to expect, and to just stay the course, but this was a big, fat monkey wrench. I had no idea what was next. But I have stage 3/grade 3 endometrial cancer so we needed a new plan of attack.
I still received the Carboplatin, my second chemo drug. Even with all those steroids, I went home and promptly fell asleep on the couch for an hour and a half. I was exhausted. Feeling slightly nauseous (for the first time) that night, I tried to sleep upright moving from the bed, to the couch and at some point, back to the bed.
Getting up was a challenge every morning because my stomach wasn’t sure whether it was hungry or nauseous. Trust me, you want to choose wisely. Coffee sounded horrible for days. Water didn’t taste good.
And this time? I was so weak. Half-way to the kitchen, my legs would feel like they were going to crumble beneath me and I was out of breath. I’d lean into the counter for support. This was new and I think it’s because it’s my third round and the accumulative effect is beginning to take hold.
My husband put a metal step stool in the shower so I had something to hold onto; I couldn’t trust my legs. Afterwards, I’d climb back into the recliner chair, with enormous relief, and not move for hours. I slept. I was depressed.
Then I saw a television clip of Alex Trebek sharing that he had survived his first year with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The odds were only at 18%, so that’s a hell of an accomplishment. He’s not in the clear, but his “taking it one day at a time, with a positive attitude” message began to shake awake my own sense of positivity; my sense of humor. I laughed when he talked about chemo killing him. There’s my dark humor. I remembered that the nausea will pass. The weakness will too. They will find a new drug for me that is as effective as the old one for my particular type of cancer. (I still have three more rounds after radiation.)
This path is sure as hell not a straight one. But if I can remember to hold onto the things that get me through it when those curves come, then that’s half the battle.
For more updates on my story, please visit My Cancer Page at http://www.leavingthedooropen.com or click: