I have finished 3 weeks of radiation and 3 chemo treatments. I see now, that things get progressively a little worse after each finished week as my body adjusts to what is being done to it. I am still losing weight and that is exciting since that is on purpose. I have been watching my calories for a little over a year to help out my mobility issues and the extra getting-out-of-the-house and the in-and-out of my wheelchair and on and off of the radiation table is all contributing to that. I have now lost 61 lbs. Woo hoo!
I keep meeting or hearing about others in cancer treatments. For the 1st time I am part of what seems like a suportive community of people all coping with similar things. I have been feeling very blessed my treatments should only last for 5 weeks. I met someone whose husband had finished 48 weeks of treatments and was beginning a new round of treatments. I saw a post on Facebook just this morning about a woman whose husband had stage 4 brain cancer and was beginning radiation treatments tomorrow. His main worry was his claustrophobia. There are more of us out there than you can imagine. It is a new experience in itself.
I tried on wigs last week and came home with a ‘real’ one and ‘one for fun’. The fun one was purple. We had a fun time that day trying on all the different styles and colors. I look good in purple and pink and my natural color and gray, but look really bad in green. And the Dolly wig is not for everyone. LOL. I kept #2.
I haod a bit of a breakdown this morning. The little things are what wears you down. I have been blessed with good health my whole life so coping with sickness and side effects is proving to be something I am not very good at. My side effects seem to have manifested in nausea and constipation and extreme gas pains that get trapped in my system. I also have extreme pain in urinating which is exacerbated by my catheter. I told my daughter that on Tuesdays, I get chemo, liquify my insides, and the rest of the week I am baking my pelvis with radiation including my intestines and they are not happy campers.
I have nausea drugs that are great. I found gas X and the doctor says there is nothing really any better he can give me and that helps some. But the back and forth from my body’s normal causes its own problems. The extreme pain and helplessness to alleviate it is what is most difficult. Feeling incapacitated and only wanting to lie down to try to feel better is not the way to get through the day with anticipation. And then, there are unexpected mood swings and crying spurts that come out of nowhere to cope with.
Once in awhile we hear of people who grow tired of their treatments and choose to stop them and we don’t understand. Now, I am beginning to see how that might happen. All the little things start dragging you down and wearing you out. It must take a special strength to do this month after month. Yes, it is difficult, but hasn’t been that bad so far. I have not dreaded leaving the house to do this, but I can see where it could happen. Once that happens it would be very difficult to continue.
We all hear about cancer but unless we know someone very close to us, we really have no idea. Each person’s treatment and drug is different in strenth, potency and poisonous side effects. We can empathize but can’t truly understand unless we have lived in that situation or cared for someone coping with it.
An interesting side effect is what is called chemo brain. It is a very real side effect of chemotherapy drugs. Your brain sometimes can not form normal thought, or forgets thought, and you might feel you are losing your mind with senility. I laughed when I heard of it because I have been experiencing this since I turned 50. I am not diminishing this in any way, just recounting my version of it. I call it senior brain or ‘brain farts’.
Another side effect is that my taste has changed. Some foods just don’t taste ‘right’. You can be salivating for something you love and get a huge let down when you taste it. It is just off. Eggs and my diet cokes are two things I have noticed up front. I said, “this tastes funny” and family just looks at me and says, “no, it’s just you…this tastes great!” Oh well. That can only help the diet too, so it’s a plus!
So, this catches you up on my little journey. I’ve finished 3 weeks and will begin week 4 tomorrow. If you think of me, toss off a prayer. I would appreciate it. See ya next time…