During the course of this dreadful disease , almost everyone I know has told me in one way or another that I am really courageous or brave or strong. And cancer in general comes coupled with war words like “fight” and “survivor” and “battle” etc etc…
The vain part of me likes to hear that, but somewhere I wonder if I being a hypocrite by acknowledging these adjectives.
Because I am THE most coward person I know!!! I tend not to go looking for an adrenalin rush. I would never willing do skydiving, or jumping in an ocean or any adventure sport really. I am also really non-confrontational. I go to great lengths and great pains to avoid a fight. My way of dealing with most problems or unpleasant tasks or confrontations is pretending that they are not there for as long as I can, (and also kind of hoping they go away on their own) and then finally just dealing with it all the while thinking about how I will treat myself later.
And that mostly summarizes how I have dealt with the cancer as well. and it so strange that people insist its “courageous” just because that the right thing to say? And it really doesn’t feel much like “fighting” when you are just curled under a blanket pretending all this is isn’t happening.
I dont say this isnt hard, or that I am not handling it well…. but I just feel it is a result of not having any choice. Cancer just came and knocked my life off track… it could have happened to anyone and they would dealt with it the same way, and you know why …. because what’s the alternative? Not deal with it.. or go crazy with
And maybe that why those terms get associated with every cancer patient…!!!
So today was Taxol #4 … and the blood counts are finally doing well. But as we all know its impossible to have everything going well at the same time…. so this time my liver has started to cave.
Due to abnormal liver function results , which is likely from the chemo , buts need to be managed before it causes more damage , I now have some dietary restrictions. So I have to cut down on everything that doesn’t taste terrible, and eat more of everything that is terrible.
More joy! <sigh> ( Please noone tell me to look on bright side . There is no bright side . Yes I get to save my liver , but if you remember a few months ago , my liver was safe and I could eat what I wanted. )
We also visited the last Doctor , in my health care entourage, the radiation oncologist. He talked a lot about complex calculations , angling techniques, radiation level calulation etc etc . To me , 30 min after chemo…. I dont really know what he said, but well , 33 doses and hopefully my boob will only be “mildly seared” and not ” fried to a crisp”.
Clearly I am not handling this all that well, afterall.
So the taxol has been on for 2 weeks now… overall its definitely better than AC. I have no fatigue and no nausea. My eyes feel much better. Taste changes are there but quite minimal.
The big side effects of the taxol are the body pain. Some days its my whole body, and others its just hips and legs. I hate the pain killers, (some make me groggy, some make me nauseous, and none of them take away all the pain) so I just deal with the pain, like a woman. But I am crabby and grumpy all the time. I make long faces when some one tries to hug me, and just overall am a terrible person to be around.
The other side effect is the nerve damage to my feet. Now I was always clumsy to begin with… so this doesn’t make it any easier. It takes forever to stand up and get walking.
So yeah , I have not being the sunny & cheerful , farting rainbows and burping flowers self. But But But… i am planning a holiday just after this treatment ends. Yes right after. The Onco is not happy at all… but you know what … I don’t care. I intend to go on this holiday , come what may. I have worked round this shit for so long now, I cant a bear it even for a minute longer than I have too.
When I knew I was going to get chemo, I imagined I would be the sole young youthful person along with a bunch of old people looking at me and feeling sorry for me…. And I thought it would be so depressing.
Well it isn’t like that at all. I mean its still depressing but for the opposite reason. At Karmen Wongs clinic everyone doing the chemo is more or less my age. It feels good to know you are not alone…. But seriously it is so depressingly unfair to see so many young people having to deal with this shit…
On a not completely unrelated note… Whoever decided tht chemo can be called “therapy” needs to be shot.
1. Everytime someone asks me how I am … I assume they really want to know .. So I tell them. Sigh
2. I have now a whole laundry list of side effects. Sometimes I whine about one or the other.I hate it when the listener goes oh but that’s not so bad , or it’s a small thing or whatever… Yes that ONE thing is not so bad … But there’s like 500 more that u don’t know about .. So just make cooing noises or say ‘there there’ .. Ok?
3. As much as the fact that I am bald did not matter … Now that the hair is falling .. And my head is so patchy .. It IS depressing. Earlier I looked in the mirror and saw a woman who was coping with cancer well.., and now I see this ugly strange creature ..
5. I never imagined that I could hate water. The sight of it .. The taste of it .. The way it feels in your stomach .. Ugh!
Well.. technically gone yesterday..!!! So I took the big step into my becoming a cancer patient, I chopped off my hair.
Couple of reasons why I did it : too messy when it falls off on its own. And the bigger one, is to have some semblance of having some control over my life and all the changes. So I go bald when I want to go bald and not when chemo says I should…! Ok Then!
I was planning on just going with a scarf or bandanna, but i realized that wearing this makes me look like a patient. . So I went a got a wig. OMG, I love LOVE my new wig… <delighted squeaks>
It’s the same cut as my usual hair, but silky and shiny and NOT the mess my actual hair is 🙂 People who know me will realize its a wig, just cause my hair CANNOT shine that much. But I don’t care … 🙂
So Tuesday was the last of the pre chemo tests. For my heart and some more blood work. Now as you know I was seeing Dr M at Mt Elizabeth. The nurses his clinic are rather bimbo- ish. I hate using that word , but its really true.
Now I have difficult veins, but its not impossible to do it right. I can only use my right arm to draw blood due to the recent surgery on the left. After spending about 7 mins to explain this to the nurse, and she checked with the doc, we started drawing blood on the right arm. She ties the strip , makes me flex it etc, and pokes the needle and starts looking for the vein. Thats right, she pokes the needle , and THEN looks for the vein.
And then she tries to move the needle arond to get to the vein or any thing, cause not enough blood is coming out at this point. I dont know if you have had anyone stick a needle in your arm and rotate it , but I can assure you it is very very painful. After 3 minutes of this unsuccessfully rotating it arond, I told her to take it out and try again.
So this time she tries the hand, instead of my arm. She tries one with the same actions as above. Yes, the same. This time she hits two different veins , and blood starts trickling out. By this time a couple more nurses are there, and are taking turns with this swiveling about. They poke one, and then another, and then back to the first one.. and so on. I bit my lip and bore it mostly to get it over with. I am not a medical person, But I am certain as hell that THAT is NOT the way blood should be drawn.
I now have a big swelling on my right hand. The worst part is that when the results came they were abnormal, so I need to redo this. And then clinic wanted to charge me for this, like it was my mistake!!!! WTF!!!!
So I asked them to stuff it, and have to find a diffrent onco. Its not just about the money, but the fact that these “nurses” will be administering the chemo. They cant even draw blood right, which I believe is the first thing they teach you in nurse school.
So this means I have to delay my chemo by a week, while I find a different onco. Oh well , could be worse.