The 2’s & 3’s- Cancer Can Suck a Dick.

As I write this I am now in the hospital for my third round of chemo.

So far so good.

It’s exactly like the first time I was in.  The 3 hr drips every 12 hours probably for the first two days and then the straight 24 hour one followed with the steroids.

I remember the straight 24 taking me for a doozey….and having to swallow all those steroid pills was a pain.

Hopefully this round won’t wipe me out to much like the second round did.  I’ve heard people say that the third round is just as worse if not more worse than the second round….and let me tell you….

Second round felt like I was on death’s door.  Or at least in it’s neighborhood.

The second treatment really fucked me up.   I was extremely tired and lethargic.  I felt sick….but again, not that nauseous kind of sick.  Just incredibly off and languid with the feeling that I could throw up.  But no nausea.  It’s so weird to explain.  I would be sitting/lying there and all of a sudden my body was like “Hey!  This is coming up!” and well, there it was.  No waves of nausea to warn me…just regurgitation.  Mostly brought on by the headaches and swallowing pills that would get stuck in my throat.

After my discharge from the hospital after the second round, I was so tired that I missed the first three doses of the Leucovorin that was needed to pull the remaining chemo from my body.  They were to be taken every six hours.  I slept right through the night and didn’t want to be bothered with having to swallow more pills.  Especially given that my gag reflex was so agitated with all the bitter tastes of the medications.

The morning after being discharged from second round I could barely pull myself out of bed.  It took every ounce of energy I had to get dressed.  I felt so outside of myself.  I was listless, supine, empty.  Heavy.  I just felt so heavy.

I seriously thought I was going to die.  It just felt like my body couldn’t go on anymore.  I was out of my gourd.

I was taken in for lab work that day and given fluids and of course anti nausea meds.  I laid in a hospital bed trying my damnedest to pull through.  Trying my best to explain to the dippy nurse practitioner exactly what it was I was feeling.  Tension grew in my neck and brought on a headache.

Another flipping headache.  It was a daily thing.  Even when I was in the hospital they would come on.  If I tried to just let them be with the hopes of them waning themselves, they would just wear my body down even more and then next thing I know, I am puking in my garbage can.

But she’s not listening to my thoughts on what is causing the headache.  The proposal of the tension in my neck is dismissed with a bat of an eye and a flippant response of oh yes, that can sometime happen.

I want to know how to stop it.  I want these headaches to stop.  But she has no answers, other than the migraine medicine that was prescribed to me.  The medications that knock me out and sometimes doesn’t do shit for the headaches.  Or the tension.

For days I couldn’t sit up for I would get a headache.  I couldn’t lie down…for I would get a headache.  I tried staying as hydrated as possible.  I took the Immetrex they gave me for migraines and that was hit or miss.  I was just so tired of being “sick”.  My sense of taste was off.  Everything tasted bland, or like chemo.  Even when I wasn’t eating there was still that taste of metallic chemo lingering in the back of my mouth.

I grew resentful.  Weary.  Emotional.

At times I didn’t feel like I could go on because of hard it was to bounce back.

It was decided that it would be best I come to the infusion center every other day just to make sure that my levels are ok.  Seems my thresh hold is a bit lower this time around, and some fluids and possible blood products, if needed, could help put the pep in my step.

And how they were needed.

Once I started to receive the bloods and fluids I started to feel a bit better.   I no longer felt as enervated.  But until I got to that point, I just felt awful.

Once I got the blood….I started to feel better.  I had more energy.  (perhaps this is proof that I am a vampire.  ;P )

I also came to the conclusion that the anti nausea meds were part of my headache problem. It said right on the bottle “May Cause Headache.” So I stopped taking them, unless I really needed them…and I didn’t really.  And like that, my headaches let up.

I had a few days where I felt well enough to actually do things.  While not much, I was able to go have lunch for my Boo’s birthday.  I was also up for company on christmas eve, made it to my grandma’s and had dinner at my parents.

But then I started to notice that it felt like i had a cavity forming in the left back side of my mouth.  It was beginning to hurt to swallow and i notice that my lymph node right on the underside of jaw was a bit puffy and swollen to the touch.

I went home took some Tylenol and used an ice pack on the side that felt infected and it seemed to help the pain some.  I was able to sleep, however in the morning the pain was back and now the lymph node at the base of my head on the left side was hurting as well.

Of course there were no dentists open on Christmas day or the day after.  It was suggested that I go to the ER in regards to the swollen nodes, but once at the ER, I was told to wait for three hours and awhile longer, while people who had come in after me were admitted.  It didn’t seem to matter that I have leukemia, undergoing chemo and had swollen lymph nodes. The staff didn’t feel that was something to be concerned about.  I was given a face mask and told to wait with the other sickly people coughing and hacking up god knows what.  It was the last place I needed to be.  So I left before I was seen. I’m sure I’ll still get a $600 bill for walking in the door and having my blood pressure taken.

I was able to get in to see a dentist the day before being admitted to the hospital for third round.  They took X-rays of my lower teeth, where it felt like i was having the cavity pain, and found nothing.  They did see my wisdom tooth on the top that was decaying and thought that the pain was shooting down from there to the bottom of my jaw.  Yet when she pressed on the tooth, I felt nothing.  No pain.  No nothing.

They wanted to pull it, but in my condition that was a no.  There could be an issue of too much bleeding due to my platelet count.  Or risk of infection.

Yet it seems that the “cavity” pain and sore node under my jaw have settled down with the chemo I’m now receiving in round three.  So I dunno.  They are going to do an MRI with contrast of my neck tomorrow to see if they can see what’s going on with these nodes, especially since the one is near my carotid artery.

Oh!  I should also mention that I handled my lumbar puncture with calmness today.  Totally put on my big girl panties on and got it done…and so far…no headache.  So yay to that.

So that’s where I am in this point of the journey.

I’m trying to let go of the resentment.  The bitterness, and just get through this round and do what I need to do.  And that’s getting better and kicking cancer in the dick.

I mean second round really took a toll on me.  Not just physically, but mentally and spiritually.  I was in a very low place.  I let a lot of negative thoughts of just letting go get into my head, and that’s definitely not what I need at this juncture.  Especially seeing that my last bone marrow biopsy came back looking good and the path for bone marrow transplant seems to have been taken off the books.

Chemo will be the way to go as I seem to be responding well to it.  Ironically.

So for this next round, as it gets tough, I will be more mindful of my thoughts.  I will work on the patience needed to just take one moment at a time.  I will attempt to approach with more calm when things start to feel out of my control.  And as always I will move forward in gratitude for the love and support that surrounds me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Round- Cancer Can Suck a Dick.

Today I go back into the hospital for another round of chemo.  If all goes well, the Dr’s feel I should be back home by Sunday at the latest.  My goal is by Friday.

From what I was told, my treatments will be every 21 days.  So that’s not too shabby.  About a week in, and three weeks home?  I’ll take it!  (I mean…I’ll take not having cancer…but this is what it is…so.)

I’m not exactly sure at the moment what this round entails.  I was told that it would be less intense than my first stint…but I am sure those green little steroid pills will make an appearance.

Goddess I hate those things.  All fifteen of them.

Not gonna lie and say that I am jazzed about having to go back….I mean who would be?  I’ve grown quite comfy being home and returning to some normalcy and familiarity of my life before all this started.

(Let me just say that my bed is heaven.   It is so goddamn comfy.  I don’t want to leave my bed.  In fact I haven’t yet this morning.  😛 )

I’m still having the headaches, but I was able to partake in some things here and there.   Got to go out to dinner one night and brunch Sunday morning.  Was able to spend time and laugh with some amazing people who stopped in to visit.  Had a shamanic healing from a very dear friend who came all the way from North Carolina for the weekend.  (which I am going to try and touch upon later.) Got a therapeutic massage which did wonders for my headache yesterday, and more importantly, got to sleep next to my boo at night.  (yeah you can go ahead and puke here….we are pretty adorbs.)

Oh and I totally stuffed my face with all the foods.  Can’t forget that.

So all and all it was a nice “break” between treatments.

I still am feeling pretty confident that I am kicking this disease in it’s balls, but I do feel at times a bit stymied at how my life has been totally turned upside down and shaken around.  I know that obviously my day to day has been altered in such a way that this is now the new reality.  Fighting change and refusing to adapt has never served anyone well, so the attitude of acceptance in all of this is a must.  Yes.  I have accepted that this what I am going through and there will be major major life changes.  Yes I have even accepted that I have this disease, but I have also accepted that I will not succumb to it.  Yet there are still some aspects of having to deal with this that I find myself having a hard time welcoming.

I want to wake up with no headaches.  I want my hair back.  I want to be able to just go out and not worry about getting tired or catching something due to my weakened immune system.  I want to go back to work. Yes….work.  I miss my job and structure it gave me, and um, having an income. I miss dancing.  I miss hooping.   I just miss doing the things I did before all this.

Of course I know that I will get better and I will be right back to everything  I was doing before….but in the immortal words of Veruca Salt….” I want it now!”

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But I guess all in due time.

It’s going to be a long road, and one that I’m already bored traveling down, but there have been some beautiful moments along this path, and it’s those moments that keep me moving along.

 

Going Home- Cancer Can Suck a Dick

I just got word that I am to go home today.

I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I feel at this moment.

This news is quite bittersweet considering the past week was a rough one.  I mean, I told myself when I first got in here, that I would be home no later than the first week of December.   There would be no ifs ands or buts.

It’s only a small reprieve, as I must report back next Tuesday to start my second round of chemo, but it won’t be anything like it was this first go around.  Only a week stay and then I get to go home…repeat another 21 days later…..( 21 days later…Isn’t that a zombie movie??  Hmmmm…..wait a minute….)

The question of whether I need a bone marrow transplant is still up in the air, as my genetics are a bit funky.

I carry half the gene for this Philadelphia chromosome.  Philadelphia Chromosome

They aren’t quite sure what the implications for this will mean.   Will half the gene make it resistant to treatment?  Will having half of it make it more likely for this disease to come back?  They aren’t sure.  A week ago they were all gung ho about the transplant.  Making it sound like it was a must do.   Safety precaution.  Now it seems they want to just stick with the chemo and see what happens.   There’s an extra boost of chemo they can give that they also feel will knock it out.  I should be more involved with the logistics on this, this is important stuff….but all I can think about right now are cheeseburgers.

But in spite of all that, today is the best I’ve felt in a while.  Sadly (?) I ate a whole box of Dots candy.  I mean…cause I can.  A few days ago I couldn’t.  And I get to go home.  And eat all the foods.

All.  The. Foods.