Or maybe I should title this post "Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop"...
Since I last wrote, I've had chemo treatment #1 and #2. And I have to say, I feel okay. Shockingly so, all things considered. Now, I by no means feel normal but it certainly could be much worse.
As I sat through my first treatment, my fabulous sister Betsy at my side, every horror story I'd ever heard or read about the side effects of chemotherapy played through my head. I wondered when It would kick in- would I feel bad right away? That night? The next day? How sick would I be? And the honest answer is not yet and not very.
Please note, I just knocked on every wood item in my sewing room.
So far I have been very, very lucky. I'm tired. My appetite is about 2/3 what it normally is (not necessarily a bad thing) and I feel nauseous from time to time but by resting, napping and using the anti-nausea medications my oncologist prescribed I have been able to get through it in an almost normal fashion.
And I am so very grateful. I know the effects of chemotherapy are cumulative, getting worse as treatment progresses so to be able to start in a place that is not-so-bad is definitely something to be thankful for, even if it does, in some monstrously perverse way, make me feel like a bit of a chemo-fraud: "Hey look at her, thinks she's a chemo a patient! Why, she hasn't thrown up once."
I'm weird, I know. But this whole cancer episode has such a feeling of unreality for me I think maybe I am looking for some physical touchstone to say, yes, this is really happening. I don't know... Or maybe I am just weird, worried I don't have the right cancer street cred.
If I do lack cancer cred, I have my wonderful oncologist to thank. He's put me on treatment protocol where I have treatments every week for twelve weeks. Most breast cancer patients have treatments every 2-3 weeks. The thinking is that with more frequent but smaller doses of the drugs, the side effects can be somewhat minimized. So on Fridays I go in and get an infusion of Adriamycin and then I take Cytoxan daily orally (pill form). When I am done with this twelve week treatment I'll do 4-6 treatments of another drug- the name escapes me right now.
You'd think that I could simply be grateful the plan seems to be working and that I feel pretty good so far. But no. I worry. I admit, I'm a worrier. I wonder if I'll wake up tomorrow and just feel horrible. I mean, I have Cancer for goodness sakes!!!!! Shouldn't I feel wretched by now? If you read more than two or three posts on almost any breast cancer forum you'd think so... and so, as I mentioned at the beginning, I am sorta-kinda waiting for the proverbial other shoe to put in an appearance.
Yes, yes, I know. I should avoid the crazy forums. But honestly, even the forums you think are going to be normal and un-alarmist and possibly even educational dissolve before your very eyes into a puddle of crazy. I've lurked on a few breast cancer boards (yes, I know! I shouldn't Google... but really, it's Todd's fault- he Googles and sends me links) and frankly, I can't hang out there much. The Drama! Seriously. I cannot take it. I think this might be my own personal oddity again.
I know many (most?) people see cancer treatment as a battle, a fight for their life and I understand the reasoning behind that- you are after all, trying to save your life. Makes perfect sense. And I think that is where the drama stems from. After all, saving your life might be thought of as a Big Deal.
I just cannot get that worked up. Treating and beating my cancer has just become another task on my To Do list. A serious task, no doubt. Clearly a bit more pressing than say, taking out the recycling, but not as urgent as feeding my rapidly-descending-into-hunger-induced-crankiness kidlets dinner (and for the record, the last 5-10 minutes before dinner when you are fervently willing the food to Just. Cook. Faster! before your children really do turn into blood sugar deprived demons is clearly the Tenth Circle of Hell that even Dante was to afraid to explore).
Some days I think, What is wrong with me? Shouldn't I be more upset? Impassioned? Pissed? (Insert appropriate entry from the thesaurus here)? But then Matt grabs a toy away from Gwen or someone spills something or Gwen yells from the bathroom that she needs to be wiped for the 400th time that day and I have to get over it and move on with my life.
So yes, this Friday is treatment #3 and I'll probably feel a little (or maybe a lot) worse next week just as I felt not quite as good this weekend after #2 as I did after #1. But that's okay because I'll be able to check off another box on the To Do List. One step closer to checking off the really big box.