Friday, October 16, 2009

Better Lucky Than Good

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.


amanda said...

I told you not to Google! Why did you disobey me?!? :)


I know it's obnoxious when people spout random inspirational quotes, but here is my favorite one of 2009 which I read in Haruki Murakami's book "What I Talk When I Talk About Running" - "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional."


Michelle Z said...

It sounds like you have exactly the right attitude to me. Beat but don't over think it. Glad to hear it's going as well as expecting.

ME215 said...

YAY to checking off boxes!!! Keep knocking on wood and maybe add more playing with merino too. I understand the 'power of Malabrigo' is amazing. ;-). xo ME

mames said...

i think that the way you are feeling shows just what an amazing warrior you are...because you are continuing LIFE not stopping it in order to beat cancer. and somehow, somehow i think this is gonna' be your ace card...that non drama, cancer is real but not the only thing approach. and forums are nuts....i still remember the times i lurked on the twin sites and wanted to barf every time

Mar-see-ugh Sue-Flay said...

not that I ever forgot why we were friends, but this reminds me why we are. You rock. the end. may your journey remain smooth and drama free.

Jody said...

I am so glad your treatments are not too bad. Keep up with the anti-sickness meds, I've heard they are helpful. Thanks for your blog, I have BC too and you've explained some tech stuff I hadn't a clue with!
I do wish you safe passage on this journey. Blessings.

huskypaw said...

I took care of a boyfriend that had leukemia (now cured) in my early 20's and he never did get nauseated very much thanks to meds. I am hoping it is the same for you! I know you may be quarantine from all of us people being exposed to colds and flu - but let me know when you will be knitting on Mondays...I will be there and will treat you normally. I know it has been 6+months since I have been knitting on Mondays.

Transatlantic Daughter said...

The experience is different for each person. I can just advise you (like everybody else apparently) to stay off those forums. You'll only find worst case scenarios assembling there. No one who's doing well with their treatment is writing anything there. I went through everything (and I mean all treatment possible) last year. For me, the first half of chemo was the worst and then it got better with each time. Don't think anything somebody else tells you will be the same for you as well. I think it's great that you have a family to keep you distracted. No amount of worrying will get you through this. Believe with all your might that you can do it. There is just no other possibility. I wish you all the best, stay strong!