Sunday, July 6, 2014

Back to Chemo

So vacation's over. Tomorrow is back to the chemo routine. It's kinda like going back to school- the knot in your stomach. I know it needs to be done. It's just hard. It's tough feeling tired all the time and being leashed to the bathroom. Even though I've learned some tricks of the trade- I still notice things like when I take the girls out to lunch and a table just stares at me. Every. Damn. Time. I look. Up- I meet 6 eyes just staring. I smile the first dozen or so times- no smiles back just hard stares. So I put up the invisible wall and enjoy my girls.

Last week I felt good and in between running the kids to activities- I would stop and get salad, or a hamburger or ice cream- things I've found just don't work on chemo. I even had coffee.  Then the anxiety attacks start. I'm sure it was the coffee. Then I have a minute alone and think, huh- I kinda feel ok- maybe next week I'll take the girls to the pool or to the beach. Slam- reality hits- Monday starts the routine over again. Damn. I will not feel like being near the pool or the beach.

Bella comes and hugs me after dinner. She's been sad. Do you have to do chemo again? Yeah I do. But you are no fun when you are on chemo. Well there goes any illusion that I kind of sort of had been doing OK.  It makes me so irrevocably sad, I disappear upstairs to have a few moments. No one notices- as it isn't unusual for me to have to disappear after a meal. Every night Lily says goodnight- not sleep tight but now she says- feel better. FEEL BETTER.  Then I feel worse because I wonder how hard it would be to pretend to feel better. Because apparently my pretending has been subpar.

And I feel bad because on the scale of paper cut to flu- it's really like a mild gastroenteritis. It's not that bad and it sure as hell could be worse. And I was NOT prepared for the emotional whammy provided when you have your ovaries yanked out. I mean everyone knows theres an emotional component and I know that- but on the scale of I don't like my new haircut to the love of your life just died- I figured it would be closer to my friends went out without me kinda pain. When you deal with the really heavy stuff- you sometimes underestimate the biologic capabilities to knock you on your ass. In the past month I've been reduced to puddles of goo over seemingly ridiculous things. Each time Phil comes to the rescue and makes me feel like I have not just completely lost my mind.  The worst was the one time I thought I was completely alone and was wallowing a bit in said puddle and then I feel these lanky 14 year old arms around me.  And I feel even more abysmal- as there is some unwritten rule about losing it in front of your kids and I have lost it so far that I cannot even pretend to try and pull it together. Yet he holds on and doesn't even let go when I think I may have found that relatively slight string to which I might be able to pull myself out of said gooey puddle.

So tomorrow, Monday I am to show up to the chemo bay with a plan. My oncologist is awesome and lets me choose my own adventure. I know I have been relatively lucky on the side effect front. That being so- it gets old.  I wonder if staying the course is the best way. I wish I was the strong stoic sort who could power through unfazed- but I am fazed. I don't blog a lot because I don't want to seem pessimistic but more often than not I just don't feel like it. I don't feel like sharing this part of the chemo journey with everyone- why should I make everyone miserable just because it's not all pink ribbons and parades. I know this is part of the process. And I feel bad because it could absolutely totally BE worse and I know at some point- possibly sooner it could BE worse if I make the wrong call with treatment.  But as my onc kindly pointed out- sometimes things get better or worse for no good reason at all and it's about quality of life. And even I got into the routine- our new messed up normal and forgot to look ahead. I forgot to plan ahead like there was a destination and spots to see along the way. So we will be decreasing the dose of abraxane- which is the toughest to take. I will probably do that one every other cycle. I will keep up with the Herceptin and Pertuzumab as usual every 3 weeks and hope for the best.  This will give me a little more time to feel better and maybe do some things and maybe get a little bit of fun back.  

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Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)