Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Chemo: Week #1

I have approximately 18 weeks of chemo to go through, and I've just managed to make it through my first week so now I'm down to 17.

Seventeen weeks doesn't seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things. But then, throughout the 17 weeks, I will celebrate a Thanksgiving, a birthday, Christmas, the New Year. There's a lot that will happen at work. And at church. My reign as president of my institute class will end. (Let's be honest, I'm not doing much with that anyway.)

Seventeen weeks isn't that long of a time, and yet, there is a lot that will happen in the meantime. Things that I'm still living in denial about. Like losing my hair. I keep reminding myself that it is going to happen. I cut off all of my hair in order to "better prepare myself". And yet, there's still a part of me that is hoping that it isn't going to happen. Why? Why am I hoping for the impossible? For the miracle?

I guess I sort of can't help it.

Since last Monday, when I cut off all my hair, I have hated looking in the mirror. I'm sorry. I know that the cut is cute. And I really love the blonde (the pink has already faded and I haven't put more in yet), but I hate it. I hate that I had to do it. I hate what it represents. And I don't feel pretty. I kept my hair short for years, but the last two years, I have really come to love my longer tresses. Now they're gone.

I spent the first few days looking through Instagram for the hashtag #chemohair, and other such things, only to discover that it's going to take eighteen weeks just to have a small covering of hair on my head again.

I felt really good after my treatment and most the day on Tuesday until about 3:00 p.m., when WHAM! my coworker found me crying in my cubicle because I felt so sick. It's not awkward at all to have tears running down your cheeks trying to talk about the design of a brochure. At all. Poor Travis. . .

Wednesday, I stayed home from work because I felt too sick to move, and mostly just slept. However, I discovered that one of the reasons I felt so sick was because I did not have the Dex (one of my anti-nausea pills) in my system like it was meant to! As soon as I started taking my Dex, I felt a lot better. I also have Zofran and Compazine in my arsenal of anti-nausea pills, but they come with their own side effects and so, while I tried to maintain a schedule of taking them for a few days, I found that luckily, I haven't needed them all that often.

Once I got through Wednesday--with the help of my grandma and my dear friend, Marco--I felt well enough to be back at work and went Thursday. Friday I spent the day in the hospital getting my iron infusion with Bethie by my side. It was a long day, made longer by the fact that I was confined to the darn floor once again.

Friday I had a little bout of "chemo brain", where I went upstairs for something and Matti found me sleeping on the couch a little dazed and confused. Of course, that could just be that I'm a total wonk and have less to do with the drugs. Hard to say.

I spent the weekend in the San Francisco Bay area with the FTC, and it was a wonderful trip all things considered. There were a few times where I felt a little sick, or a little tired--or a lot tired--but luckily I went with accommodating friends who were willing to point out when I looked exhausted and never pushed me to do anything. I didn't have to take my pills but a few times. I didn't have to wear my mask (I have an impeccable immune system, and I worry as the treatments continue how that is going to go...). There was one night where I felt absolutely wretched, but that was more to do with the side effects of the pills than the actual chemo, coupled with being too hot, and maybe just a little dehydrated.  Overall, it was just a really great trip with two really great friends and very little to do with the cancer.

Today, I'm back to work and feeling nothing but the sweet exhaustion of having gone to bed too late the night before. I'm ready to finish this week and get through week two, so we can get on to week three and so forth. My next chemo treatment is scheduled for the 24th of November, following the surgical placement of a port, which I decided to go ahead and get in an effort to preserve my veins and my sanity in the coming months.

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