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October 21, 2019 - It's Rather Late
I am sitting in our hotel room, listening to Jamie sleep peacefully. I am very thankful that he is getting much needed rest. I need him rested. I know I will need him even more this week.
Today I danced my last dance with the Red Devil. I have had my last chemo treatment of AC which is (Adriamycin and Cytoxan). The A is Doxorubicin or also known the Red Devil.
Today also signifies the halfway point of my chemo. In 2 weeks, I will begin a new chemo cocktail of Taxol. I have been assured that it is a kinder gentler chemo drug, I do hope that is true. This final round of the Red Devil has already begun wreaking havoc on my body.
Some say that the onset of nausea occurs on day 3 or 4. For me, the onset was day 1, specifically this evening. When the chemo cocktail was administered to me this morning, as like the previous infusions, they began with anti-nausea medicine through my port. It certainly helped me through the day, but all that anti-nausea goodness began waning by evening. I spent time in the bathroom, knowing that I was going to vomit, but thankfully I was able to quell the urge. In normal situations, vomiting usually brings relief, but chemo is far from normal. Nausea from chemo doesn't find relief when one expels the contents of their stomach. Nausea isn't interested in leaving. Just like the iconic words of Hotel California, "you can check out, but you can never leave".
Jamie and I decided that I should take my strongest anti-nausea pill this evening. So, I did. I don't normally take nausea pills after chemo infusion day until day 2 or 3. It looks like the Red Devil was tired of slow dancing, and I wasn't in the mood to for the Electric Slide.
The pill has brought some relief. On a positive note, my knees are no longer sore and cold from kneeling on the marble bathroom floor. I must say, as I was sitting the floor, I was very thankful that we are staying at a very nice hotel. For those who know me well, this may have been a different story at any other hotel or place. An icky bathroom would have been enough to turn my stomach irreversibly. I had flashbacks that I was Moira Rose kneeling in her blue bathroom with that icky grout between the tiles at the Rosebud Motel.
(Moira Rose is a reference to Schitt's Creek. If you want to be highly entertained, I suggest you give it a try. It streams on Netflix. Moira's vocabulary and accent alone is worth the watch. Sigh- I digress.)
And yes, I am blessed that my many years of traveling for work have resulted in hotel perks that allows me and my family to enjoy some comfort as we are fighting this cancer! I offer that without apology.
As I sit here, writing to you, the nausea is still present, but somewhat manageable. I would say things are normal, but how normal is it to be sitting up in a hotel room at 1:37 AM, without any sleep in sight. When I do try to lay down, the nausea worsens. I also have the Neulasta patch attached to my arm, and if you remember, that patch has a tiny needle inserted in my arm awaiting to administer medicine in my upper arm at a specified time. Neulasta plays an important role in building up my white blood cells that the Red Devil destroyed when we tangoed.
In addition, let us not forget my breast reconstruction surgery, which is not complete, nor completely healed. Side sleeping is an art and my paint brushes are ragged. So, as you can see my sleeping positions are quite limited, which only aids to the insomnia. Which brings me to you.
So instead of fighting no sleep, I decide to capture a few thoughts. If Round 3 of chemo was any indication, than Round 4 is proving to be a doozy. This moment right now will be the best that I feel until next week. I decided not to waste my insomnia and be productive instead. The odds of me having the fortitude to write this later this week, even tomorrow, could be dicey.
The remainder of the week will consist of me being pretty much be tied to my groovy recliner, taking meds, and sleeping. My fatigue will be debilitating. My diet will consist of water, watermelon, and soup. We work to insert adequate protein in my diet, but the struggle is real. One of the side-effects from chemo temporarily destroys my taste buds. Pretty much anything I eat has a strong metallic taste, like chewing on a fork. It makes me think of my yellow bike when I was little. I imagine the metallic taste in my mouth is similar to what my handlebars would taste like on my bright yellow bike with the white banana seat that I got for my 7th birthday. Not that I chewed on my handlebars, but that is the visual that popped into my head. I will blame that thought on the drugs currently in my system. When I am home, I may be able to find a picture of that groovy bike and upload it. Or maybe I will save myself a little embarrassment. I did love that bike, though. It had a white basket in the front with purple plastic flowers. My parents bought it at Western Auto. And I digress, again.
As I am droning on and on about how this sucks, (I'm not sure that I actually used those words above, but it really does suck). I really should take a step back and comment on the last few days which were full of goodness. I really was feeling almost normal, or my new normal considering the circumstances.
Rick and Jackie drove in a day early - Thank you Ernesto! And I mean that in earnest!
A dear friend of Jamie and mine flew in for a quick 12 hour visit despite a tropical storm bearing down. Now, that shows perseverance.
I actually left the house on Friday for dinner at Cafe 30A.
On Saturday, Mason attended a birthday party for one of his best buddies at a trampoline park. We have priceless videos.
And then on Sunday, our dear neighbors, Hanner and Chuck, stopped by for a visit. Other than fatigue, I was feeling okay. It was a good weekend.
I'm sure I left out something wonderful, but I will chalk it up to Chemo Brain.
We knew Monday would start the vicious cycle over, it has with a vengeance and that is where we find ourselves.
Jamie and I are going to drive home late tomorrow afternoon, which means I will be home on Wednesday, which is historically one of my worst days. But I will be HOME, which makes me happy. Mason, family, home-cooked meals for my boys, and a groovy recliner that has an expiration date.
In my very first post, I promised there may be days of random winding thoughts. You are welcome.
**Note: I normally allow Jamie a chance to proofread my journal entry before I post it. I give him the chance to edit any oversharing, but since it is now 2:59 AM, I don't think it would be good to wake him. You know the saying, "never wake a sleeping bear". All oversharing is mine.
Love to you all!