October 29, 2019 - Happy Hallows Eve
It’s raining outside. It’s the kind of steady heavy rain that is very good at lulling me to sleep. Since we haven’t changed our clocks back from DST to STD time, it’s also still dark outside. This is what is known as good sleeping weather.
Napping is something that I have gotten pretty good doing the last few months. The chemo brings on fatigue which naturally brings on naps. If I slept better at night, maybe I wouldn’t be so compelled to nap during the day. Or, it could be the groovy (temporary) recliner that brings on the sleep. It is a good sleeping chair, yet temporary. I must keep saying that so the men in my house don’t get too attached to it.
Of all my side effects, the fatigue has surprised me the most. I assumed that I would be tired during the day and take naps as needed. News Flash for Renee: Fatigue does not equal being sleepy. Fatigue is a concept that was foreign to me before chemo. It wasn’t in my vocabulary. It is hard for me to accept the fatigue, but I have no choice. For example, the smallest of menial tasks make me tired and require me to sit down and rest. Not sleep, but rest.
The simple shower is easy, especially since I have no hair to rinse and repeat. I don’t even have to spend time shaving my legs (chemo bonus, wish it were summer). But when I add on the small amount of time to “fix my face”, as my mother would say, it puts me in a different column. The fatigue column. The simple act of standing at my sink for that extra 15 minutes or so is tiring. I literally must sit down to rest and recover.
It is the second week since my chemo infusion. We knew it would knock me down, which it did, but I am beginning to feel better. This is the first day since Monday a week ago that I haven't awoke to the feeling of nausea. Yea! That is good! I am on the downhill side of this final round of chemo with the Red Devil. It has been rough, but it is behind me. Although rain is in my local weather forecast, I should have sunny days ahead of me for the rest of the week, with each day shining brighter.
Monday marks my new journey with the chemo drug, Taxol. According to my phenomenal medical team, Taxol should treat me much nicer than the red devil. That is my hope. I will report back, you can count on it.
In addition to listening to my medical team, I studied the literature, read the cancer blogs, asked Dr. Google, and have been overexposed to the many Facebook Breast Cancer Groups (and sadly, there are many to choose from). Oddly in our normal Facebook world, people tend to only post the most positive uplifting news. With the Breast Cancer groups, I have experienced the opposite phenomenon. I have learned valuable information, but I also have been met with a lot of sadness, pain, and horror stories. There are many women who are battling all stages of cancer, including Stage 4 Metastatic.
(Public Awareness Alert: For those women with Stage 4, there is NO Cure. Their life consists of finding the right chemo cocktail drugs and medical care that will keep them alive for as long as possible. Some women have lived 10+ years, others less than a year. It is heartbreaking.)
So, those Facebook groups, while helpful, can also be downright scary. If you didn’t have a strong constitution, you could be scared out of your mind and fall into a state of depression. Thankfully, I have become very good at scrolling and gleaning info that is helpful. Sigh…I digress.
The chemo calendar has been in my favor. This is the perfect week for me to be on the upswing. It is Halloween week, after all. And I have a child who claims this is his favorite holiday behind Christmas. Mason is in overdrive with excitement. He loves Halloween, but it isn't the trick-or-treating that gets him jazzed, it's the costumery! He is a typical 9-year-old that loves to dress up. It is not unusual to see him wearing masks, yielding swords, and fighting the bad guys on any given day. He has a vast arsenal of costumes ranging from the First Order to Optimus Prime to a wand waving Harry Potter. His imagination is active! He is awesomely adorable, but I am so biased! To his delight, he gets to wear to two costumes on Halloween. For school, the kiddos are asked to dress up as a literary character. This year his choice is a hobbit, but not just any hobbit. He is dressing as Bilbo Baggins. He is very excited about this costume. He even asked me if he could forgo a haircut, so his hair would be long and bushy. I do think he was playing me a bit, but who can argue with a hobbit! For Halloween night, he has chosen Spiderman. He is equally excited about this costume because it fits him like a glove. It is skin tight. If Halloween was in November, this costume would be too small. I think the fit of the costume makes him feel powerful. Actually, I think he believes he can spin webs like Peter Parker. It is awesomely adorable, as the pictures show. Despite the dreaded fatigue and waning nausea, I am optimistic that I will be present for Halloween and more importantly, present for Mason. Our usual tradition is trick-or-treating at Seaside and then an early dinner with the kiddos in Watercolor. I don't have the energy to walk around Seaside, but I am planning on joining the crew for dinner. I am looking forward to a little “normal” this week. I can see the light at the end of the chemo tunnel. That light will shine brighter and brighter each week.
I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween. Stay safe out there!
Love to you all….