Monday, August 2, 2010


I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have written a few drafts, but haven't completed them. Following is one I wrote a while back, but never posted because when I re-read it, I felt like parts were too "happy" and flippant, considering all that was going on. And other parts were too depressing. No one wants to feel depressed. But I think therein lies a strange and interesting aspect of going through chemotherapy. Some days you feel on top of the world, other days you are literally laying on the bathroom floor, moaning. So. Because this entry personifies the mood swings brought on by chemotherapy, I'll deem it post-able.

August is here. I'm entering Q3 of my chemo year. GEARIN' UP FOR A STRONG YEAR-END.

Things are going well, overall. I have no reason to complain. I could be in wretched shape, unable to manage life or to complete my chemo, and this isn't the case. So I'm a lucky dawg.

However, I will share a few observations on how these heavy toxic chemicals are affecting my faithful workhorse of a bod (hang in there, big guy) as we enter MONTH NUMBER EIGHT of this peculiar drug habit I've cultivated in my mid-30s. (Valium seemed too retro. Cocaine? Nah, done to death. But "5-FU"... hmm. Expensive. Obscure. Now we're talkin.)

1. Ick
Because of gastrointestinal mayhem that is starting to follow no particular timeline, I can never be sure if I should bite the bullet and go out on the town, or stay home where I can be sick with dignity. I honestly can go from completely fine to miserably sick within 10 seconds, with no prior warning. (I've timed it.) The result? Chemo IS affecting my social life. (and come on, EGAD. Anything but that. Take my limbs, not my parties.)

2. Oww
"Ok," say the chemo gods. "Your wish is my command. We'll take your limbs. And your little dog, too." My feet and hands are now in a perpetual state of numbness. I have a bit of a hard time typing now, as I hit all the wrong keys. I also stub my toes almost daily. D'oh.

3. Ack
After a hearty start to the year, my exercise regimine has tapered off to... NO EXERCISE AT ALL. The last time I swam, two months ago, I couldn't feel my fingertips or feet, so I got out in a huff and decided to "let it be". (Even though I may feel like "I am the Walrus", I gotta remember: "Happiness is a Warm Gun.") However, I am now signing up for a 2-mile open water swim on Sept 11. It's a cancer fundraiser, and I'm a swimmer. How can I say no? I got in the pool a few days ago for the first time in months, and it felt utterly insane. Shooting needles of numbness (trippy, I know) coursed through the length of my arms and legs, so that I could feel about half of what was really happening. Were it not for my many years of swimming and just inherently understanding how to move through the water, I would have totally felt like an out-of-control aquaspaz.

4. Ummm...
At my last chemo appointment, my doctor let me know that I have "nerve damage" from the drug oxalliplatnin (sp?), and all my insane tingling and numbness is normal. Ahem. "Nerve damage". Does that make anyone else feel a little funny in their tummy? Ah, but don't worry-- once I complete chemo, it should go away, in a year. Should. Year.

He also told me the cold water of Lake Washington would be very uncomfortable for me to race in, due to my neuropathy. I'm now waffling if I should do the race or not. This is depressing to me, as I NEVER miss a challenge like a swim race. Grrr.

On the days following chemo, my brain is really STOOPID. I can't track conversations very well, I don't feel like writing or talking on the phone, and I'm easily frustrated by all of it. I miss the old me! If you met me for the first time on the days just following chemo, you'd think I was an uninteresting bitch. (INSERT JOKES LIKE, "THAT AND EVERY OTHER DAY!" HERE.)

But, my next PET scan is Tues the 17th. Based on the results of that, my doc will let me know if I'm done with chemo or if I get to trudge into month #9. And don't think it hasn't crossed my mind that I was in fact planning to get pregnant this past January. Here we are, almost 9 months is strange, isn't it?

Feel free to donate to my team's efforts, if you like. And check out Neil's write-up about me. Awww.

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