Post Chemo #1

by Val

While I was being silly, getting chemo and putting filters on Carl, he was receiving a text message that a long time family friend, who is our age, had just passed away. I’ve known this person since birth and as a toddler I couldn’t pronounce his name so it came out as Cotton. Cotton began his battle with cancer a few years ago and he fought it hard more than once. On the day I was starting a major leg of my cancer journey, Cotton’s journey was coming to a close. In less than a month this is the second person our age we have lost, with sweet Davina passing a few weeks ago. Not going to lie, losing those who are fighting beside you is a bit of mind screw.

When I look at this picture I try to put myself in Carl’s place. I can only try to imagine what emotions Carl is having in this picture. He is watching his wife start chemotherapy and trying in the moment to show no signs of the news he just received until I am done with treatment. Being a messenger about death is a heavy burden on any occasion but in this exact moment I can’t help but think it’s heavier. I think cancer may be just as hard on our loved ones as it is us fighting but naturally in a different way. Our loved ones want to protect us and make it all go away but there is little they actually can do and there is even less they can control. I hope I can keep this in mind as we move through this journey together.

Okay, let me move out of the feelings and into the technical. Let’s talk side effects.

Nausea: We went to eat before heading home and the nausea hit me while we were at the restaurant. I took some Zofran which caused a headache. Our drive home is an hour and I was made it without stopping. Symptoms never graduated past nausea and headache. Things that I have done to help with the nausea is staying on a schedule with the Zofran and eating small bland things several times a day. I have crackers on me at all times. I am trying CBD oil for the headaches caused by Zofran. (ran this past my doctor first)

I went to work the next day in the afternoon. I’ve been telling people that I have had worse hangovers than what I am dealing with right now. My nurse called to check on me and when I told her that she said that having been a “drinker” probably has helped my liver to adjust to the toxicity. Well that felt a bit heavy worded as I would never call myself a “drinker” per say but I laughed about it. So past drinking is bad for cancer but good for chemo. I find that funny.

Hot flashes and other girly things: I experience some hot flashes, mostly at night. I’m typically cold so I don’t find it unbearable. I dress in layers so that I can adjust or I sleep with a fan on with multiple blankets so that I can figure out the right combination at any moment. Today there has been some rebelling of any portion of my body that is considered female but it too is manageable.

That is really all I have dealt with in regards to side effects so far. I choose to believe there is a power in the mind. I kept saying I believed my side effects would be minimal. I was aware what they could be but why dwell on that. I may get knocked on my butt, I’ll deal with that if it happens.

One of my reasons why

This picture documents the moment that has been my motivation since Dr. Chemo Man set the date for treatment. I knew at the end of the week we had our niece’s Christmas program. My mind has been set that I would be attending. Loved ones encouraged me to wait and see how I was feeling. I let them I know would be attending this Christmas program. Chemo Education lady told me to avoid large crowds and I told her that wasn’t going to work for me because I was going to this Christmas program. Are you picking up a theme here? She agreed it was important to do things like this but she also encouraged me to wear a mask. It is fair to say I lost my shit over the thought of wearing a mask. I don’t want to look sick and I don’t want to scare the girls. I finally found some peace with the mask by getting some with silly faces on them. I let each niece pick one of the mask for themselves. Ultimately I did put on the mask for awhile because there was a lot of germy people coughing and hacking in the gym. She really wasn’t phased by the mask and I think the silly smiles on them made it less intimidating. Late edit: Please keep in mind this was late 2019 before masks became a “thing” to everyone in the world.

I have another test for my heart coming up this week . It wasn’t alarming to me that Dr. Chemo Man said something didn’t seem quiet right in the results of the previous test. I mean between that test being a three hour traumatic ordeal coupled with previous experience of having heart test ran through the years because of suspected mummer or low heart rate, how could I possibly be surprised that he wants another test. I’m less than thrilled about it after the fiasco the last one was but I know it’s important. I’m glad he is doing his thing. I’m leaving it there, him doing his thing. He’ll tell me if I need to worry. No googling this mess this week. Stay tuned to see who my pediatric veins traumatize with this test.

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