June 18, 2013

The Bitch is Back - Cycle 4 (1/3 of the way done)

Chemotherapy is a bitch. Treatment 3 was really rough on me and I entered my fourth cycle in a weakened state, my white blood count continually dropping and now hovering below the normal range which tells me my body is fighting harder and harder to repair after each treatment. My feet are numb which makes me shuffle around the house like an 85 year old woman. My fingers won't listen to my brain and seize up when I least expect it (so please forgive any type-o's as I type this with two bent fingers- thank God for the iPhone's talk to type feature!).  My daily neasuea is controlled by drugs that make me loopy. I'll shut up now because I could go on and on with this pity party. 

I am grateful for those around me who check in and show their concern as those little 'boosts' help me keep up the fight. I'm slowly coming to the realization I can't do it all and for someone like me who is a people pleasing, perfecitonist and planner, that is very difficult to accept. I'm not one to release control and admitting I can't make dinner, clean the house or get out of bed and go to work. It just isn't in my nature. But as my oncologist and chemo nurses tell me, I must. I have to put myself, my health and well being (physical and mental) FIRST. I know what they're saying is correct, so why is is so hard for me to accept?

Times like this I am thankful for my angel. Someone who has been there and done that. She is my solace in the middle of the night when I need to vent or my mind is racing with so many unknowns. 

I want to share this exchange between my angel and me … then you too can see what a shining light she is during this dark time in my life. And to any of my colon cancer friends that I've met in online threads, perhaps you can glean some hope, knowledge and inspiration from these emails as well. 

Email from Lee to Linda: 8:56PM on Monday
Sounds like I had the same regiment your having. My hands and feet were extremely sensitive. I couldn't touch anything cold and I always had to wear slippers while at home and usually 2 pairs of socks when I went out. Especially bad all 4 days after each treatment. Any time I stepped outdoors I had a scarf around my neck, mouth and nose. Couldn't handle cold.

At night my legs and feet used to spasm too. So crazy. I would try to get up and walk it out but nothing helped.

What are you feeling?

Are you wiped out tonight?
I remember not wanting to eat a thing when I returned from the city. It was almost always a 10-12 hr day from the time I left my home till I returned. Sometimes I got very nauseas coming home because we sat in stop and go traffic forever.
So many factors made it worse.

Talk soon.
Sent from my iPhone

Email from Linda to Lee: 12:45AM Tuesday
I'm having atrophy in my hands & feet, plus intermittent numbness in both. The exhaustion is extreme but the steroids in the chemo keep me waking up. The cold is extreme the first week, but my crazy, frequent hot flashes are off setting that a lot. Plus the first bite of food I take each time I try to eat causes incredible pain in the back of my mouth by my glands. I can't eat much as it causes stomach upset plus I'm just plan crabby about it all ... I dread those Mondays now & wonder how I'm going to do it without giving up. I know all my friends are well meaning by telling me how strong I am, but I don't feel it, I feel angry & weak like giving up. Greg is very supportive, but I just want to run away like an injured animal & be alone to lick my wounds. I try to find positives, but the first week is always bad & seems to be getting worse.

 from iLinda's iPhone
Email from Lee to Linda: 8:02AM Tuesday

Flat out - it sucks. I get it.

I know everyone around you means well and tries to help but you still feel alone. You're voluntarily beating the crap out of yourself, always questioning the real need to. I found the need by looking around me. My husband, kids, friends ........I wasn't ready to check out or want the C to beat me.  Right b4 my forth treatment was my birthday- I had a complete and total breakdown. Scared to death that I wouldn't celebrate another birthday and petrified of #4 side effects. That was a reality check- make a choice - then and there I thought. I couldn't live in the moment but rather live for tomorrow. Just had to get thru the moment. My internist - Dr A (also a close friend) responded to my daily, evenly hourly text messages - usually responding with "tomorrow will be better". That's what I held onto.

I'm here for you today and tomorrow,  I promise. I would take it again for you if I could!!! I mean it.

Sent from my iPhone
Email from Linda to Lee: 8:41AM Tuesday
Thank you for your kind words. I've had a couple break downs myself. My weakened state seems to get me there pretty quick! Then I do stupid things and add salt to my wounds by reading horrible stories on the internet that say chemo will kill you quicker than the cancer will, not exactly motivational material. :-/  

I think need to find something to look forward to ... yes, seeing my kids grow and make a life of their own is a biggie, living many more loving years with the man of my dreams is a biggie too! I need to come up with a short term incentive that will give me some ME time to look forward to, something I always neglect. Like a trip, a party or something to celebrate that the biggest part of my battle is over! Not sure what that would be as it seems so far way and I still have other daunting financial and job issues going on behind the scenes that prevent me from actually committing to much of anything. Hence my frustration ....

Thank you for  listening, it is comforting to have someone there who 'gets it'. 

from iLinda's iPhone
Email from Lee to Linda: 8:02AM Tuesday
After my 6th we took a few day trip with my brother and his family to Georgia. Airports and planes present a risk but we rolled the dice. To this day Dr A says that helped me so much get thru the rest. It was something to look forward to and the change of scenery was even more beneficial. Loads if sunscreen and of course a wise variety if hats. 
We even went horse back riding on the beach - another risk but Dr A knew the benefits there. The funniest was while we were there I was getting ready for dinner, went to put my wig on and forgot my wig cap. My only alternative was my daughters panties. We were all cracking up as I pranced around the room without the wig. All thru dinner my niece would have me do the bobble head to be sure the wig didn't slip. Laughter heals!

Instead of a major blow out party, we planned a big trip for last August. A true celebration for me, Mike, Michael, Mack and Annie. I started the planning around treatment #8. Kept my brain on a dream. Hawaii- paradise. 

If u can plan a special dinner date, or an overnight. ( How about a trip to nyc)😄 It helps!

Rest rest rest. 

Sent from my iPhone

1 comment:

  1. I was sitting here thinking about you, as I always do. Been thinking about you a lot and wonder on a daily basis, does she need another "thinking of you" text or card...probably not I tell myself. After reading your text exchange between you and Lee, I cried, then smiled. I want to give you "your something to look forward to". Tom and I will buy your plane ticket here, just tell me when you are able to come, now, July, August, you tell me. You've always been there for me, I'm here for you. I look forward to seeing my best friend.