Here We Go Again

The time arrived when my treatments began again, and the routine of going to the hospital five days in a row became unbearable, especially that twenty-five consecutive radiation treatments to my torso were added.  Excluding weekends, I was at the hospital every day for over a month.

Radiation is cumulative, so I didn’t feel its effects right away.  But over time, the skin in the center of my torso began to burn – literally.  You could see the blackened skin flaking off, revealing reddened skin too sensitive to touch.  By then, I could barely stand on my own.  All the side effects from the chemo and the radiation coming simultaneously, forced me to hospital again for several days.

The chemo’s potency reduced a second time still proved too much for me.  I was at the hands of the doctors and their team.  They had to come up with a plan that would work for me – a recipe that intended to save my life.  Hopefully, the next session, that overlapped the last week of radiation, would be better tolerated with an even lesser dose.

 

I take this opportunity to wish every one a beautiful and safe holiday and a New Year filled with promise and peace.  May your hearts be full of love and your children close to you always. 

My next post will be on January 3, 2017, so stay tuned!

Be well,

Patricia

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Tolerating Agony

The first two treatments were treacherous.  If each treatment was going to put me in such peril, was it worth the risk?  After all, I learned that chemotherapy can actually kill you, and the things that my body went through those first six or seven months, made me wonder if I would make it passed the preventative measures I enrolled in.

After a few days, all the chemo side effects seem to come at once.  Try vomiting with painful mouth sores swelling the skin next to and around your teeth, staying hydrated when you’re constantly drawn to the toilet, and sitting when all that diarrhea pushes out hemorrhoids.  The extreme burnout made it more difficult to handle the rushing to the bucket and the washroom.  My God, make it stop.  It was out of control.  How can my one-hundred-and-ten-pound debilitated physique endure such exaggeration?  One effect over another, my deficiencies accumulated.  Then the fever began.

One thing the nurses warned me about was fever.  I was to go to the emergency the moment I started a fever.  So I called the ambulance, and after some questions, they took me to my treating hospital, where I was placed in isolation.

Nurses immediately connected me to a saline drip for hydration.  I couldn’t recognize then that I was severely dehydrated, but I’m able to identify it after years of living in my new body.  To avoid it happening, I must constantly take in liquids, though little at a time.  There is no guarantee that drinking will prevent it, especially during rough patches like chemotherapy and diarrhea.  Now when my urine is darker than usual, I make an effort to drink more.

After about one week in the hospital, I was sent home to recover some strength before my next chemo sessions in three or four weeks.  Back in my zombie state, I went through each day wondering when the torture would end.

 

Be well,

Patricia

Blogging About Cancer

Each time I walked in, heads would turn slightly, and I could feel the eyes on me, the other patients’ impassive expression nevertheless loudly reminding me where I was.  My appointments were always in the afternoon, so I don’t remember ever seeing any one else walking in after me.  Chemo treatments usually lasted at least a couple of hours up to a day.  Some people were in that room since early morning, but didn’t have to return the rest of the week like I did.

There were usually different patients in the treatment rooms during each of my sessions.  I was often struck with the feeling of,  “Oh no, not another one.  How many people come in here every day?”

I don’t remember seeing the others becoming nauseous, but I soon had the vomit tray on my lap every visit.  Was that due to my gastric treatment?  Was I the only one receiving this type of treatment, and looked the most sick?  Was it that my body couldn’t support the chemo takeover?  I realize some people don’t get nauseous with chemo, and I attributed mine to the type of cancer treatment I was receiving.

By the end of the session, I was exhausted, even after the first treatment that wouldn’t take effect until days later.  Somehow, the gagging and nausea began the moment I’d step in the house.  Perhaps the anti-nausea medications they doped me with during the treatment were to avoid dealing with patients vomiting all over their furniture and floor.  That would certainly be discouraging to watch for hours every day, and add to patients’ already sensitive state.

Following each treatment, I couldn’t get home fast enough.  Just get me a blanket, a bucket, and bury me on the couch.  I was too tired to go upstairs to bed, and I wanted to be around Isabella as much as I could.

 

One year ago, I started this blog, and I’ve been loving all the great feedback and support.  Thank you for inspiring me to continue sharing my experience.  It was a frightening move going from writing privately to writing publicly.  I am content that I still do write for myself.  This means I want this book finished, and with that, I hope to spread great insight on what it’s like to have cancer, to know someone with cancer, to learn from cancer, and to love from cancer. 

Cancer patients may not all have the same opportunities, but we are all winners in our fight.  It’s not easy, and we must deal with what’s been handed us.  All we can wish for is the best outcome. 

Thank you again!

Patricia