Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In the BC days, when I would hear that someone has cancer, my mind would immediately picture a bald ten-year-old clutching a teddy bear in a hospital bed. A kid with the biggest grin surrounded by the grossest of situations. "Oh poor kid," I'd think. "That must be awful." And the kids would get their wish of a visit by their favorite celebrity or a trip to Disney World and I'd think "That's great that people do that for those kids."

And when I was diagnosed, that is kind of what it was like for me. There was a frenzy; a whirlwind of activity. I was sick; tests and treatments could not come fast enough. The drugs and the illness and the treatments made the first six weeks fly by in a haze of surreal drama. It was an almost exciting existence. I could focus on the adventure and the positive news and the overwhelming support as our families circled the wagons to deal with this crisis.

It wasn't until round four that the awful normalness of it all set in. There is not so much whirlwind adventure, just more of the chemo. More of my Mom doing my laundry and me being sick. My body is in much worse condition than it was after round two, now I cannot recover completely from one before I have to get the next. I blogged once about the wilters, the other chemo patients I would watch wilt during treatment while I bounced in for my infusion and bounced out a few hours later. Now I am a wilter. Round five kicked my ass before it was fully in the vein, there was no bouncing out to get my ears pierced afterwards.

It is just a different world than it was for me, even in August. The thing about cancer treatment is that it keeps dragging on, long after the 'excitement' is over. I find myself complaining a lot more and I dread the next round of chemo something fierce. I mean I really don't want to do it. If blubbering like a baby would mean I never, never, never had to go back there I would do it.

Today I woke up at 5:30 running a fever. It took me a little while to realize that was what I was feeling because the achy, warm way I feel all over with a fever is the same kind of feeling as the tail end of the bone pain. But I got up and took my temp and sure enough had a 101.3. I got my mom up. Not exactly sure why I got her up now. I was just feeling pretty sick and the Cancer Center has taught me to fear fevers. So we got up and she sat with me. And when the office opened I called to let my doc know. The had me come in for an informal look-see. I got there about 10:00 and they drew some blood for a count. And we waited on the couch in the lobby forever while they ran the labs. My counts are really low, which means I am at risk of infection, which means antibiotics. And they took more blood from my port to culture in case that is the site of the infection.

This is the first time since it was placed that I had the port accessed without my numbing cream and boy-howdy that hurt. I am very thankful for my numbing cream that I don't have to feel that each time. I may start carrying it with me, just in case. Kidding, I am not that much of a baby. I am a big girl. And I said that, out loud while the nurse accessed it. And Jennifer, my super nurse, was nearby and heard me. She said "We know that. I knew when you first came in here you could take a lot." And she said it with such seriousness that it gave me pause. I mean, I know I am tough, I'm still here aren't I? But it doesn't seem that special to me. Does she mean that? Does the cancer nurse really think I am tough? That is kind of cool I guess. Made me feel better about my whiney-babyness lately. Jennifer the cancer nurse thinks I am tough. So there.

My Dad showed up this afternoon. He was worried about me. He doesn't like to hear of me being drugged up on the couch for a whole day. He is mistrustful of too much medicine and he and my mom have always clashed on the topic. He thinks she is influencing me into taking too much drugs, and she doesn't want me to hurt at all. I am somewhere in between the two of them. My mom will tell you that I argue about every damned pill she puts in front of me. I won't take the vitamins she wants me on. I won't take the pain meds before I am in agony.

My Dad just had to come look at me, he says. We went to the store together, just me and him. And we talked. I told him to trust me, that I don't like the drugs any more than he does. Less at this point, if I never had to take a darvocet for bone pain ever again I would be ecstatic. I too, am wary of sleeping pills and overkill pain meds. But honestly, I am not talking cliche here when I say that the bone pain is as intense as labor pain. It really is. I gave birth without pain meds and I would do it again. I have stamina and endurance and a high pain tolerance. But the unrelenting buffeting of my own bones against my body is simply staggering. I hated sleeping yesterday away in a drug haze, but the pain is really that bad sometimes. And with only one more round to go, those days are numbered and neither my mom nor my dad will have to worry about it any more.

Tomorrow is my fourth wedding anniversary. I am sorry to say that we have no plans. Not being able to say one day to the next how I will be feeling, it was not really possible to plan something special. David took the next two days off, so hopefully we can ditch the boy for a few hours and take some time together for lunch or dinner or a movie maybe. Something. I am sad that we don't have a celebration planned. It's just another cancer victim this year.

Grrrr....I am feeling sorry for myself again. I have got to stop. It is ridiculous to be upset about all the little stupid crap when I am going to be cured of cancer. Does anything else matter? Anything? No. Not to me, not to David and not to Jackson. Feeling sorry for myself has no place in this life! So there. Fuck Cancer.


Jooley Ann said...

You have EVERY right to unload. The treatments really do become a grind -- and one that you have to endure alone. All the help in the world can't change the fact that this is sitting squarely on your shoulders. And that totally sucks. So I think you should feel perfectly okay about feeling sorry for yourself sometimes!! I'm sure as hell not going to judge you for it. I can assure you I wouldn't handle something like this with remotely as much aplomb as you have.

I do wish you wouldn't fret about the pain meds, though. I'm 100% in your mom's camp on this one. The pain of natural childbirth is accompanied by the incredible miracle of welcoming a beautiful baby into your life. The pain of cancer? There's nothing good about it. I'd blot it out at every opportunity.

It's the understatement of the year to say we all look forward to the final chemo round being o.v.e.r! You won't be a wilter much longer! Fuck cancer indeed!!

Fire Berry said...

Fuck Cancer.

Marsha Rules.

radioactive girl said...

I can completely relate to this. I had/have cancer 2 years ago and am still having tests done to see if the spots left in my lungs are still cancer, if the salivary glands that are swollen are cancer, etc. Nothing will ever be just a routine doctor visit ever again. Everything is suspicious, and it just plain sucks. I feel for you! Cancer sucks!