I'm not going to try to sugarcoat or glamorize this (not that I would even know how to): Having cancer sucks. Going through chemotherapy sucks even more. As the title implies, I just started Cycle 2 today, meaning that this was my third session. Sitting there in the freezing cold infusion center for a couple of hours is never really that bad. It's boring and uncomfortable, but not something that I can really complain about.
Afterward is a different story.
After my very first session, I made the mistake of thinking, "Hey, this isn't so bad! I feel fine!" and I went to my 4:00-6:45 class that night. I realized what a bad idea that was as soon as the ten pills I took wore off - around 5:00 pm.
My second error in judgment was assuming (hoping, really) that I only felt so terrible because it was only my first treatment. "I'll get used to it," I told myself. "The next time will be better."
After Cycle 2.1, I feel nauseated and tired - more so than after my first treatment. You know that feeling you get after a long road trip, when you're carsick and dizzy and sooooo tired even though you did absolutely nothing? That's how I feel right now, only about ten times worse. Ondansetron and Prochlorperazine seem to help a little with the nausea, but nothing takes away the feeling that I've had my life force drained out of me.
So while I'm still complaining, what else should I mention?
- I don't know why, but the idea of getting blood drawn from my PICC line freaks me out. Maybe it's the idea of getting stuff taken out from an open wound. ::shudder:: So far, I've been getting my blood drawn from my other arm, which hasn't been a big deal until yesterday. I had problems with getting the vein to stop bleeding, even after applying pressure. I guess from now on I'll have to suck it up and just use the PICC line for its other intended purpose.
- [WARNING: This is gross.] Speaking of the PICC line, I seem to be having a pretty bad allergic reaction to the adhesive on the dressing. I have all these bright pink bumps along my upper arm and one of the rashes was leaking some kind of questionable, yellow, pus-like fluid. Be thankful I didn't post pictures. :D
- On a completely different note, I'm hungry but the smell of food makes me want to gag. I guess I'll be living on apples, peanut butter, and white toast for the next two to three days.
- Water tastes like metal - ick.
Despite everything that's wrong with me right now, I'm still trying to look on the bright side of things. I've had two readers and a handful of friends and family members who've told me that I seem to have a positive attitude about all this. I guess it's because I'm trying not to complain too much (read: as much). I try to keep that old proverb in mind: "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
Besides, believe it or not there has been at least one good thing to come out of this whole experience: Some of my friends whom I haven't seen in months (or years!) decided to come visit me both in and out of the infusion center. That was really what my After Christmas Party was all about this past holiday season - spending time with people who really love and support me. For anyone else who is experiencing this roadblock (and certainly anyone who is worse off than I am), try to remember this: Sure, having cancer sucks. More often than not, chemotherapy is going to make the experience suck more. But try to see the big picture - you ARE getting better. Maybe a year or two from now when I'm completely better, I won't remember the cold infusion room or how much my arm itched or how tortuous it was to not be able to eat sushi for MONTHS. Instead, I hope I will remember that I was strong enough to get through this.
That is, strong enough both physically and mentally.