A Day in the Life

by Debbie Twomey on May 13, 2017

Once again the idea I had for this week’s blog will have to wait. It was about the blessings of a cancer diagnosis and yes, there are blessings you never knew.

But this has been a rough week and I want to share the moments for one major reason; so when all of this is behind me I can look back and say “I made it through all that!”

Since receiving the first chemo cocktail (Cyclophosphamide-inj, Doxorubcin, HCL, Paclitaxel, Pertuzumab, and Tarstuzumab according to my Managed Care experts), I had only mild side effects such as nausea and fatigue. It was hard to tell just how much was a result of the cocktail since I pretty much fatigued most of the time. But oh I learned it could feel worse.

Wednesday my bones felt tired. Don’t ask me to explain the difference because I really can’t. It just felt like weariness set into my bones. I felt pretty tired all day but nothing to think twice about. But that night my feet hurt so badly because I went off the Predisone that was managing my RA pain. And my lower back was a bit sore as well as my neck where they went in to get the port to my chest. So I lay awake all night with a cold pack on my neck, warm pack on my lower back and my freezer slippers.

When McKenna left for school at 8 am I literally cheered. Now I could go to sleep and catch up since everything seemed to calm down. No such luck. At 8:10 my lower back started seizing up. The cramps were very severe in my kidneys which have been working overtime for a couple of days. Then the nausea hit full force and I mean like a Transformer size truck slammed into me.

I started vomiting and got the chills so bad nothing could warm me. I turned up the heat to 72; I put on 3 layers of the heaviest blankets and a warm pack on my back. Still I had the chills so bad my teeth were chattering, seriously. I was feeling so sick I could not even attempt a drink of anything let alone some precious tea that might warm me from the inside. I have had chills before but nothing so powerful.

I cannot adequately describe to you the depth of the nauseous agony I was going through. I have mentioned before just how much pain I used to be able to tolerate and though I think that has decreased in the last painful year of struggles, it is still quite a bit. It was HORREDOUS.

I share this not because I think my suffering is worse than anyone else’s or that this may be atypical. I share because this is the reality of a day in the life of Chemo/Cancer Battle. And the kicker for me is that this is a low dose to see just what my body can tolerate. Oh Oh!!!

While I lay writhing in pain all I could think of was the movie One True Thing. It was the first movie that truly depicted (for me) the horrible fight cancer patient’s face when going through chemotherapy. I kept seeing Meryl Streep hanging over the toilet vomiting and being so embarrassed in front of her daughter Renee Zellweger. And my sister Karen and I were so upset at all she was going through and the indignity of losing her hair too. In the movie Meryl’s character loses her battle to cancer but her spirit wins. Great movie ending but oh so much ugliness and suffering to get there. And it was after all, just a movie however truly depicted.         

Not sure if I care about my spirit right now. I mean I know what positive thoughts can do for your spirit and your ability to fight and believe me mine is strong. But in the throes of vomiting from the depths of your toes, it really ain’t helping much.

And I am not end stage because if I were I would not even attempt chemotherapy but go for quality of life instead. But I am fighting for this cancer to be gone from my body and hopefully never return again. That is the only reason I am going through all of this.

I am still researching foods and supplements but have discovered there are so many I have to avoid or that counteract the chemo drugs especially antioxidants. I am so confused so I am going to listen to a few testimonials of people who have gone through chemo and see what has worked for them. And I will be putting in for my cannabis card. I have never tried pot in any form but after this week I will do what I must to try to minimize these side effects. Plain and simple, my body my choice.

Today was another rough day. My kidneys keep cramping up and I had the chills this morning. It is better this evening but it is so hard to make plans for Mother’s day since I do not know how I will feel tomorrow. Still, my hope is to travel back home to Auburn to see my grandbaby Leah who I have not seen since Easter. And I would love to stop at Panera and get a salad as well as visit a friend or two.

Long gone are the days of my going back to my hometown and visiting as many family members or friends as possible before heading home. Now it would be much better if friends came to see me. And could you bring that maid service I so desperately need? Just sayin’.

Live Laugh Love                                                 


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