Saturday, December 10, 2011

Too tough to handle

Well, my life has taken its usual turn into the toilet.

I start chemo next Tuesday, 3 sessions, 21 days apart. Then 21 days after the 3rd session, 5 weeks of radiation, every weekday, weekends off. (cause to celebrate, yes?). Then resume chemo, 3 more sessions. That effectively screws me for the next 6 + months.

Bald and freezing in this frostbitten part of the country. Lowered white cell count (hello, infections), lowered red cell count (hello, fatigue and anemia), disappearance of all body hair. As if the very treatments are not enough, I will spare you (for now) the other probable side effects.

Had to order a wig and pay extra for the expedited shipping. Otherwise, it will not be here soon enough to insulate my bald head. And a cap to just wear around the house and to sleep in. Homes are pretty cool during the winters up here, and if I am too cold, I awaken and shiver. Already bought myself an electric throw (smaller than an electric blanket - just need enough to cover ME). And I regularly sleep with sox on (don't like to be cold AT ALL).

I am angry -- so SO angry. I wish God would find another Job. This particular one wants so badly to resign from the position that she did NOT sign up for. I thought I cried a lot when my husband died. That is nothing, compared to the tears I am shedding so frequently now.

I know that I will be the subject of gossip, although people who DO talk about these kinds of things, just do not see it that way. I have a few CLOSE friends that I do and will talk with. But those phone calls about "how are you doing?" just do not fly. If you can't be supportive and genuinely mean it, don't bother. Don't tell me what has worked for you (unless you have gone thru these treatments). A very nice acquaintance recently contacted me via e-mail. She went thru chemo for breast cancer several years ago and has already mentioned some good things to me.

The septic-system guy told her that someone undergoing chemo can "kill" a septic system. Huh. Poison for me, poison for someone's septic system when I visit 'em. If it was warm outside, I would volunteer to pee outside. But it isn't, so I won't.

Every time I brush my hair, or wash or comb it, or dig it out of the collar of my winter jacket, I remind myself that I won't be doing this much longer. And I am sad. Hair is so much of what a woman perceives herself to be. Those who remark that "it's only hair" (said by those who have NOT had this wonderful experience) - you can take a flying (fill in the blank). This is not comforting to tell anyone, and especially not to tell a woman. I will spend the next 6 + months feeling and looking absolutely crummy. Trying to eat when there is no appetite, trying to sleep when I am absolutely exhausted yet too miserable to nap, trying to keep warm when my body weight is still not that great, trying to avoid infections (yeah, no one ever coughs or sneezes in this wintry area), trying to get things done when the energy level is down.

My friend (who lives in Texas' Hill Country) told me that Robin Roberts (an ABC news person) merrily went about her "usual" life while dealing with breast cancer. And this friend told me that she discovered that Ms. Roberts was able to do this because she could afford a drug that costs $6,000 dollars and which really beefs up ones energy level. My friend was not that fortunate. Finally, towards the end of her treatment and with her blood counts very, VERY low, she had this drug and realized how nice it would have been, if she could have afforded it all along. There is no justice, no mercy, no equality, where cancer is concerned.

I have some photos of myself with hair. I had them taken, so that I can go into the hairdresser with my wig (delivery next week) and have it trimmed into a reasonable resemblance of my "old" look. When my head is shaved (probably the week after next), I hope to be able to be brave enough to have photos taken and to post them, too. But no promises.

Well, I have probably written a depressing blog that most will not want to read. But it IS my blog, and for me it is a public journal. My life goes on, but I am no so sure that I want it to. Too tough... I will break soon.

1 comment:

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