- NHL Treatment
- Hodgkin's Treatment
- Clinical Trials
- Monoclonal Antibodies
- Types of NHL
Lymphoma and Pets
6th chemo down...2 more to go!
The day of my chemo treatment is always so depressing. I normally have it at about 2:30 p.m. so I'm pretty much spending those days waiting until that time to go get "poisoned." When I get to the Oncology department is when the reality sets in that I am a "real" cancer patient arriving to my chemotherapy appointment...not a good feeling. The whole atmosphere is pretty dreary. I am always the youngest patient there, so often get lots of stares directed my way. And the waiting area is just packed full of people, and most look so sick and lifeless...not that I look much better, but it just makes the whole setting seem mournful. When I am called back to get my chemo treatment, the sick feeling in my stomach really starts up. I am given anti-nausea medications to stop me from feeling nauseous/vomiting, and then the nurse gives the pharmacy the "okay" to put together my 4 drug chemotherapy combo. The nurse cleans, numbs, and "accesses" my port and then gets ready to start pumping me full of the yucky drugs. During my last chemo, even the sight of these drugs made me want to vomit...especially the bright reddish pink one (Adriamycin). I have no idea how I am going to get through 2 more treatments without getting sick. Everything about chemo makes me feel disgusting and nauseous. It's like going out drinking shots of tequila ALL night and then getting sick from it and thinking about what you drank the next day...complete stomach turn and watery mouth...UGH!
With chemo #6, I again did not feel the horrible side effects until about Sunday night. My face started to turn a dark orange/red color, my skin started to feel irritated, my stomach got really queasy, esophagus burned horribly, hands & feet were tingly, severe pain in my neck & chest, and I felt weak, tired, & lethargic. This lasted until today before it has started to slowly wear off...and I have been HATING every second of how I have felt. My sense of smell is so strong, and my taste buds are dull. Nothing tastes right, even water has the nastiest taste! It is so hard to drink a lot of water during those really bad days because it tastes like chemicals to me.
On a more positive note, my white blood cell count has been good enough that I have not had to get any shots to boost it...I heard they are very painful. Often times, people's chemo treatments gets postponed due to a low white blood cell count, but my counts have been hanging in there pretty good so I have not had to postpone any treatments. Also, my hair has started to grow back. It is very sparse, but it seems to be getting longer. It still looks ridiculous so I often wear a wig or a head scarf when I go anywhere. I was concerned about it growing back since I am still going through chemo and thought that since cells are dying, nothing should be growing yet...but when I asked my Doctor about it he said it is normal...hopefully he is right, since he also said that my burning esophagus is "GOOD," obviously he has never felt the pain of a burning esophagus, because there is nothing good about it.
One of the many hard parts of having cancer and going through chemo is trying to make people understand just how sick and exhausted I feel from my treatments. No matter how I try to explain it, nobody will fully know unless they experience it themselves. Fortunately, most people in my life have been SO amazing and understanding...I appreciate them so much. If I had to choose something positive that has come with having cancer, it is that I truly know now who my "real" friends & family are, and will forever be grateful to those people & keep them close in my life.
I am surprised by some people that I know who have not even said one word to me through this (I think that it is always better to say something rather than nothing), or there have been those who have not been very understanding when I haven't felt well enough to attend an event or hang out like I used to. As much as I would love to continue living life normally right now...my life is anything but that. Don't get me wrong, I love to try doing "normal" things when I am feeling well enough and have the energy to do so, but I am just surprised that some people have acted upset or mad at me when I have not been able to, it really is so selfish of them...and at this point I have no room in my life for selfish people. It is not like I am just battling a cold here...I am battling something much more serious. I don't expect people to treat me "special," but just have some respect for how I may be feeling from my treatments and not get offended or take it personally if I pass on an invite.
My next chemo (#7) is on Thursday June 9th, please send lots of good thoughts my way :)
I wish so badly that I was already finished and had no more chemo treatments left...but I'm just grateful to be in the homestretch. I am really hoping that radiation is a breeze compared to chemo...from what other people have told me, it's about 50/50. About half have said it is super easy compared to yucky chemo....and the other half have said it was worse. Each person's experience is so different, I guess I will just have to find out for myself. Thank you SO much again for all of the good thoughts and prayers!! They are VERY much appreciated!!