The Days After Chemo Number Three

I will not admit defeat, but I will admit that this chemo gave me a nice little right hook. I wasn’t completely knocked out. But there were moments I was on the ropes and needed a breather. Pardon the boxing metaphor. I think the most difficult part is knowing that I am sick because of the thing that is trying to cure me not the cancer itself. But to be fair, it is poison they inject into my body twice a month.

This time around I crashed hard. Not only did I come home and crash for several hours on the couch, but I crashed a total of 15 hours, sleeping well into the late morning hours on Friday. It was a hard sleep. A not moving a single muscle, wake up in the same position I fell asleep sleep. And then I just couldn’t stop needing sleep. I took nap after nap and went to bed annoyingly early. Even massive thunderstorms that woke me from the dead of sleep were mere minor interruptions. I instantly fell back to sleep again, sleeping until ten sometime eleven in the morning. This time around felt like the flu. Still no nausea (thank the universe), but a definite ache that felt like a weigh had been placed all over my body.

The strangest was the anvil on my chest. I had read that chemo affects the lungs a bit, but this time I really felt it. The Friday after, it was straining to take a full breath.  Even with some deep-breathing yoga, I felt like someone was pressing down on my chest and shoulders. It didn’t last very long, but that out of breath sensation aided in the flu-like feelings. So I remained on the couch watching movies and reading books. I did my daily yoga stretches and then took my nap. I’d eat something and then lie down. I’d read or talk on the phone and rest my eyes for a bit.


Short hair problems: I wake up looking like a Who from Whoville or a Muppet

Second, the hair. It is still coming out on a regular basis and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a bother. This is why woman give up and prematurely shave. They are tired of running their hands through their hair only to come away with strands falling everywhere. Although it would be so much easier, I cannot give up that sense of my femininity just yet. And it is still just strands. No noticeable clumps have started to fall. When that stage comes, it will all be taken off. Mark my words.


What my hands look like after a shower.

Hallelujah the gas wasn’t that bad this time. Little bombs here and there that still startle me and at times make me giggle like a school girl. However, the new symptom is a few mouth sores. My mouth has been dry lately. Some mornings I wake up feeling like someone poured sandpaper into my mouth in the night. No matter how much I hydrate, I cannot shake it. Then this morning I woke up with the edges of my mouth feeling as if I had bitten them in my sleep. Clearly, the mouth sores are coming. So I am sucking on ice cubes and swishing with baking soda water, hoping beyond hope that this is temporary because I really don’t want to give up tomatoes and lemons and all things yummy. The one thing that hasn’t changed is my appetite. I still want all of the foods and am still able to eat regularly and healthily! So much for the benefit of  losing a few pounds in all of this (eye roll).

And if I am being honest, what I really need are plans. Given the option to lounge around, I will take it. But when I’m forced into company and plans, I am so much happier. I can tell the first day or two after chemos are going to be non-optional rest. But after that, I kind of need the kick start into living again. The spiral into “Whoa is me. I don’t feel good” can easily be alleviated with simply being forced to do something. This is why I need to work. Why I need my kiddos. My boyfriend came over last night to fix my ceiling fan (sweet man that he is) and ended up staying for dinner. As soon as he walked through the door, my little brain popped into company mode. My eyes got brighter, my cheeks a little rosier. Now granted, I like this guy, but I just needed something beyond the ordinary to be forced out of my sick rut. So maybe that is what I will do. I will start to plan little things to do on Sundays. Just little adventures to get me out and doing something for a few hours. Because if there is one thing I know about myself, it is the fact that I am a really bad sick person. I’m not a baby. I just get very lethargic and irritable. I am the rare creature who needs to be forced to rest and then once in rest mode, I need to be forced back out into living mode. And I really hate both. But I hate cancer worse…Asi es la vida.

So to sum up this time through the words of my amazing friend Robert, who always puts it best, “I’m sorry it kicked your ass a bit, but it took THREE sessions to even GRAZE Kim Coyle. AND STILL NO NAUSEA BIIIITCH.” Damn straight, Robert!


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