The Days After Chemo Number Five

Kim Coyle is down for the count. Man, whoever said that chemo gets easier because the body gets used to it is a big fat dirty liar. My body is about as shut down as the American government.

Fatigue: Holy Moses I am tired. Yesterday I just felt slow. I could barely pick myself off the couch to make one of the thousand trips to the bathroom because my fluid intake has nearly doubled during this whole process. (As Mom says, the faster you get this out of your system, the faster you will feel better. Liters of water go in and out.) I watched movie upon movie and read an entire book, so my mind was active. But my body would not catch up. Just sitting at the table for lunch felt like a chore.

Weird Insomnia: I am tired, but I can’t sleep for long. Last night I would sleep hard for two hours and wake up for one. Sleep hard, wake up. I almost took something, but I am afraid to mess up my body even more. On the plus side, I got through another book! Everyone needs to read Little Fires Everywhere! Really fascinating story and makes you think about the definition of motherhood.

Head and Shoulders, Knees and Calves: My head is dizzy, probably from some low blood thing. (I will get my blood checked Monday.) And my shoulders pinch because I haven’t moved much in three days. Ok, technically my knees are fine, but it went with the song. And my calves keep cramping. I know it isn’t from dehydration. I’m telling you, I pee more than a pregnant woman. So, I am trying to drink milk 🤮 and hoping that it helps.

Not quite nausea: My tummy is a rumbly. We all know what nausea feels like and this isn’t it. But my tummy is definitely not right. It hasn’t effected my appetite that much. I just feel funny. It feels more like when you are nervous or when the rollercoaster gets to the top and you know what is coming with the drop. I have been religious about taking my nausea meds because I am determined that will not by a symptom.

Arm Soreness: The site where my IV was in my left hand throbs like a bloody foghorn. It is all red and swollen and I simply cannot get comfortable. Of course the interwebs makes it seem like I am going to lose an arm. Thankfully, I went to college with some really smart doctors. Gracias, Lily Colpitts for the advice. I will get the site checked when I get my blood checked. Fingers crossed it won’t be an infection. 🤞

Hot Head: On top of all of this, it is like the freaking rainforest in Montevideo right now. It is super hot and humid and that wonderful wind Uruguay is known for has decided to take a vacation. Mom even had to buy a fan and I broke down and turned on the AC all day yesterday. My electric bill is probably going to give me heart problems, but right now I just don’t care. The heat is causing lethargy on top of lethargy. I haven’t slept with a blanket on for three nights. And I want to rip my hair right out of my balding scalp. I have never wanted to shave my head so badly in my life. Many more days of this and I will be one of those crazy people who shaves it right down the middle in a fit of rage. I have been wearing my head wraps, which seems counter intuitive, but they keep my hair off my forehead and neck and actually have a cooling effect.

To be fair, I am feeling better today. My hand is really the only thing that is truly bothersome. I am still hot and a tad bit foggy, but nothing too serious. I think the days after chemo are the hardest part. I will gladly hold out my arm for the poison pumping because I want this cancer out of my body. But feeling ineffectual is very difficult for me. I my mind says DO something and my body says sorry sista. My students read “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut during a short story unit. I am starting to realize what the handicaps in the story feel like…bags of birdshot hung on the waste, brain-disorienting noises all to equalize normality, only this isn’t normal. This is simply sheer bad luck and I get all of the handicaps that come with it.

Logically, I know the sick feeling is only temporary just as I know that being sick will be temporary. And the feeling sick just makes the good days more precious. So today, while I am feeling not great/not terrible I will create some kick-ass lesson plans for my students’ first week of school, start a new book, and take a nap so that hopefully tomorrow I can blow this popsicle stand and actually get out into the heat to celebrate my friend’s birthday. Robert was right. College did prepare me for adulthood only now I am pre-gaming with naps instead of tequila shots in order to prepare for mere hours of physical movement instead of all-nighters. I’d kill to be 21 again. So far this 31 kind of bites the big one!

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