February 27, 2017
Take a deep breath in, hold your breath…breathe.
I’ve heard this phrase repeatedly during my numerous hospital visits; CT Scans, PET scans, MRIs, blood draws, X-rays and other various medical procedures. For now, it seems I can breathe a bit easier. My collapsed lung has been reinflated, several times, by draining the cancerous fluid my body is producing in its effort to fight off the tumors that have invaded. Hopefully, this battle will become better fought with the help of my precious chemo pills.
Things have moved forward here in Texas. The doctors and medical staff at MD Anderson have answered my seemingly endless questions, started me on a treatment plan and giving me the hope and courage needed to endure this war against cancer. Here’s how things are going thus far.
Day 1 of treatment: (AKA 1st day of sobriety)
Arrive at MD Anderson entirely too early to be awake enough to know what the heck my day holds. Wander around the main building from floor to floor, getting blood taken, poked and prodded — not in a good way. I stop by the pharmacy for my much-anticipated treatment pills. I’m briefed on the side effects of the very expensive, hopefully magical, golden laced chemo pills. Various side effects, but I’m most saddened to learn that I can longer eat grapefruit or drink alcohol — so much for my grapefruit mimosa weekends.
More wandering around the hospital, consult with Dr. Evans about the final medical procedure I have scheduled that will make draining the fluid easier in the future. I’m assured that I’m “the perfect candidate” and that it will make things much better for me in the coming months. Sounds good, a no brainer. What isn’t mentioned is that this surgery — yeah he never used the word surgery, being cut open, sewed back up and sent along my merry way was gonna SUCK MONKEY BALLS!!!
AnyWHO. Finally leave hospital later that afternoon feeling like I just got beat up and smacked down by Lennox Lewis. We pack up and hit the road for the 4.5-hour drive to Dallas. Once we arrive in Dallas, give the Texas gang hugs and kisses and get settled in at my brother’s house I take me first chemo pill. Not sure what I expected, perhaps rainbows and unicorns prancing about to some Bruno Mars song. At over $130 per pill, I don’t think this is an unreasonable expectation. But alas, I was only rewarded with a sleepless night, trying to find a position that didn’t cause extreme pain and allow me to catch some much need beauty sleep.
Day 2 of sobriety
Take the second dose of the chemo pill in the AM (I need to take one pill every 12 hours) and manage to get a couple hours of sleep thanks to my pain killers. I can’t believe those savages — um, surgeons let me leave the hospital without letting me know the world of hurt I’d be in and not suggesting anything for my pain. Good thing I’m prepared for these damn curveballs.
One side effect of the chemo pill, that is apparently very common in most people, is blurry vision, which usually goes away after your body gets used to the drug. Imagine my surprise when for about 10-15 minutes in the afternoon everything starts to look like a mild psychedelic trip. Around the edges everywhere I look there’s a zigzagged moving border. It’s kinda pretty and definitely interesting. I look around my new environment amused and feeling only slightly unbalance. Hey, maybe these pills are magic after all!
The big outing today was watching Moana and Trolls with my nieces and nephews (the Texas gang). They are seriously adorable — jumping, running, laughing, and dancing. It’s nearly impossible to have a dull moment with these four kiddos around. Kids these days! Who says being sober is boring?
Falling into my treatment schedule, one chemo pill in the morning and another pill 12 hours later in the evening. Still a bit sore, but starting to feel better. The big outing today was watching my nephew’s soccer game. So things are moving along nicely. Taking it easy, resting up and spending time with family. I’ll be spending a few more days here in Dallas before heading back home to Alaska with my parents. I’m looking forward to hopefully feeling a bit better every day and getting back to my fabulous life.
Slept in a bit today, since I was up late watching The Hangover — guess those crazy hangover days are behind me — while writing this next post till the wee hours of the morning. My alarm goes off for my chemo pill. I take it and go back to sleep. Only to be awoken an hour and a half later to vomit in the thankfully nearby toilet. Hmmm. Nausea is a common side effect, but the first time I’ve experienced it. Probably because I took the pill on an empty stomach. So that’s something to remember in the future.
It’s all one huge learning curve. Changing your reality of what’s normal. Speaking of reality changing, I think it’s time for a nap. Not something the old me would usually indulge in, but hey if I’m going into battle against cancer, I’m gonna need to conserve my energy so I can do some proper ass kickin when needed.
Taking it day by day, thankful for every moment. Remembering to breathe.
Inhale, exhale, repeat.