2.20.2012

I'll Have a Side of Effects

I've read countless stories of how colon cancer chemo affected those blessed enough to experience it.

Some were a little fatigued but went on with life. Others were down for the count the entire 6 months.

I'm definitely rolling right down the middle of the road with these top 3:

Fatigue
The fact that I spent the first 48 hours after my first infusion in a "chemo coma" is an understatement. I was fatigued to the point of crust forming in weird places on my face. This time around it was just as brutal, with a little more nausea factored in and a longer recovery time. I might have emerged after two days for my pump disconnect, but I was not ready to reenter society.

I think today is the the day I might actually brush my teeth and take a bath!

Just kidding.

Kinda.

I think I'm going to be milking this malaise for days as the rounds go on.

I'm still likening it to a hangover, and I have to ask myself who would go out and willingly drink so much knowing that they're going to feel like this every other week. Then I remember my early twenties and I take that all back.

Self-inflicted illness is sadistic.

Cold Sensitivity
My doctor said this would take upwards of 5 months to come in to play as the drugs built up in my system. Yet when I read various message boards, it seemed to be the top side effect everyone mentioned.

It means anything from drinking cold water to touching things in the fridge feels like a million tiny needle-wielding men attacking. It took two rounds to hit me, so cold beverages are no longer an option. In the mean time, I'll commence the further staining of my teeth with lots and lots of hot tea.

Neuropathy
This is anything from a tingling to a loss of feeling in hands and feet. The first time I was hooked up to my pump, my fingers felt weird. The second time it was immediate. As I was trying to type future appointments into my phone before I left the infusion room, I found it impossible and finally gave up and took the appointment card from the scheduler. My hands did not work. My fingers crinkled up. I was useless.

Don't worry, it took my about 20 minutes to master texting with my working pinky fingers, but don't ask me to do anything that require opposable thumbs. The only thing I can liken it to is when you get those weird toe cramps. If you get them, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you don't get them, skip down to the next paragraph. My thumbs just get that weird cramp and move in a direction for which I am not asking them to go. And they stay there.

As the days pass, the neuropathy is lessening in frequency. No doubt it will last longer and get worse with each treatment. If you see me walking around with my hands shriveled up, try not to stare too hard.
This is going to make pushing my cart at Target very awkward.
It's like my little thumb gets scared and hides in its cave. 

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