This last week, I found myself especially defeated in this lovely battle I'm waging.
Though I know I'm winning the most important part, I feel like my body is succombing to all the insignificant parts.
Aside from my weight, the nausea, the peeling phalanges and the occasions where Kyle sees me sprinting to the bathroom, knocking small children down along the way, there are other side effects which are really starting to stack up like 9am traffic on the 405 freeway. But this last week, both my upstairs and my downstairs fueled my defeatist feelings with a passion all their own.
Between hardly being able to walk or sit because of one end, and having a hard time drinking, eating and swallowing because of mouth sores on the other end, I was just mildly irratable to be around. Cranky or bitchy at times might even be a better description if you asked Kyle. When one cannot participate in both ends of the digestive process without misery, it is easy to become discouraged.
I'll have to give Kyle complete praise, as he called me from the store while on a beer run a couple of weeks ago, and I begged him to bring me every product Preparation H made. What kind of man can walk up to the cashier with his craft IPAs in one hand and various other obvious packages in the other with his head held high? My man can.
But how was I a winner this week? Oh, that would be Wednesday, when I went in for my off-week labs. My nurse came up to me and exclaimed that I was the winner. And what did I win? I took 1st place for the lowest blood counts of the day. Yeah! For the first time, I was considered "critically low" with my white blood cells (WBCs), and those neutrophils (ANCs) were practically non-exsistant. Like .01, non-existant. Like perfectly legal to drive in most states, non-existant.
I was secretly hoping I might get admitted for a little overnight "vacation" at the hospital, but it was a round of shots instead. She said I needed to stay away from snotty kids and go home and put a mask on. I was at the point where I was so sick I need to wear a mask, yet I felt perfectly fine. Or at least 99.5% of me did. I was sitting in a cozy recliner, still only able to lean on one cheek, so I think she knew despite feeling great, I wasn't headed to Spin class any time soon.
I ended up getting 3 "big boy" (480mg vs. the regular 300mg) shots over 3 days, and sat there even more defeated as she tried to find enough fat on my thigh to inject me. They caught up with me by Friday night, and I crashed fast and hard with the aches and flu-like symptons they bring on. I laid in bed with a heating pad on my achy neck (caused by the bone marrow going into WBC-producing overdrive), and hoping it would make me warm enough to stop shivering from the fever.
And in all of this, if you ran into me at Target, the most obvious thing that separates me from everyone else is my fedora-covered excuse for a ponytail. But that ends up being the most minor of concerns for me. The hair loss doesn't even bother me at this point, as it's the one side-effect that currently isn't causing me any pain. Everything else, the mouth sores, the raw finger tips, the peeling feet--those are all painful reminders of what I'm putting into my body.
My infusion nurse even told me to pay careful attention, as the peeling can quickly turn into skin completely schluffing off. Amazing that I'm intentionally doing this to myself; obviously for the best and most important of reasons. It has still worn me down emotionally this week. More so than the defeat I feel trying to apply mascara to my 5 remaining bottom eyelashes.
As of now, I should have 3 more rounds before I get a break and some "maintenance" chemo. I think a few strands of hair will make it to the end, and hopefully the rest of my body can hang on.
I'm on for tomorrow, as those 3 shots amazingly paid off. My counts were still low today, but high enough in the world of chemo.