The Case of the Awkward Girl Who Looked Forward to Chemo

I've hunkered down since Thanksgiving. With no travel and no conflicts, I had no excuses to play around with my chemo schedule and throw in that extra week or two in between treatments. I'm so grateful that my little tumors give me the option of the shorts jaunts off the recommend schedule, but it was time to get this train back on the treatment tracks, and remind those babies that they should be getting their bi-monthly

Thanks to my (technically) official oncologist changing up his clinic schedule, and my unwavering desire to only get infused at my current (and beloved) infusion room, I see my (unofficial) oncologist on Fridays now. This is only possible because my insurance covers home care. I highly recommend this to everyone on That Damn Pump. I'm sure I had this option for those first 2 years that I dragged my sick, braless self out of bed and back into the bloody oncology building for my disconnect, but no one bothered telling me. You can thank me for this life changing advice after you sit on your own couch, in the pajamas you've been wearing for the last 48 hours, and casually let a nurse have their way with you.

I've been tolerating FOLFIRI amazingly well. If you were to see me, you'd never know that this very treatment sent my weight plummeting into the double digits twice over the last 3 years, or left me deliriously high on nausea pills in a dark room for days. For the last year, I've come home from treatment, plopped down in bed with That Damn Pump, and spent the weekend wide awake, craving comfort food and Netflix.

Medical experts are at a loss to explain my miraculous tolerance on something that has otherwise incapacitated me. I just shrug it off and give all the glory to my favorite antiemetic drug Emend, while shoving an entire gluten-free pizza into my mouth. Somewhere in the background, The Real Housewives of Somewhereinamerica screaming at each other provides the ideal ambient noise for a nap.

My most recent scan confirmed that FOLFIRI continues to work. Nothing has grown, nothing new has (ever) grown, and it's business as usual for the next 3 months. My oncologist showed me the pictures from my scan, and I must apologize to every radiologist I secretly called lazy for never actually counting all my little tumors. Simply calling them "innumerable" in every report just seemed half-assed for something getting paid a lot of money to count them.  They may be tiny, but by golly there really are too many to count - like sprinkles on a cupcake. But there they all sit, most never really ever having grown, yet still making things appear more complicated than they really need to be.

Despite my private weekend parties with Netflix and 500 calorie containers of the most amazing gluten-free macaroni and cheese ever, I don't bounce back like I once did. I find myself living off my nausea pills after those antiemetic drugs wear off, and coming home from work to take a nap before picking up the kids. What was once an intense few days of feeling craptastic and moving on, has turned into an elongated stretch of couch time that surpasses a week post-treatment.

But I don't mind the grind, as I know it keeps me alive. It helps that I have amazing mental resilience, and rarely let my future of infinite treatments get to me. Daily I hear the stories, and connect with the people in my little community that aren't responding to the toxic crap, continue to have new spots show up on each scan, live with chronic pain from tumors growing in all the wrong places, and hope the newest drug gets approved before time runs out. I freely admit to complacency, when I really should know better.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Wow Sarah. You ain’t kidding when you say you have amazing mental resilience. It’s all about one day at a time, isn’t it.