6 Weeks in Rashville

The perks of switching chemotherapy drugs after all these years include having hair again, and not feeling sick every other weekend. One doesn't appreciate feeling normal until they've spent almost every other weekend for the last 5 years playing a game of feeling-crappy-roulette.

I also don't have to drag around That Damn Pump. I'm giving the ol' oral chemo another try, despite throwing in the towel almost 2 years ago when my hands and feet just couldn't handle rotting off. It's simply the pump in pill form, and at a lower dose than my previous attempt. May my hands and feet schluff off with far more grace this time, as we gradually raise my dose to find the most tolerable point.

Relatively speaking, it's not that bad.
The one side effect that I both dreaded and anticipated with my switch to Erbitux was the infamous acne-like rash it is known for. Having battled my skin throughout adulthood, one doesn't look forward to getting out-of-control acne in the many places it might appear. It gave me another reason to love winter, as I enter my 6 weeks in Rashville during the time of beanies and scarves. The catch here, or so I hear, is that you want the rash. Apparently it's a sign that the drug is actually working - so welcome you pimply pustules.

I say 6 weeks, as I've been assured by the infusion room pharmacist that the rash should only stick around for that long before crusting over and going away. I'm 2+ weeks in, and as expected, I woke up to a cluster of teenage angst on my chin before the first week was done. By evening my nose was erupting like an overcooked creme brûlée. There are no better words to describe what was happening to every pore available on my nose. I was told not to pop them, but asking me to not pop a pimple is like expecting me to walk past a bowl of M&Ms without dumping them all in my mouth at once.

Two weeks from my first pimple sighting and I'd say the rash is most evident on my chest. My nose has calmed considerably, my scalp hurts, and my nose and face is now plagued by dry, chapped skin that I like to coat in Aquaphor multiple times a day. I also give it a dose of vitamin E oil, and a few other treats at night when I get home. My pillow cases are well moisturized and probably ruined.

But over all a little rash and some intensely dry skin is easy to live with given that I get to feel so good. I met with my oncologist on Friday, and short of him seeing the radiating glow glistening off my greased up face, he could tell I was very pleased with my new regime.

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