Crappy Relationships are Better than Abusive Ones

Have you ever dated someone that made you feel like crap, and when the relationship ended it was such a relief?

Why would you ever consider dating that jerk again?

Especially when you swore them off for good.

Next week, I’m starting up a relationship I ended 6 years ago. One I swore I NEVER wanted to get into again. But given that my hands and feet are so cracked and painful from my current EGFR-inhibitor treatment, and my quality of life has been suffering for months, I’ve decided being in a really crappy relationship is better than being in an abusive one. 

Especially when the really crappy one is really only crappy about 6 days out of the month, and the abusive one is bad every day, all day.

I’m going back on Oxaliplatin, the nasty part of the very drug combination (FOLFOX) I was on my first 12 rounds of chemo that made me spoon a bucket in a dark room and numbed my fingers/feet.

After 13 months on Erbitux, I’m thrilled to report it’s still working. I am still more than responsive and more than stable. The problem with my prolonged use is its toxicity to my skin has long reached a breaking point. My hands and feet have become so cracked and painful I find myself avoiding and dreading things like laundry, dishes, and taking out the trash. Not that we all love these daily activities, but for me they resulted in bleeding figures and a hobbled walk on the 20-some bandaids it took to even make walking possible.

I went into chemo last Friday armed with an handicapped parking pass application, and completely lost it when my beloved nurse asked me how things were going. I know I was worn down and emotionally volatile just trying to get painfully dressed every morning. I didn’t realize I was on the cusp of falling apart completely.

And fall apart I did. In front of her, in front of my pharmacist, in front of my oncologist who came into my room, in front of the volunteer who unknowingly walked into my room, and in front of the scheduler as I reworked myself into a bi-monthly schedule.

The last few months have been a daily struggle, and I found it easier to stay home in my pajamas when I could, rather than face the (literal) bloody battle it would take to get my compression garment on Fat Lefty, clothes, and shoes. I dreaded my nightly showers due to the extreme scrubbing of cracked, dry, peeling skin, and the gobs of cream I’d have to coat myself in just to try and fight the painfully dry skin that resulted from my treatments. Skin that would inevitably be cracked and flaky again within 24 hours.

I found it surprising that my skin issues, not nausea and sickness, are what ultimately impacted my quality of life. I know that feeling like I have a bad hangover every other weekend is temporary. Within days I'll be back to normal, and doing life's most basic chores will no longer be a dreaded chore.

My initial plan will be to do this until my skin can recover and enjoy a nice break. It may mean needing to reassess at my next scan, but for now I'll enjoy a smooth, clear, non-furry face, and being able to paint my nails again. I'll also appreciate not spending an extra $50 a month on cream and bandaids.

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