If I’m watching “Kelly and Michael,” it must be Tuesday in Poison Control. Here I am again. Taxol is dripping into my arm. I know that because I have that weird medicinal taste in the back of my throat. Nothing a couple of fun size bags of M and M’s can’t mask, for now.
My docs were right about me not getting sick from this dosage and combination of chemo. I kept waiting for it last week, but after a couple of days, I knew I was in the clear. Hoping for similar results today. The Taxol can cause neuropathy in the hands, but that hasn’t started yet. Of course, now that I’ve been reminded that it could be coming, I’m sure I’ll start suffering that symptom at any moment. I’m also counting days to see if the doctors are right about my hair not falling out. That usually takes 12-16 days. I think mine started falling out at 12 days back in 2001. Then I shaved most of it off. It’s been 8 days since my first treatment; so far, so good. As bad as I am with nausea, I’d rather be sick than lose my hair. My nurse says that’s actually a pretty common sentiment in the chemo room. Too bad there’s no bargaining.
Radiation side effects aren’t supposed to start for a couple of weeks, but I swear I am feeling some of them already. The skin in the radiation area got sensitive, I was feeling fatigued, and it felt like there was a giant lump in my chest, so it was uncomfortable to swallow. That started after a few days. I also know this could be the product of my hyperactive imagination. It all went away over the weekend anyway, when I had a couple of days off. When I started treatment, I was thinking I’d prefer getting zapped on weekends days, too, to be finished sooner… But now, I think I’m going to be happy for the reprieve. I’ll still have my last treatment the day before Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to be as active as I can be, not knowing how bad the fatigue is going to be in a couple of weeks. I got a bike ride outside on Sunday, probably one of the last for the year (it’s snowing today!). I am swimming and running, and also got a fun 6-mile hike up in to Park City Mountain resort with two pals and Winnie the dog. I already rode an hour on the computrainer today, at 5:45 am, so I could get some exercise. That’s looking like it’ll be my m.o. on Tuesdays through November. The nice thing is, I’m finished with my workout at 7 in the morning. I’m supposedly going to get out of the hospital earlier than i did last week, so I’m hoping that Chemo Day M.O. includes a stop at Hector’s for lunch on the way home.
Just as it did 12 years ago, achieving as much normalcy as possible during cancer treatment is both reassuring and empowering. In that vein of thinking, I signed up for Ironman Coeur D’Alene, in June. Two of my best pals are doing it, and I knew I’d feel left out if I didn’t participate. I also think it will be a great statement to cancer, when I cross the finish line. Kind of like a “SO THERE!.” For here and now, however, a California burrito with chicken and a Dr. Pepper would be both reassuring AND empowering to me.
I’ll let you know what, if anything, happens in 4-8 days.