Midlife necessities

Midlife necessities
Midlife necessities

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Side Effects are Overrated

Well chemo cycle #3 was the opposite of #2. I was really tired the first week, and had an abundance of energy the second week. I took advantage of it, too! I met various friends for coffee (Debra!), breakfast (Jessy!) and lunch (Shineah and Charles with Gus!). Two other friends brought me delicious home-cooked dinners (Claudia with a short visit and Mary with a long one!). I did some projects around the house, and took myself out for a couple long days of shopping, a mani-pedi, and errands (including voting). I had a GREAT week, and paid for it yesterday with a headache and needing a nap. Totally worth it!

Gus and I were talking about how well I'm doing. After the chemo orientation, learning about all the possible side effects and becoming overwhelmed by everything, all we could wonder was what would happen to me and when. I have indeed experienced side effects, but they have been surprisingly mild compared to what they could be. I've only been nauseated a few times and have never lost it. Sometimes my taste buds don't seem to work but that hasn't impacted my ability to eat, even when I can't tell if I'm hungry or full. My stomach issue has been cured with prune juice, and heartburn with over-the-counter antacids. I have never had bone pain with the stomach shots, and if I remember not to drink a lot in the evening, I won't wake up to use the bathroom more than a few times instead of three or four. Yes I'm tired. But that's just a reminder of how hard my body is working in conjunction with the chemo to make sure that the cancer is wiped out completely. It's hard to know if the headaches are treatment-related, weather-related, or menopause-related. I've only had a few mouth sores that weren't even that bad, and have fought off a few cold sores. My nail beds on both my fingers and toes are discolored, but I took care of that with a few coats of nail polish! 

Then there's the hair loss. Surprised it's taking so long, but every day I notice a little bit more bald than stubs on my head. No more need to shave as the hair on my legs and underarms is not growing back. So far I still have eyebrows and eyelashes, but must have lost some nose hair because my nose is running a lot haha!

I so appreciate the cards I get in the mail, the personal texts checking in to see how I'm doing, and the phone calls to chat. My friends and family who understand how isolating it is to be home alone have made this journey so much easier. The thoughtful acts mean a lot, like Sherri doing my grocery shopping, Sylvia dropping off a card with a little book called "God is Always Watching Over You", Jen bringing Starbucks, my parents with their generous Costco deliveries, and just everything Gus does for me. The gracious gifts are nice, too. Sweet Jessy brought me back some special things from "St. Lebanon". And Gus's nephew and niece, Nick and Jessica, sent over two cute hats. Yesterday mom gave me a cute necklace that says "Love" and the "L" is shaped like a pink ribbon. And I got the best homemade bracelet in the mail from Allie that says "God gave me you".

Blessed to be feeling well as I head into chemo #4 on Monday, and immensely grateful to God for giving me all the wonderful people in my life!

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