Thursday, February 10, 2011

Courage vs. Fear and into Chemo #4

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway." ~John Wayne

Fitting really for this entire chapter(s) of my life. I have been scared, terrified, frantic during this and somehow I didn't say no. The doctors, family, friends, husbands, dogs, cats, they don't make me do this tragic thing to my body to try and eat away any cancer still lingering. They don't handcuff me and take me in. I go, on my own two feet, no kicking or screaming, I go. Why? Because I love my family, my friends, my husband, my animals - Copper, Tikka, Gypsy, and even Zipper, my wonderful neighbors, my Philomath softball players, my city league teams, my colleagues..... essentially, I love me. And if I didn't I wouldn't do any of it. Funny what love of self and others can do for one's own courage, even through white knuckle fear.

I am headed in for Chemo #4 in two hours and 10 minutes, and I have a sense of, "Yes! I am done!" But let's not fool ourselves, well.... don't fool me, I am the one going through it. Once #4 is over, it is cumulative, stronger side effects, more joint pain, swollen mouth, feet, face, hands. Who am I kidding, what am I celebrating? "Cheers to the side effects?" I think not.... Chemo #3 really went great, no reaction like the second, terrific really, but then, uh-oh.

This last Sunday night the deep bone aches came back, my left hip was killing me, I practically needed a cane to stand and walk. My feet were swollen, my eyes were watering with goo, trying to kick a cold, and I just felt miserable. Ok, granted, I did have a very busy weekend, but I felt good while doing it, except soooooo extremely tired. I hadn't slept, I mean really sleep, the kind you wake up in the morning and you are ready to tackle the day, the good sleep.

Since Thursday, I have had non-stop hot flashes, and when I say non-stop it is no joke. I went to bed, took my anti-histamines, nerve pain pills, and my anti-anxiety pills to help shut my brain off to sleep. And then, from out of nowhere you feel a steam roller coming. It starts with an uncomfortable hot, sometimes heart pounding, and there is an untrollable need to get out of the covers and stand up and take it. And it rolls, only getting hotter and hotter, sweat is pouring, so much so at times I have to change my clothes and lay down a towel to soak up the sweat. I pace, and pace, stand outside to cool off, and then try and lay back down. No sleep comes but an hour later here comes the roller and we start all over again. Morning comes and I have had no sleep and can't funtcion. This has gone on since Thursday, and my doctor says this is a side effect. I started off as a normal 36 year old woman and instead of gradually going through it, my body just dropped to menopause NOW, there are no remedies, no cures, just have to take it like the woman I am.

Monday night I just sobbed because I was so tired and trying so hard not to wake up Jeremy - he has to be up and out of here by 5:30 every of us has to work. All I wanted was sleep, I want to go to work, I want to get this cold gone, I want to be normal. Essentially I missed three full days of work this week, and will try and make up for some hours Friday and Saturday, but I can't afford to not be there, but when you can't function, they don't want me there either. And during the day, the hot flashes hit alot more, and I just start sweating uncontrollably, and have this feeling like I am a caged animal, without a change of clothes.... oh, wait, animals don't wear clothes.... you get my point.

Enough doom and gloom, today is number four - 1 hour and 55 minutes away. I am scared, terrified, inside I am kicking and screaming, shaking, fearful, but have courage like none other. Nothing beats me without my 200% fight, it is engrained in my DNA I guess. Mom, were you part of that? Thanks.

Well, partners, I am saddling up.... although I don't have a horse, could be a problem, so let's pretend, metaphorically speaking..... I do have the hat and boots though.

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