Archive for September 12th, 2009

Rough Patch

A short update is probably all I can manage today.  Since Wednesday I just have not had the strength to do more than a few minutes at the computer each day.

This week’s chemo treatment really took a toll on me.  I wasn’t home from the Cancer Center very long before I began vomiting.  The “pre-meds” I’m given just before the chemo include Zofran (an anti-nausea drug), but I’m afraid it didn’t do much good this time.  I also have Zofran pills at home, so as soon as I started getting sick I took one…but it didn’t stay down long enough to help either.

When I wasn’t preoccupied with throwing up,  I had some discomfort to manage that’s building up from the radiation treatments.  The sensation is something like an electrical impulse that comes and goes intermittently.  Unfortunately, the feeling is located primarily in my rectum, so it’s pretty uncomfortable when it hits.  If I can stay relaxed and breathe calmly, I can often manage the discomfort pretty well.  But, on Wednesday night I was barely able to recover from vomiting nearly hourly, so managing any other pain with breathing exercises wasn’t really an option!  It was a long night, to say the least.

The next morning I somehow dragged myself out the door to another session with Diana, whose energy work has definitely helped me handle the building side effects of all the treatment.  Once again, the beautiful space she creates and her generous healing work allowed me to find some calm in the storm, at least for a while.  But, by the afternoon, when it was time for my radiation appointment, I was pretty depleted again.

The radiation techs are very kind to me each time I come in.  They always ask how I’m doing, if I need anything, do I need to see the doctor.  This time, when they learned I’d been sick all night, they had Dr. Han give me a prescription for yet another form of Zofran – one that dissolves on the tongue immediately so you can’t vomit it up.  I accepted gratefully and hobbled back home.

Tasya showed up with a bunch of food to stock the refrigerator:  roast chicken, cucumber salad, pesto pasta, caprese salad, and more.  But I couldn’t begin to think about food passing my lips – not even her farm fresh, organic, lovingly prepared, homemade food.  The only thing I’d been able to handle was a few sips of sparkling apple cider (non-alcoholic, of course!) mixed with some sparkling water.  Something about all the bubbles helped settle my stomach and for some reason apple cider actually sounded good to me.  By Friday, Tim coaxed me into eating a few bites.  He made up a plate with just a tiny sample from each one of Tasya’s dishes.  I took one bite from each and felt like I’d just eaten a Thanksgiving dinner!

Most of my energy is taken up moving from the bed to the bathroom, and then to the couch and sometimes to the chair for a change of pace.  I’m a pretty pathetic sight as I move about, hunched over, shuffling along like a very old lady.  (Occasionally I notice Tim wince or even tear up as he watches me.)  But mostly, I just try to stay still.  When I can do that for a while, much of the discomfort seems to ease.  When I let myself get agitated or begin feeling sorry for myself, that’s when the unpleasant sensations creep back in.  Sounds easy to cope with on paper, but it’s a constant struggle to stay calm and centered.

I’m thankful the weekend is here.  Two days to recover a little bit before starting another week.  If I can make it through without having to stop for some reason (low blood count, infection, any number of other possible problems), then my last day of treatment will be on September 30.  Thank you for all your prayers to help me through this.  I could feel them surround me during the most difficult moments.

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