Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chemo Countdown

7:  Days until chemo starts.

105:  If all goes well, days until chemo ends.

90:  consecutive minutes I am able to sleep right now.

4: consecutive days I have had sleeping problems.

I probably over-educated myself into this sleeping problem.  As I have spent a lot of time in the last four days catching up on my cancer reading, every night I have a "side effect" dream.  Not really nightmares.  More of farcical exaggerations of my worst fears.  Two nights ago I dreamed that I gained 100 pounds from the steroids and the only clothes that fit made me look like Larry the Cable Guy.  (If you don't know who this is, google it yourself.  I'm not including a link to him here.  On principle.) 

[Warning:  Adult-ish content ahead.]

So when you have chemo all of your hair falls out.  ALL of your hair, if you know what I mean.  Last night I  dreamt that somehow my body got massively confused in the hair-growing back process and I had pubic hair growing out of my head.  The dream was so real (thank you Ambien), that when I woke up at 3AM, I got up and went to the bathroom to check that my head wasn't covered in short and curlies.

Yes, my name is Lindsay and I have chemo anxiety.  Can't really deny it anymore.  There is absolutely no way to predict how the drugs will affect my system.  I could feel crappy two days every two weeks, or I could be in hell for four months.  I could get unhealthily skinny or become a puff-o-saurus rex. I can't wait to get it started just so the uncertainty ends.

My oncologist is optomistic and I believe her sincerity when she says that the side effects will be less debilitating than I think they will be. However, it seems to be a more pragmatic strategy to hope for the best, plan for the worst. 

Many of you that read this blog have also stepped up to help in the last few weeks.  Thank you , thank you , thank you for that.  And here is some information to help you, my team, plan for the next few months.
  1. If you have contacted Christy about food and she's told you to hold off for a while, late next week would be a good week to bug her again.  My mom will be here most of the week and will take care of feeding us, but we have run through most of the meals that have been sent over so far.  Please check with her to see what sort of foods I am able to eat before sending anything over.  It is almost guaranteed that my sense of smell and taste will be wacked out.
  2. I love visitors, but if you are sick, getting sick, have sick children, work with sick people--I love you, but please stay the hell at home. And when you are here, I'm going to be OCD about hand sanitizer and hand-washing.  Which is totally not my style, but, then again, neither is going through fucking chemo.
  3. I am apologizing in advance for the times when I am crabby or fall asleep while you are talking to me. 
  4. Autumn Peterson at Verte Massage and Brooke Jordan at Therapeutic Associates/PACE have graciously volunteered to take care of my body for a few months.  Please help me thank them by sending some business lovin' their way.
  5. Finally, if I am up to it, make me get out of the house and enjoy Portland. It's going to be a beautiful summer and it would be a shamed if I missed it because I was moping inside watching Heald College commercials and talking to my cats.  
Last item of business.  Above all of my cancer reading, I highly recommend the following book (in spite of its slightly annoying name and format): Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr.  My copy was borrowed from the St. Vincent's Breast Clinic, but I am going to go out soon and buy my own so I can mark it up.

Kris was my age when she was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable vascular cancer.  Her energy and outlook really resonated with me (and not just the chapter on retail therapy), and, more importantly, her advice got me back to my private journal and motivated me to plan for my future in a way that I have never done before.     

And that's good stuff for a chemo patient, yo.

No comments: