It seems with my last blog entry that I confused a few readers. My vacation plans do not occur until the last week in March, after my first round of treatments. I was attempting to avoid treatment until after my planned vacation, but things don’t always go as planned. I guess even published authors have room to improve their writing!
The days prior to starting treatment were worse than the actual treatment itself. At least mentally. I worried about everything. I was anxious about everything. Would I lose my hair right away (don’t laugh)? How sick would I get? How long would I be sick? Would I be as sick during my recovery phase as I am during the treatment? Could I cope on my own? The sleepless nights seemed endless. I think my biggest struggle has been watching those around me cope with the diagnosis. Both of the kids have been so strong at times, but not unlike me in my private moments I know this is killing them as well. I feel a sense of guilt for putting them through this. They didn’t sign up for this, but I guess neither did I.
It was a rocky start to treatment. My white blood cell count continued to drop prior to the treatment. This was a big concern to my oncologist as you need white cells to fight for you. If I hadn’t had enough of them it wouldn’t have been prudent to start chemo as it would have put me at huge risk. As it was my count was so low that if I would have caught the flu or a bad cold I would have had trouble fighting it off. I noticed every sneeze and cough around me. It was time to become a germa-phob. I tried not to touch door handles and used Purell like I owned stock in the company. The good news was that the count remained bad, but not bad enough that I couldn’t start treatment.
It went better than I expected. I was constantly waiting for some nasty side effect to happen, but I think I was very fortunate. I was very tired and lethargic. By mid-afternoon I was ready to lay down. My energy level continued to decline throughout the five days of treatments. Now that it’s over I go through another round of testing to see what effect it has had. My mental state was also all over the map. I think that has been the hardest part so far, managing my emotions and fear. I am so fortunate to have had support through all of this even though I am not an easy person to support. A particular smile from one friend that makes my worries go away. A morning hug from another that lets me know I am not alone. Late night texts from another that ground me in reality. I have had so many offers of help from all of you. Thank you.
I mentioned my kids above. I can’t wait to spend some time with them on vacation. We have a group text thread that is filled with words of encouragement and love from them every day. If anything good can come of this it is that we have become closer as a result of my journey. They amaze me.
Today is the first day of the twenty-three day recovery cycle. I was warned that round two will feel twice as bad as round one. The drug will build up in my body and have a cumulative effect. For now I am just going to focus on planning for my vacation at the end of the month. I need something positive to think about before the next round.
See you at the finish line, on the beach…..