7:57am. Tuesday August 19th 2014.
How I’m feeling: My hand is hurting and is a balloon, my upper body is swollen – but I’m feeling grateful.
Yesterday was a rough day. I had my second half of my GDP chemo cycle 1. The first half (the stronger dosage half) was on August 11th (which made for a really rough week last week). On my second half days, treatment is shorter and there are less drugs to pump in me – but as you can imagine it’s still rough.
I was up Sunday night full of so much anxiety and fear for the big day on Monday. While, I knew treatment would be less harsh relative to August 11th’s, the thought of having to go in for treatment was really getting to me. Grabbing a queue number at chemo daycare, the sights and smells of PMH, being assigned my chemo daycare room number. I was so sick of it all. The thought of all of it – made me physically ill. I took some extra time to meditate as I drifted off to sleep.
I woke up from my sleepless night around 5am. And so, I decided to just get up out of bed, make a smoothie and try to mentally prep myself for what was about to happen – and for what is happening. I was counting down the hours up until I arrived at PMH.
The chemo daycare waiting room was packed. The usual area that I wait in was completely full – and so, I sat in the bigger and usually busier section. People of all ages and at (visibly) different stages through their chemo treatment filled each chair row by row. I could hear about 15 conversations going on all at once.
“I’ve been here for 2 years”
“This isn’t my hair”
“My mass is 5 inches”
“I’ve been here for 3 hours already”
“I may just go tomorrow”
Ahh! F%$#ing Ahh!
I tried to ignore it all – but I found it impossible to do so. I couldn’t hear any of the thoughts that were going on in my own head. I needed out. I went in to the hall, and while trying to ignore the smell of the Druxy’s Deli in the lobby (I have nothing against Druxy’s. It’s just that I have a bad association with it now and feel ill whenever I smell it) I found a corner by some plants, chose a tile on the wall – and stared at it. As I traced each tile edge with my eye, I slowly inhaled and exhaled.
I was angry that PMH was so busy. I was so angry that there was so much cancer in that room. I was so angry that I have cancer. I was so angry that I was so angry.
I needed to exhale that anger out. I knew that I would only be causing myself more pain than I’m already scheduled to go through if I went in to chemo treatment with this poison on my mind.
I continued to inhale and exhale.
While chemo was relatively short, there were some complications. They had to really drip my meds in slow because of how bad my veins are at this point. It took a while for 2 different nurses to find a safe vein in both of my hands – and they both became infected. The medication really stings the entire time going in – and so some of you were on standby in FB chat and text msg yesterday as I desperately tried to keep myself distracted. It feels like sharp metal burning through my veins – I’m not sure how else to describe it. My eyes are watering and I’m feeling a little sick just thinking about it.
My nurse just gave me a call on my phone to check up on how my hands are doing. How nice of her! I’m so impressed especially because she serves a revolving door of chemo patients constantly! Yesterday, I could tell that she knew I was soldiering through the pain. In fact, she kept on saying “Carolyn – I’m serious. Tell me if it hurts” At one point, I stared at her for a good 20 seconds – and said “I’m ok” – as my eyes watered. She then said “Ok, I’m taking the IV out” And we’re both glad she did in the end because my hand became really swollen immediately afterwards. Right now, both of my hands still hurt. I’m icing them as much as I can and if they don’t get better in 24 hours, I’ve been advised to contact a triage nurse at ER 😦
It’s a lot to take in. All of this is a a lot to take in. My life has taken a complete 180 degree turn since March 2014. There is not one tiny speck of my life that hasn’t shifted dramatically. I guess it’s kind of expected – with something like this, eh?
Evidently, there is a lot that can happen in 5 months (today is exactly 5 months since I was diagnosed, by the way) There’s a lot that can happen within a day. One minute I’m living, loving and thriving through my professional hustle. The next, I’m hustling to live – literally. I suppose I should love and thrive through that as well?
I’ve got to take that same assertiveness, fight and unapologetic confidence I have (and that you all know me for) and apply it to what could quite possibly be the biggest war I may ever have to face.
Since when have I ever been ok with the feeling of defeat? And since when have I ever let any of my friends and family members feel an ounce of defeat? The thought of that infuriates and saddens me. *shudders*
It’s time to be my own best friend. It’s time to take every ounce of blood, sweat and tears that I’m so enthused and happy to invest in others and my professional self and gift it to my personal self. I’m learning that this starts with being kinder and more patient with myself.
Today is going to be a good day. I am much stronger and way more brilliant than this cancer will ever be.