Day Two

Everyone has told me what to expect, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Tonight at dinner, over a meal that my son lovingly crafted, I had tears streaming down my face because the nausea has hit. I’m taking my medications for that, but the epithelial cells in my digestive tract are being hit by toxic chemicals that can’t differentiate between good cells and bad. (Kill that damned cancer though!) And if that weren’t enough, halfway through my meal, the Neulasta alarm went off to let me know it was starting the 45-minute infusion that will result in higher blood cell growth (and bone pain).

You take the good, you take the bad,
You take them both and there you have
The facts of life, the facts of life….

Friends have told me that in the past they had to give themselves shots. I’m sure I could do that, but this is better. When they put it on me at the clinic yesterday, it counted down and then an alarm sounded (beeping). When it stopped beeping, it gave me a quick jab to stick in the needle and pull it back out, leaving a catheter behind. Twenty-seven hours later, it sounds the alarm again and starts an infusion. Very cool stuff. Very sci-fi. Now, can someone please perfect nanobots to go in and destroy cancer cells with very little life disruption? I’m not afraid to die, but I want to live. And it would be nice to live without chemo.

I managed to eat a small meal, and I hope it sticks. I was really hungry, and I’ve promised my sister I would eat nutritious food when I can. Tonight was tough, but I’m good. I’m handling it. This is going to make my son grow up in a new way. He has been an absolute rock for me during all this. I don’t know what I would do without him around. He shops, cooks, mows the lawn, takes out the trash, washes the dishes most of the time…so much. But when I was his age, I had two kids in school and a very busy job. So I’m not going to worry too much about him doing all this. I did it for him. I am going to encourage him to join a support group for caregivers though, if he will. He’s very stoic, but it might be good for him to have a place to vent.

My poor health didn’t start with chemo. It started years ago with autoimmune disease. Even so, I haven’t been one to give in. I just navigated my way into a lower-pressure job, and eventually into a work-at-home scenario. That is the only way I’ve been able to keep going. You have to make concessions in life. You have to do what you can to push through pain, illness, and suffering. And if I could survive the loss of my beautiful daughter, I can survive this. I may be broke as hell at the end of it, but hopefully I’ll be alive. Being sick in America is costly, and the fat cats don’t care. Cigna has been in the way on so many things, but I’m thankful I’m one of the lucky ones who has insurance. Where would I be if I didn’t? I can’t even move to Canada, because I don’t think they’d take a cancer patient, even if their borders were open. A girl can dream though.

I’ve got my pup (Adele) sprawled across my feet. A few years ago, I got an adjustable base for my bed. Best purchase ever (even if the movers complain about moving them). Had I known this cancer was coming, I would surely have bought this thing. It allows me to elevate my legs and raise my upper body if I’m having heartburn. I can watch TV without neck strain. If you have any health issues at all, or even if you just love to read in bed, it’s a great option.

I think that’s it for tonight. I hope you’re all doing well. Subscribe and comment! I love hearing from folks.

Peace, J

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