And I swear there's a large part of me that thinks it may be my last.
It sucked. Really, really, really bad. Like I'd rather die of cancer bad. That is until I look at my kids. I've often used the expression that I would "cut off my right arm for my children". Trust me, doing chemo is the real life equivalent. But I don't know if I'm up for this. Even for them.
During the infusion their was a problem (but of course, nothing is simple) and I had to go across to the hospital to have a "port study" -- they thought perhaps my port was leaking. This would be very bad because the drug they were giving me can do alot of damage if it escapes the veins. But the port study showed no leaks so back to the infusion center I went.
I was told that typically nausea doesn't start for about 48-72 hours so we'd planned for Michael to go back to work and that way he would be home during the potentially worst part of it.
What's that they say about all the best laid plans?
When I got home I felt tired but otherwise fine...almost sent my mother home, but SOOOO glad I didn't. The vomiting began about 2 hours after I got home and continued, every ten minutes, for the next eight hours straight. We called the doctor for more anti-nausea meds...they were prescribed & given -- nothing. It finally got to a point where I was told that I would just have to ride it out and come back in the morning for IV fluids. Michael came home early and slept on the floor next to the sofa where I spent most of the night. My mother stayed in with the kids.
Today I have progressed slowly from all out retching to nauseous to queasy. I'm just so damned relieved to not be throwing up anymore I can't even begin to tell you. I went back to the infusion center and also got another injection, this one is to keep my white blood cell count up because I am doing dose dense chemo.
The bottom line is, across the board the general statistics are chemo only helps about 30% of people with breast cancer, even with all the individualized analysis of tumors, hormone receptor status and other various assessments...it still comes down to only helping about 30%. It also can cause irreversible damage in various ways, from congestive heart failure, neuropathy, even minimal brain damage.
I'm gambling with my life either way.
While I sat, sofa-bound, puking in a bowl and not caring whether I lived or died, I swore to everyone around me I would NEVER do this again. That's it, I'm done. I'm already a vegan health nut I'll just kick it up a few more notches, maybe even fly to Mexico and go to one of those alternative cancer treatment centers/spas...meanwhile let them rip out my ovaries and I'll start popping those estrogen blockers asap. The doctors at the NJ Cancer Institute as well as several others all said that in the end the most important thing I can do to keep the cancer at bay is to cut off it's estrogen supply...I'm lucky to be so highly hormone positive. Luck being relative.
Today, as I sit finally able to type without getting nauseous and I look at the pitifully concerned expression my husband wears on his face each time I catch him watching me...as my kids interrupt their all important playing to come over and give Mama a hug...right now I think that I will try another round...see if there is ANYTHING they can do to tweak my meds. Because I guess even with how awful this was (and I can't do it justice without being totally gross, trust me)...despite it all I'm too afraid NOT to do chemo.
Fear sits on both sides of me right now. It's not a good place to be.