Saturday, February 26, 2011


The corner is officially turned, though just barely. It's too soon to say I'm feeling emphatically better — my digestive tract still feels like it's lined with tire rubber and my saliva still tastes like ocean foam, my tongue is sore and my head throbs every time I stand up — but at least I can report that I'm no longer feeling worse and my energy is gradually returning.

Today's treat: a visit from Liz. The valentine sun glasses were a gift from another visitor. But they complete Liz's look, don't you think?

I'm nervous about the next chemo drug, Taxol, and it's unglamorous potential side effects (neuropathy, weight gain, diarrhea, muscle and bone pains, hot flashes, discoloration and even loss of fingernails. And then, when you're just about finished with the drug, loss of eyebrows and eyelashes.) On top of all that, there's the possibility of an allergic reaction with the first dose. One out of a hundred has it. It can be bad enough to kill you. But not for long, my oncologist has assured me. That kind of reaction is exceedingly rare and they keep a crash cart nearby and never have they ever lost anyone. Okay, okay, I'll try to keep it in perspective, but still. Yikes.

Drinks a la my husband: banana-strawberry smoothie, and "green lemonade" (fresh juiced apple, lemon, celery, and spinach)
For the first time I'm really worried about the needle stick. Unlike your everyday blood draw, these needles come with a sort of plastic sheath - once the needle is in, the sheath is pushed through into the vein. Last time, for the first time, it didn't work on the first try. And it hurt. A lot.

I'm worried that I'm headed down the road of chemo-damaged veins causing many more painful unsuccessful sticks followed by a delay in treatment for the surgical implantation of a port catheter - a stint under the skin near my collarbone, leading directly into a major artery. Other chemo survivors tell me emphatically "get the port." It made things so much easier for them. But I'd rather opt out of another surgery if possible, as minor as it may be.

I just can't bring myself to want a port.

Soup of the day, two days ago: my sister-in-law's black bean, plus zucchini and onion. 
Just a few months ago I was a healthy active person. The only surgery I'd ever had was dental. I did not take drugs. I did not lay around on the couch all day with a list of complaints. I did not think about surgery and needles and side effects and how to physically get through the next hour. My stomach didn't turn every time I opened the refrigerator or glanced at certain insulated water bottle I happened to bring along during my first treatment, or caught a whiff of the lotion I used to like.

On the bright side, most people feel less terrible on this next chemo drug. I hope I am one of them.


Anonymous said...

Hooray for turning the corner!

And thanks again for your vivid descriptions of how your stomach and mouth are feeling. I honestly find it so fascinating. Sea foam!

I go for daily blood draws for fertility treatments and while I'm not comparing our situations, I do understand the feeling of dread that comes with frequest pokes and worrying about how my veins are going to hold up. I can't help but think a port would make things easier?

I hope you have a peaceful Sunday and that you continue to feel better and gain strength.


Anonymous said...

Please get the port, girlfriend. Please.