Let me tell ya... retail therapy RULES!
(if you don't want to read my drama, skip down to the fun part... if not, carry on...)
As you may know, I have breast cancer, and I'm currently receiving chemotherapy treatments. I had to have 4 of what they call AC, then 4 of this new one called Taxotere. I have had 6 so far, only 2 more to go. AC makes your hair fall out, so just call me Kojak... anyone gotta a lollipop? (now that would be a funny scrapbook page!) Now, with AC I had hair loss and nausea and some large muscle fatigue, sort of like doing 1000 squats really, really fast, then feeling it for 3 days. I thought, this isn't so bad.... I can do it....
Then came the switch! The dreaded Taxotere.
My Dr. was just raving about how with Taxotere I won't be nauseous any more. Cool, I thought, this is great... but really, with the anit-nausea meds, it wasn't too bad. I could take a pill and feel better in 5 minutes. Wonderdrug it was.
However, Dr. Rystogi failed to tell me that it could cause some other fun side effects... like not being able to stand, extreme fatigue, large muscle fatigue, horrible joint and bone pain, nail changes, hands and feet tingly, mouth sores... there are a few more, but I'll spare you the details. These are the ones that I personally experienced. Only 10-24% chemo patients experience this... lucky me.
Let's just say the last 6 weeks have been quite taxing on me. I consider myself a pretty tough cookie. It takes a lot to make this cookie crumble, but, crumble I did.
Crumble number one happened after my first taxtotere chemo, treatment 5. Wednesday, Dec. 30 I received my first taxotere chemo. They gave me tons of steroids, which caused me to stay awake for 22 hours... I did some online shopping that day, too... by Friday, I was starting to feel the large muscle fatigue, and my upper arms were falling asleep and my calves were falling asleep... I tried to drink gallons of water. By Saturday, I couldn't move. Seriously... have you ever been immobile? I felt like I had been stretched on the mid-evil rack for hours. My spine hurt, my knees, and hips, neck... no matter which way I would lay it hurt. I slept most of the day. I crawled down the stairs to eat... I remember standing in the kitchen grabbing the island because I was about to topple over. I crumbled a lot that day.
By Sunday, it didn't hurt quite as bad. I managed to come downstairs and see my family. I felt bad for my kids for having to see me this way. My son came up to me, sat by me on the sofa, with a sadness in his eyes that should not be there, and in this tiny voice he asked, "Mom, are you going to make it?" This just ripped my heart out.
I said, emphatically, YES, I plan on it!! (but, inside, I crumbled again)
For lunch that day, Matt had gotten us burgers from a fast food place. Now besides all the pain and fatigue, my mouth was literally fried. It was as if I had sucked down a scalding hot cappuccino in one fail swoop and burnt the roof of my mouth and my tongue. On Saturday, my tongue felt 3 times it's normal size... Sunday it was a bit better. However, my hamburger tasted like a bland meat patty between 2 donuts. Anything bready tastes super sweet. It was kinda gross.
By Monday/Tuesday I felt a ton better... it took my tongue a bit longer to recover. Ahh, it was sooo nice to have taste buds again.
By Wednesday, my fingers had felt like they had been smashed into a car door. All ten of them. It was very painful to type or even click a mouse. When I tried to open something or something slipped thru my fingers and caught on the nail, it was agony. I think I know how bamboo feels under the nails. My nails now look like they have been chewed to the quick. They have lifted up, and are generally a mess. I just hope that they don't fall off.... cause I think I had enough suckage.
Let's fast forward to my second Taxotere treatment.
(again, if you're bored, just skip to the fun stuff.... if you're still with me, God bless you, and may you never, ever experience this.)
Last Wednesday was my second Taxtotere treatment. Last Wednesday was my second crumble.
On Tuesday night I prepared for my chemo. Knowing that I'd be out of commission for 7 days or so, I shopped, got blood work and bought some Haagen Daz raspberry sorbet. You see, they say that if you have ice in your mouth while you get the first 20 minutes of chemo then you won't get the mouth sores. OK, cool, I will do that. Also works for the fingers... so I made some ice to take with me to dip my sore fingers in while getting chemo. I also bought a pair of "chemo" booties, they're pink and everything. They have lavendar in them. I put them in the freezer to save my toe nails.
Wednesday we had to leave early to go to Pittsburgh. We took my son to a neighbors house so that he wouldn't be alone before his bus came and left for the trip. I had everything with me, I was SO prepared. I had my Haagen Daz, the ice in a ziploc, the booties, my iPod, the laptop....
On this particular day, after I checked in I was to meet with a genetics counselor to discuss the possibility of being BRAC. Barb, my nurse hooked me up to the first IV, she also took some blood for the gene testing. The first bag was Benydrl to help counteract any allergic reactions to Taxotere. Benydrl makes me super loopy.
In comes the genetics lady, talking and talking, have no clue what she said... drew pictures of family tree, who had died, who lived, who had cancer... Barb came by and switched my IV bag.
I panic... I interrupt the poor genetics lady and say "what does that bag say?" she says Saline.
I am not convinced... a few seconds later, I ask Matt the same thing... he leans over and conquers, it is saline.
By now, I'm really goofy with the Bene... so I just say I gotta pee.... while in the bathroom, I peer at the label... imagine being drunk and trying to read a beer bottle... it was kinda like that... but I made out that it did say saline... 9% saline!! ACK... what did that sticker say?? What did that damn sticker say... I peered and looked and it said docetaxel. I knew this wasn't just saline.
I wheel my IV back, sit down, genetics lady asks 2 more things then leaves. I ask Matt to please look up docetaxel. He starts reading and says, "it's a generic name for Taxotere."
This is when I lost it.
Have you ever lost it in public? I mean really lost it? Not went into the car after a horrid shopping trip with your toddler and lost it, but lost it in public?
I didn't even care. It just came, the wails and sobs, I couldn't stop it if I had tried... I literally wailed "Nooooooo." I knew what this meant. It meant that I missed the 20 minute window of opportunity to try not to have smashed car door fingers and burnt mouth. It meant I was going to feel exactly the same this time as I had last time. It meant that all that hard prep work was for not. I was devastated.
Poor Matt, sat helpless, fumbling with our cooler, trying to quickly get the ice bags and sorbet out.
I calmed down enough to eat the sorbet, tears streaming down all the while. It wasn't pretty. I kicked my shoes off and put the slippers on and dipped my fingers in the icy bag.
Did it work?
A little bit. I have to say, my mouth is burnt, but not as bad. I'm hoping instead of 7 bad days, maybe I'll get away with 5. So far, (dare I type this), my nails don't hurt as bad.. my toes do a bit tho.
AND, for the extreme bone/joint pain my doctor gave me lots of steroids, which seem to work. I was able to at least function.
Phew, that was long. Are you still with me?
Now the fun part.
Well, after all that... yesterday, I felt kinda sorry for myself. And you know what? It's OK. It's OK to feel... let yourself feel bad... you can't pretend everything is OK when it isn't.... after feeling bad, finally verbalizing the "why me".... I'm ok again. I will be OK. I only have 2 more, I can do this.... and a little retail therapy doesn't hurt.
So, to make a LONG story longer... hee hee... I got obsessed yesterday with wanting a Making Memories Slice machine. I have a Silhouette, but my computer is downstairs and my scraproom is upstairs (that's why there isn't a computer in my scraproom) and my legs hurt and when I'm upstairs and feeling pain, I don't want to walk down stairs to cut out a cute butterfly... so, late last night, while the steroids kept me awake, I bought this....
Yeah, call me crazy!! But, I SO deserve this. I'm not rationalizing, I do deserve it.
Retail therapy rules.
Thanks my friends, for sticking with me... I can't wait to play with my slice and I'll give you a review. I know my knees with thank me.
Now I will leave you with a photo of my dear, sweet boy. He got a hair cut yesterday, really short, so this shaggy look is gone. Love his Elvis Costello glasses.
Take care. God bless.