Today is the end of phase one of my chemotherapy treatment.

Today is the last in a series of four rounds of Adriamycin and Cytoxan. I had been looking forward to it as the halfway point and thought I would be happier to see the day come. But instead I focus on the fact that after a 3 week hiatus I am onto phase two.. weekly Taxol for 12 weeks. And then I still won’t be done, it will be onto radiation.  On the AC I had two good weeks out of three the first two rounds. This last round honestly left me feeling pretty exhausted right through. I’ve now developed allergies (never been a problem in the past) where my nose runs and my eyes weep constantly.  Claritin doesn’t help and I’m hoping my Oncologist can recommend something else today.  We have a lot of family events coming up in the spring – birthdays, one daughter graduating college, the other grad school, visits from family. I had big plans to celebrate these milestones, but not knowing how I will feel on weekly chemo, things are kind of hanging and that makes me feel unsettled. 

When I started journaling about this whole thing I was determined to keep it light and upbeat but I’ve come to understand how disingenuous that is.  No one can be positive 100% of the time, no one should feel they have to be. Of course I could choose to only blog when I am feeling positive, but I think more people can relate to the fact that in all aspects of life there are good days and really, really bad days and this fact is no less so when facing a life threatening disease, no matter how brave you want to appear to others (or how brave you think others need for you to appear). And I also think when someone comes along and reads these blogs they need to know that their negative feelings are real and valid and normal! And so is gallows humor if that’s what helps. Most days I can be depended on to make a really tasteless comment about cancer that will either crack someone up or completely disgust them. When it’s the former I appreciate their understanding of my comedic brilliance. When it’s the latter I channel my inner honey badger cuz honey badger don’t give a sh-t!

Today I am going to try and channel my inner glowworm and spread some sunshine.

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20 comments

  1. lawyermomfashionistal · February 28, 2012

    that glow worm cartoon is so unlike you. love you anyway and always.

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  2. eddiesandcurrents · February 28, 2012

    Yes, everyone can relate to having bad days or bad stretches. I get the most feedback from my blog when I’m very honest about how hard this cancer journey can be. And yes, the unsettledness is difficult. But it’s a reminder how life really is. We make plans and pretend to have some control, but we really don’t. Cancer’s popping up in our lives is certainly a case in point. Anyhow, here’s to the end of the AC. I’m sending you good vibes and great mojo as you finish this phase. And on a practical note, I’ve found that eye drops help sometimes. The nurse practitioner pointed out that eyelashes help keep things out of our eyes, and not having eyelashes means more irritants get in. A good ol’ saline eye drops bottle can help with that.

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    • mainelyhopeful · February 28, 2012

      I’ll have to pick some up. I have been using saline spray and that does help with the sinuses. Thanks 🙂

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  3. glimpsejoy · February 28, 2012

    Beautifully and honestly spoken! I had the weepy eyes and nose during AC, as well…afraid it continued through taxol. But during AC the tears and sweat was toxic–burning into my skin and leaving marks–this problem ended on taxol. The first four or five weeks of taxol was almost blissful…much more energy, no toxic tears, no nauseau, it was really quite nice relatively speaking. The fatigue will build with each dose, but the more you can move around, the better it will be. If you are an athletic person, keep moving! Stretching muscles keeps them stronger through the process and helps you sleep and helps with fatigue. I wasn’t, didn’t as much as I should have, and the last 4 weeks were agony! Enjoy every moment that you can of your spring events…and keep glowing!

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    • mainelyhopeful · February 28, 2012

      yes.. toxic! The skin around my eyes burns constantly. Fun stuff. Thanks for sharing your experience with Taxol.

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  4. sarenaperez · February 28, 2012

    I cannot agree more that it’s not realistic to only blog when you feel good. I think that would paint an unrealistic portrait of what cancer is really like. It’s far more complex than just feeling upbeat and positive ALL THE TIME.
    I can also relate with the gallows humor part. I became a little obsessed with death for a while and so I’ve developed somewhat of a comfort about it (which was ultimately the goal) and much to others horror can easily joke about dying.
    Also – regarding the post about your hair falling out….nobody told me that your nose hairs can fall out either! I didn’t even think of those hairs!

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  5. bethanyparks · February 28, 2012

    I LOVE your inner glow. So honest…

    End of AC… Congratulations. Taxol does not have ANY of the same amount of fatigue associated with AC. TOTALLY different drug – just a few more hours in the chair each trip. You are SO getting there…. One treatment at a time.

    Keep talking. I love it. Rest. Rest. Bubble bath. Whatever works for you.

    Peace and serenity to you my new friend…

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  6. jelebelle · February 29, 2012

    Have your bad day… Go break a plate…because that is fun. I’m on my 7 th month of weekly taxol…please email if you have side effect concerns or questions. My nose runs like a faucet…sorry to say it’s a side effect. I haven’t had the pleausre of meeting AC but glad your done. Hopefully taxol isn’t as taxing for you as it has been for me.
    Good luck! Tough girls like us can take these crappy chemo side effects, with or without a smile. xo

    Like

  7. Misifusa · February 29, 2012

    Congrats on the 1/2 way point! So exciting…part one down and now on to part 2. You can do this! I am proud of you for sharing all the ups and downs…because we are all connected and those who have not endured what we have will appreciate what you say (if not understand) and those of us who have been there, done that, will ‘get it’ and you have a pride of lionesses behind you! 🙂

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    • mainelyhopeful · February 29, 2012

      “you have a pride of lionesses behind you”

      And how powerful is that?

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      • Misifusa · February 29, 2012

        You do too! It’s all of us! 🙂

        It’s very powerful ~ and it’s the strength you can use whenever you wish!

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  8. Rainbow Ribbon · February 29, 2012

    Congrats on getting this far! Posting the good and the bad keeps it real. It also helps people like me, who are newly diagnosed have some idea of what we are in for. If all anyone posted was the good parts, when the bad parts hit, it would be more of a shock.

    Hope I explained that the way I meant it. With all that has happened the last few days I’m not totally sure I am making sense.

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  9. prettygirllost · March 5, 2012

    Glad you are honest. I think it is much more helpful for people.

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  10. kymlucas · March 6, 2012

    Gallows humor works for me! Got me through a lot of stuff. You have to admit some of the things you learn during treatment are just darned odd. I read someone’s blog yesterday and discovered you can get rub-on nipples. Wish I’d kept that link sheerly for the humor of it!

    I also loved the “add-on bangs” from ACS’s catalog. They cracked me up. http://www.tlcdirect.org/products/sku-3012__dept-91.html

    Not that I think there’s anything wrong with them if someone wants to use ’em, you’ve got to go with whatever works for you, right?

    Hang in there. As my one friend put it, we are mighty women.

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  11. Susan · August 10, 2012

    Adriamyacin and Cytoxin and very heavy drugs and things change as you go through the process of chemo. There really is something to the word “chemobrain” and the hormonal changes are intense. Nothing can prepare you for that. I think you are doing great and spreading some sunshine even though theres a lot going on around you. Keep blogging!-Susan

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