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Good and bad days

Posted Oct 02 2008 4:23pm
Cancer is just one big roller coaster. You either feel really good or you feel like you shouldn't have gotten out of bed.
Take this last week for example. On Monday I was feeling good until I went into the Oncology center of Kaiser South Sacramento. Right after the nurse gave me some anti-nausea medication, I got sick right in the middle of the room. The 2,000-calorie meal from Burger King that I had for lunch just came right back up.
Fortunately, the nurses understood and allowed me to clean up. Afterward, as I sat back down, I tried to avoid any eye contact with any of the other patients because it's pretty embarrassing to vomit in public.
One of the nurses sat down next to me and reminded me that I was in a room where people are used to getting sick. Also, if I'm going to be sick, I might as well get sick in a hospital. She gave me a new blanket and filled up my water bottle and allowed me to sleep while the strong drugs pumped into my body.
However, this was only the beginning of my bad week. Our special friend diarrhea came and visited me for a day or two, leaving me scared if there was another blockage in my ileostomy. My radiologist reassured me that the diarrhea could be a result of the treatments and possibly the tumor is shrinking. She smiled and said this is normal and to take some Imodium-AD.
So my week sounds pretty bad, right? Don't worry...it gets better. For three mornings, I couldn't get up past noon because of cramps. It was just Mother Nature's sick reminder that I shouldn't have children. Luckily, the medication that eases my normal pain is strong enough to take care of that annoying pain.
This week was really the first time that I truly felt the full effects of the chemotherapy since I started four weeks ago. Before, I have dealt with symptoms like mild hair loss and sensitive peripheral nerves, where my fingers, toes and throat become very sensitive to coldness. It makes eating ice cream, drinking Jamba Juice and other high calorie treats hard to ingest.
And you all must remember, I'm not on the strong chemotherapy yet. I have one or two more weeks of this session, followed by a two or three week break to allow my bone marrow to recuperate. The break will also allow me to try to gain some weight since this week I did not feel like eating much.
Now on the flip side, there are days when I feel like I could walk to San Francisco and back. One Saturday, after house-hunting in Elk Grove for a few hours, my fiance and I went to the mall for an hour. I collapsed on my couch afterward and slept for two hours straight, but earlier that day, I felt normal.
On other days where I do feel well, but not enough to join in a relay race, I have enough energy to either go grocery shopping or have a quick lunch with friends. Or I may have enough strength to write this column.
During my treatment, the only thing I can do is just to prepare for any type of day. I get as much rest as I can, try not to do any strenuous activities, eat as much as I can throughout the day without getting sick and take my anti-nausea medication if I do not feel well.
So as I relax on the weekend while I'm not connected to the chemotherapy, I mentally prepare for the next week and keep reminding myself that this session should be ending soon.
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