There's this really fantastic poem I remember reading in college called "Carrion Comfort." What's ironic about the title - and the whole poem, really - is that carrion is a dead animal carcass. And you think, "Carrion comfort? Whaaa?" And that, my friend, is where you can have some fun reading poetry. Poetry can be creepy and cool and ironic and hilarious, as well as all that awe-inspiring crap. Just kidding. I like awe-inspiring poetry, too. Mainly.
So here I lie on my parents' couch, five days PC - Post Chemo. Mom and Micah are at the zoo. Dad is golfing. I'm lying with a heating pad on my legs with my therapy dog - my parents' little Maltese, Molly (whom I call Boatfeet) snuggled comfortably on top of me. So let's tawk.
Chemo. The first appointment was, like, 4 hours long. One hour of Chemo Teaching ("these drugs will kill any particle of cancer you have left, but it will damage your body and your body will spend the following three weeks trying to recover, until we do it again"), and 3 hours of IV.
I chose to have my chemo treatments up in Rexburg. The Idaho Falls office feels more hectic and crazy. I wanted peace and solitude. I do all my labs and stuff in I.F., though.
These nurses really know their stuff, you guys. Like, during the first drug, the nurse had me suck on Popsicles. Something about making my mouth cold to prevent mouth sores. During the third IV, she had me put my finger and thumb tips on an ice pack to help with a numbing feeling that sometimes occurs. She was fantastic.
So total, it was one IV for nausea. A second to boost my white blood cell count. A third for nausea. Then my cocktail of three. The first one is called The Red Dragon. It is absolutely red and makes you pee red. It's nasty. I mean, they're all nasty. The second one is called cyto-something, so Mom and I dubbed it Psychopath. And the third one has -taxi somewhere in it, so we call it Taxidermy.
It didn't hurt at all, because of my handy dandy port, Portia. Those things are genius, guys. I didn't feel burning or stinging, and it wasn't uncomfortable. I even slept through one hour of the treatment!
During the Taxidermy part, my mom and I tried on some hats. We picked a few we liked. It was fun. If any of you out there love to knit or crochet, and want your talents to go toward a good cause, donate your hats to a local chemo clinic or cancer center. The ones I get at the cancer center are from a group called Knots of Love.
The first day, my body felt achey, like I had the flu. Days 2-5 have been gastrointestinal fun, exhaustion, and hard core pain from within my bones. I'm told this is from the white blood cell IV, as well as another booster shot to bump up white blood cell count, which leaves a nasty bruise and has you wishing you could cut off your body from the waist down for the next several days. I keep thinking that, if someone invented a heating pad for your waist to your knees to help with the after-effects of these shots, they'd make millions. They say the bone pain will lessen next time. My body will be prepared for it. My body wasn't prepared for it the first time, so it sucked my marrow out of my bones to give me a boost.
I've had very little nausea, which is awesome. Things do taste weird. I find myself gravitating toward really strong foods - limeade, pickles, sour cream and chive potato chips... My old standby, coke, does nothing for me anymore. But sparkling grapefruit water tastes awesome, as does cranberry/grapefruit SoBe. The pet loogie I get when I'm pregnant is back. The best thing for me to combat that is by sucking on those Halls lozenges - the sugar-free ones that have citrus flavor.
I did have a shaving party before three pieces of my heart moved to Oregon, which was cray, but not, like, emotionally fraught. I've long had a deep love-hate relationship with my hair, so for me, it was
no big whoop. Hair grows. This I know.
Being a naturally active person, I cannot STAND being so sedate. It's driving me batty. That's why I titled this post "Carrion Comfort." I'm lying around because I'm in too much pain to walk, and I just feel like I'm a carcass taking up couch space.
Ah well. It's the nature of the beast. A pamphlet at the chemo place put it best - chemo is the bridge you take walking away from cancer and into the future. My CT scan is clean, so, presumably, we got it all. But we don't ever want to deal with it again. So we're zapping it for good measure.
Kay, time to drink something that tastes strange and try to ignore my legs. :)