A reason to celebrate

Published by pam on Mon, 05/21/2012 - 6:45pm

This Wednesday will be my last AC treatment (yes, I am knocking on wood as I write this.  It is the last AC treatment as far as I know).  The next series is supposed to be easier to take with less side effects, so I am quietly celebrating.  The AC treatments have been challenging, but manageable.  There are side effects.  I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on them because it doesn't make any sense to dwell.  Dwelling wont change anything.  But just so no one thinks I'm whitewashing the experience, here's what I'm dealing with.
For the first 3 or 4 days, it is very difficult to eat.  I eat white foods - bananas, toast, rice, oatmeal, eggs.  Ok, so eggs aren't exactly white, but they are bland.  After about day 4, I add pasta, pears, and my favorite chemo food - artichokes.  I don't know what it is about artichokes, but I am eating a lot of them.  Marc groans when he opens the refrigerator and finds every corner stuffed with artichokes.  With a freshly steamed artichoke in front of me, I find myself ravenous.  The kids have to leave the room.  Apparently, it isn't a pretty sight.
After day 4, the acidy stomach sets in.  It's pretty bad.  Its certainly the most painful side effect, (OK, it's the most painful side effect so far.  I am knocking again. There will be no tempting of fate.  Not when it comes to side effects).  Pepsid helps.  Sleeping upright helps.  But nothing makes it go away.  And for a few days, I feel like I am a walking stomach.  My whole world revolves around managing the roaring beast inside me.
And of course, through out the process, there is fatigue.  I'm not terribly productive these days.  I walk 1-3 hours.  I get one household chore done each day - laundry, grocery shopping, cabinet finishing.  I still cook breakfast and dinner, and occasionally I whip up something for the kids before they get home.  And every day, I nap.  Boy do I nap.  I nap in a dark place where there are no dreams.  I wake up and wonder where the day went.  I have stopped fighting against the naps.  Every medical professional I deal with says sleep is critical to healing. So I nap.  But I miss getting a lot done.  I miss full days.
Runny eyes.  If you see me tearing up, rest assured, I AM NOT CRYING.  Apparently tear duct problems are common.  My eyes run a lot.  It's annoying. 
Mouth sores.  I got some of these with the most recent AC treatment.  They went away quickly.  I learned a few tricks to keep them at bay, but from what I understand, they can get quite nasty.  Hopefully it's not a trend.
Theres a bit of chemo brain.  I find myself reaching for strings of words, not just a single word.  Its hard to tell what is a result of the chemo and what is the result of fatigue.  I'm definitely a bit slower and I reread passages in books more often than I used to, but it doesn't seem overwhelming (so far.  Knocking, always knocking) and I am hopeful it will pass with time.
Other than that, people keep telling me how normal I seem.  They tell me I  have a lot of energy and look like myself (except for the scarf).  I feel like I am struggling but am hopeful that, as I finish up this round of chemo,  life will begin, ever so slowly, to return to normal.  And that is why I am celebrating.


Congratulations on getting to your last "worst" treatment!  Fantastic that you're almost there. Maybe we should have an artichoke party? Every course with artichokes. I bet we could come up with some interesting desserts, though nobody other you and me might attend. If I bring Super One bacon for Ryann, will that increase the chances your family will let us fill the house with artichokes for you?
I will be thinking of you tomorrow as you finish these AC treatments, and in the subsequent days as you deal with the side effects and kiss them goodbye.  

Artichokes.  And then more artichokes.  I tried beets tonight.  They were no artichokes.  

It's Wednesday evening, which means YOU HAVE FINISHED YOUR AC TREATMENTS!!!! Yahoooooo!  Such an exciting milestone. OK, I know you've got some side effects to deal with in the coming days, and I'm so sorry about those. Tonight, though, you're  finished with the worst of the treatments!!!  Huge congratulations.  Lots of love from your eburg "fam."

We just returned home from a trip to Ireland and Scotland that included many universities.  More and more students are considering options in the UK.  We added a bit of walking in the Scottish Highlands as well.  Talk about tough people - the landscape is barren, windswept and the soil is thin.  I stood before the Glencoe Thrust where England smashed into Scotland 430 million years ago and overrode it by 100 kilometers - big diagonal line across the rock mountain.  Also saw six adorable puffins on Handa Island, a bird sanctuary.   
But so are you - tough.  We emailed your dad about getting together when he next comes to the Island. 
Onward, ever onward. 

You are, excuse the expression,totally awesome!  I still wish I was nearer than 3000 miles so I could contribute in some way -- just know I think of you often, and wish the best for you -- Hurray about the AC!  

Hi Pam and Marc-this message will hopefully get to you. W send our love