It has been a while since I complained, and I am basically spilling over with contempt, so buckle up buttercups.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Chemo. I have been getting chemotherapy for just over 20 weeks at this point. The staff at the cancer center all know me and when I don’t go there for any reason (I am talking to you Covid), I feel like I have left my house and forgotten my purse. Going in for treatment is just a part of my circadian rhythms at this juncture.
Yes, it is true that I don’t feel as sick as I did the first 8 weeks with AC chemo, but this shit is cumulative. I liken it to waking up each day with a reserve of 20 available functioning points. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that the average person has 50 points in a day. If I choose to use a whole bunch of my points to exercise, which I often do, I am left with, let’s say, 8 points with which to get through the rest of my day. 8 points is not enough to manage the comings and goings of three kids and the maintenance of a household.
One of two things will happen:
- I will manage to do everything necessary, but I will become an evil wench somewhere around 6 remaining points and stay that way until I either go to sleep or medicate to a level that should not be allowed when caring for dependents.
- I will get in bed and go to sleep for the day, regardless of how close it is to an acceptable bedtime. That has already happened once this week. I fell asleep at 4pm, woke up at 7:30pm to ‘make dinner for my kids’ which consisted of pouring yogurt and granola into a bowl and sliding it across the table to them as I breezed back to bed. I slept until 9am the next day.
It is true that I try and exercise when I can, so you very well might see me ‘running’ (it’s basically walking with a tiny hop, at the speed I go), but please know that that is me at my absolute apex of activity for the day. I am faking it till I make it, and by making it, I mean getting home still alive.
I have no shortage of people willing to taking me to chemo. It is so wonderful to feel the support of people all around me. Last week, however, I decided to go alone. I had offers to take me, but the sheen of treatment has worn off and I just wanted to be alone. The only thing that would be even remotely controversial is that I am given Benadryl which makes one sleepy, but I am also given steroids which produce the opposite effect so I am perfectly fine to drive myself.
I just wanted to be. Be quiet. Be mindful. Be alone. I never feel like I have to entertain my chemo companions, as they are always close friends, but there is still a feeling that I am the ‘host’ (hysterical). I am never alone, so it feels luxurious (can I say that about chemo?! Wow the bar is low). Last week I watched a show on my laptop and generally spaced out. It was so lovely that I think I am going to do it again this week.
I am finding that my fuse is shorter in general these days. I feel badly for my kids because I am simply not keeping my cool. I must have yelled that they were ‘chapping my ass’ no less than 4 times by 3pm today. I may or may not have thrown a child’s cell phone when they didn’t mute their incessant TikTok while I was on the phone with the waste management company. Now all of these things happen outside of cancertime, but they happen a hell of a lot faster and more frequently during cancertime.
I want so badly to have something for us as a family to look forward to this summer. I am desperate for a family vacay, even something short and close by. The only time that is even remotely available is between my last chemo on July 21 and the small surgery I need, to have my uterus re-zambonied, on July 29. After that, I only have a little time before the kids have another little camp, and I start radiation.
I spend at least an hour every day searching trips anywhere in the US for 4-5 days between those dates, but by golly travel is expensive these days. I would preach the mantra ‘you only live once’ to any one else, but plane tickets alone for the 5 of us to Schenectady would set us back almost 2 grand. The other day while I was watching a show on demand an ad came up for NetJets and I honestly wondered if I emailed them and asked for a ‘Make a Wish’ what would happen.
With the emergence of pandemic travel, it is impossible to get a lake house within 6 hours of Chicago. I search AirBnb often and plotz at the prices and scant availability. Is Schenectady nice, guys?
I also find myself deeply disheartened by the war on my uterus. I mean this in the sense that I need another surgery on mine, as mentioned earlier, and in light of recent national news. I truly wish my poor uterus could be left alone, but it has another polyp that was likely created by the drug I took for 5 years to reduce my risk of cancer recurrence.
Toss that concept around in your noggin a few times. I took a drug with disastrous side effects to reduce recurrence for 5 years and not only did it wreck havoc and not prevent cancer, it also f-ed up my uterus, resulting in two D&C’s to clear that shit out.
Do you know what a D&C is? It is an abortion. I don’t know the legalese around abortions when there is no fetus at play, but regardless, I will have had 2 of these procedures within 1 year to eradicate tissue caused by cancer drugs that didn’t do their jobs. I don’t know what would happen if I wasn’t allowed these procedures and luckily I will never have to find out as I live in a state where there is no current risk to women’s reproductive rights, but it sure makes me think about larger implications.
I have reached the stage of cancer treatment where I am deeply over it. Any novelty has worn way the hell off and I am simply peeved. It is affecting my mental health and, by proxy, that of my immediate family. We are all spread pretty thin and need a win. I keep trying to remind myself that the omnipresent win is that I get to live. My treatment is considered curative, the ultimate win. But guess what? I am still pissed.
Does anyone have the number for a wah-mbulance?