Along with the weather, my energy level has been sporadic. The first three cycles of chemo only robbed me of a couple of days of feeling fine. Three days of headaches, nausea and fatigue; doable and, judging by my latest scans, SO worth it.
Then cycles four and five came along. The fourth had me down and out for over a week; the fifth knocked me out for 18 days. Both stints included trips to the ER to rehydrate, the latter kept me in the hospital overnight. In between the excruciating headaches, sick stomach and energy level of a deceased slug, I found myself getting depressed. I began to lose perspective and imagine that weak, listless, chronically ill Joyce was somehow here to stay. This was unacceptable to me; I’ve always preferred the zippy, can-do version of myself.
Never one to suffer in silence, I complained to my oncologist before last Friday’s cycle six. She added preventative measures to my chemo regimen: zofran beginning day one of chemo to combat nausea, muscle relaxants for the violent, throbbing headaches and an extra B12 shot. The fatigue will probably return in a day or so. Now to concentrate on what these six cycles of chemo have accomplished. The new cancer at the base of my neck is gone; the primary tumor in my lower right lung greatly diminished, and seems to be dead or dormant. April 30th’s PET scan showed a possible new small tumor in my left lung, but the jury is still out and other doctors are being consulted.
Oh, and the sixth cycle is the last of this round of treatment. May 26th I celebrated my 30th month since diagnosis; not too shabby compared with the life expectancy of 12-18 months given when I was diagnosed November 26, 2010. Despite my whining about being stuck in bed for most of May, I never lose sight of my incredible luck to still be hanging out with my wonderful friends and family who have been so supportive throughout this journey.
There’s a saying I learned when I lived in less predictably temperate climes, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.”
And so I shall.