Sometimes (today, for example) I can’t fucking believe I went through chemo and radiation. Not gonna lie, In those instances, I feel like a total badass.
The Upside to Chemo Brain?
I’ve done the same 20-minute yoga DVD at least 10 times now, and I have yet to remember the sun salutations sequence! It’s like taking a new class every time!
Chemo Brain: Ensuring you don’t get bored with workout DVDs.
After the nurse asks how the IV-Ativan is working for me:
I was looking through my cancer buddies’ blogs for the Mashable article and stumbled upon THIS oldie but goodie. That Ativan IV, man. Good stuff.
So Much Drama in the WBC…
Kidding. Not that much drama. Though I did pop in to see my med onc (chemo doctor) on Wednesday for a followup. I hadn’t seen him in months.
That guy. He’s kind of a wackadoo. One of those who likes to hear himself talk about the strangest things! I talked about him a bit here, when we first met him, about his ventures into very macabre stories. This visit’s tale was incredibly disturbing and not relative to my question about recurrence at all. Yeesh.
This visit, I asked him to check out my right ear. I’d visited the GP onsite at JLP’s work in December when I thought I had an ear infection, and though I really just had a drainage issue, that doctor thought he saw a piece of metal in the other ear, right behind the ear drum! My med onc confirmed he too saw a piece of what looks to be shiny aluminum back there and suggested I see an ear, nose and throat specialist so they can remove it with a special tool. What the… ?!
On Saturday I received my bloodwork results in the mail. I was just going to wait and see if they called me, but I’ve been getting sort of a “well you’re done with cancer treatment now so you’re not as important” vibe from all of my doctors really (I swear I’m not making it up. I can see why some patients don’t really bother with followups after a while), so I called in the next day to ask about my results. The nurse said “I think they’re OK, I mean, the doctor signed off on them and didn’t give any specific instructions… do you want me to mail them to you?” Yeah fine sure.
Anywho, it was kind of a shock to see that a lot of my counts are still really low. My WBC (white blood cell count), is only 2.8, which is just lower than normal (4) and not that much higher than when I first finished chemo (2.4). This is definitely a fatigue factor. A couple of other counts are higher or lower than normal, and are typically signs that your body is fighting off something. There’s improvement over the bloodwork I received on my last day of chemo, but I’m by no means back to normal levels.
It was a real eye opener to me that my body’s not quite up to snuff. I recognize that I’m tired and am learning to find the balance between normally overachieving Mandy and “oooh let’s binge watch the first season of Damages all day” Mandy (um, how rad is Rose Byrne’s hair?). But those numbers don’t lie, so it was a slight validation that what I’m feeling isn’t anything other than normal recovery (I’ll admit it, fears that my days on the couch and lack of a desire to socialize are signs of a spiraling into depression and not just normal recovery sometimes keep me from enjoying my days on the couch). Thank goodness for understanding bosses and my superhero, JLP!
I kick ass at chemo, external radiation, and now, internal radiation. Suck it, cancer!
I know! For being such momentous occasions, my posts on my last days of chemo and radiation weren’t exactly celebratory. Vague Instagram photos? As if!
Truth is, I’m thrilled. I’m gob smacked. I’m EXHAUSTED. I’ve never been so tired. Emotionally, physically…any ‘ly,’ really.
And I’m not really done. Sure, not having to immediately ingest 32 ounces of water this morning was amazeballs, but we did still have to get up at 5 am to get down to UCSF for a 10 am pre-brachytherapy appointment (we’re on our way now, watching a gorgeous late-summer valley sunrise).
Monday is my first internal radiation therapy, followed by another the following Monday. Both times, I’ll spend the night in the hospital, something I’ve never done before. I’m not sure if my overnight stay is because I’ll be radioactive or because I’ll be under anesthesia. I’m sure we’ll get all the details today and I can report back tomorrow.
In the meantime, WOO! OW! Eff you, chemo! Suck it, external radiation! I mean, thanks for saving my life and all, and thanks for making me prove just what a badass I really am. But I’m glad we’re going our separate ways. Bring it, brachy!
How I feel about my bottle of Zofran
The Day After Chemo…
Yep. This Also.
After getting home from the clinic