Grand Jeté

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster of events and emotions.  I’m fortunate that I have a few angels who put there wings over me and help me to forget the vultures and crows who just circle without landing. Asking others  “how is she doing”   Another cancer, another opportunity to thin the herd, another reason to buy Cheetos.

Neuropathy is still hot and heavy despite the very best efforts of Doctor M,  I can no longer lift dishes or glasses without fear of letting go of them accidentally. I drink my hundreds of cups of tea a day with both hands. Next step: Sippy Cup!!! The exact description of neuropathy :   Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is damage to or disease affecting nerves, which may impair sensation, movement, gland or organ function, or other aspects of health, depending on the type of nerve affected. Patients with peripheral neuropathy may have tingling, numbness, unusual sensations, weakness, or burning pain in the affected area. Oftentimes, the symptoms are symmetrical and involve both hands and feet. All of this is caused by chemotherapy. Not everyone is affected. Not everyone complains as much as I do…Just my DNA I suppose.  There are too many side effects from being treated for cancer to list here. Many are devastating to patient and caregiver and they run from simple nausea and hair loss to the inability to eat or life threatening cardiac issues . My worst side effect is “chemo brain”. I may appear to be solving errors made by Einstein, but in fact Im looking in the refrigerator for my car keys..(true story)…I’m sure I have already said this, but I can’t remember. My husband calls it “Dory” syndrome….dory.png

According to my weekly blood work, MRI”s, PET and CT scans,  chemo is working beautifully thanks to Doctor N. The man knows his cancers and isn’t afraid to jump in feet first. No sugar coating which is jarring at first, but you learn to appreciate the honesty this dedicated man affords you. Yes, we can try to manage it, no, we can’t cure it…I would say that’s pretty honest.

 

Grand Jeté

Grand jeté is a classical ballet term meaning “big throw.”  It describes a big jump where the dancer throws one leg into the air, pushes off the floor with the other, jumping into the air and landing again on the first leg.  Starting any type of chemotherapy is akin to being thrown into the air and hoping and praying you land gracefully. As I mentioned in previous posts, my people historically do not jump. We were meant to be close to the ground so as not to miss a beet or errant potatoe. This position also helped to avoid wind gusts so prevalent in Siberia….

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painting by: Siobhán McGuire

Notes From The Chemo Cafe

I’ve had a two week break from chemo. The first time I’ve gone that long in 9 months on Fulfurinox and 5 FU. I was thrilled at first. My platelets were insanely low and my oncologist felt I needed a small break to get them higher. Platelets are responsible for your blood clotting. Without enough of them you risk bleeding uncontrollably and bruising at the slightest touch. This makes using a knife, slipping on ice or scratching a big no no. My hubs has put a line on the floor of the kitchen which he says I can’t cross under pain of losing my car key. Ok, fine. Back to plastic utensils and walking carefully as well as no mani/pedi days. I’m a little nervous about skipping a week .

My neuropathy has not improved despite the best efforts of a good friend doc.  I’ve also tried canabis hand cream, Gabapentin, frankincense oil, CBD ( don’t ask, I feel like Real PD is going to break down my door ). So I shuffle along with the other patients at The Cafe. We nod hello to each other, comment on a new hat or who isn’t coming back. We all seem to nap at about the same when the Benedryl kicks in. A few times I’ve fought the urge to sleep so I can observe The Cafe without any sound. It’s almost like your underwater. Muffled sounds of nurses chatting, the occasional soft alarm when a bag chemo is empty. The blue walls let you imagine your snorkeling in the Caribbean.As you reach the surface, the sounds of waking patients and bells and alarms and conversations get louder and you realize you have no snorkel, there is no ocean and the fish have disappeared.

The Chemo Cafe is an interesting place. It’s a private club you never wanted membership to. I’m grateful the club owner is a great oncologist who calls me tough and pinches my cheek every week. I’m starting on month nine which is a miracle in itself. I guess I am tough.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my rant/blog…. If you know anyone going through the same, please suggest they give it a look. Sometimes it helps to read that others are having similar experiences and thoughts.💜