Strangers & What Chemo Feels Like

Over the past couple days…. I’ve been out gallivanting…. The weather has been nice… and I’ve been housebound for so long…. I’ve been enjoying some time away from home…. ❤

The other night I was at Walmart…. and this guy in the check out line said…. “So how are you doing?” and then he quickly said… “I wonder when I’m going to get into trouble for saying that…” and I politely smiled and said… “I’m getting there… ” and he mentioned his mother had cancer and how hard it was on her… You know, I’d rather people say something… than say nothing. But, that’s probably me…. instead of looking at me cross eyed or doing a double take…. just ask!! I thought it was really kind of him… he was genuinely concerned…

Yesterday I was at one of my favorite stores… Hobby Lobby…. and an older lady stopped me and said… “Are you in treatment?” and then she said “I’m just finishing treatment” and I looked at her a little strange because she had all her hair….. I said “did you do chemo?” and she explained that she passed on chemo…. This was her 3rd occurrence of cancer… She’d had uterine, melanoma and now breast cancer… She said I’m in my 70’s and cancer doesn’t scare me anymore… “do you ever feel that way?” I honestly didn’t know how to respond to her…. because honestly, I’m just 41…. it does scare the crap out of me actually…. If I were 70 something and had seen my children grow and knew they’d be fine without me.. maybe it wouldn’t be scary…. She opted for no chemo…. all 3 times she had cancer. She was Stage II and did her mastectomy and opted for radiation only….. So… she hugged me… and asked for my first name and asked if she could pray for me…. Of course!!! I just think it’s amazing…. and I’m sure when I’m on the other side of this…. if I see someone wearing a scarf or a hat…. I’m sure I’ll be the person genuinely concerned and hugging a total stranger….. ❤

My friend Kelley posted this link last night on Facebook and I just thought it was so interesting…. to hear someone else’s description of What Chemo Really Feels Like…. and I related so incredibly much…. http://www.chroniclesofacancerpatient.com/what-does-chemotherapy-feel-like/

So he mentions some things….. that I didn’t have… like hiccups… but there are other things that I get from chemo….. and there are things he experiences that I’m so incredibly in tune with! First he talks about how he dreads chemo…. I start talking about it days and days before…. Crap, I’m a week away from chemo… I’m 3 days away from chemo…. Chemo is tomorrow….. It really, really weighs heavily on your mind…. The dread is ridiculous… It’s like you know you’re taking a sucker punch and you’re just waiting for it…. He mentions that it doesn’t matter how many you have left…. For me, it does matter…. I have ONE MORE LEFT!!!!! I know I can make it…. end is in sight…. I still dread it though and it seems like they get a little better on some accounts and a little worse on others….

He talks about the saline taste…. OMG, I can relate…. as soon as they flush my port I can taste it…. My Claritin tastes like it too… and I can taste it just thinking about it…. it’s so gross…

He talks about the nausea…. the burning, disgusting nausea…. but, how he describes it…. Nothing helps but you have to eat and then you feel worse… The first 5 or so days, I barely eat a thing… just enough…. but nothing sounds good, nothing tastes good…. around the week point…. you start inhaling everything in sight, but you still feel sick… That burning nausea just doesn’t go away! It’s just there….. but I think you just get used to it… By about 2 weeks I will start feeling somewhat normal…. and then it’s time to do it again….

I have other things that happen to me that he doesn’t talk about…. I try to drink a lot of water, but it’s not helping and my skin…. my poor skin…. on my face, I have wrinkles by my mouth that I’ve never seen before in my life. My hubs says it’s because I’ve lost so much weight…. but you can move my skin and it stays there…. I was looking at photos of myself from just a couple years ago…. and I feel like chemo has aged me 15 years… All I can do is PRAY it returns to normal when this crap is out of my body….. There is something to be said about FAT because it plumps your wrinkles…. I may seriously need botox…

Around the 8th day….. I wake up with what feels like a head cold…. my nose is stuffy, it runs…. and runs and runs…..and I have no nose hairs, so it just runs out… GROSS!  My eyes get extremely puffy… the entire eye underneath, the lids…. all of the eye…. and they water all the time. Around the 10th day… I get a chemo rash… although it seems the longer I have chemo in my body… the less rash I get…. but it’s usually on my face…. little tiny blisters… Around this time I also get mouth sores…. like all the taste buds in your mouth are sticking out of your tongue….. nothing tastes good, fruit actually stings…. I get other mouth sores too… but sometimes it goes into my throat and feels like I have a sore throat…. they give you a disgusting mouthwash to help…

And then you see people and say…. you’re doing so good!!!!! And I agree… because some people do not get out of bed with the course of chemo I’m taking…. My chemo nurse asked me how I do with it because she has a friend that is doing it and she said… “she doesn’t leave her bed”…. I said it before… I think my body is actually adjusting and getting used to chemo…. and I think everyone around me is adjusting to it as well.… Sometimes my family forgets…… and expects me to do everything I usually do…. My best friend said I’ve made it look easy…. I agree, I have….. I have a really high pain tolerance and I’ve decided that life needs to be lived… chemo or no chemo…. but in doing that… I’ve created a new bar for myself…. and now it’s somewhat expected of me to be “normal”…. sometimes I’m just NOT normal…. and feel like absolute crap.

My husband is getting annoyed with my chemo brain…. I forget if I’ve told him things…. I can’t finish my thoughts or think of words sometimes…..I start to say something and I stop….. It’s actually nice to hear that I am not the only one who experiences this….

My surgery is ONE month away…. ONE month. End is in sight… I cannot wait for all of this to be over…

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