Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dialing it in bit by bit

Last week I was still on the roller coaster, with lots of ups and downs. But slowly I feel like I'm getting a handle on how this treatment is effecting me, and how to stay on top of it. By Week 6, I'll finally have it all figured out. Yes, that's when the treatment ends.

Caveat: everything I write here is with respect to how the treatment effects me, and may or may not be applicable to other patients. I only say that because the main thing that effects me even more than the treatment itself is when people tell me what they think I must do to survive. Every patient is different, and there is only so much information I can handle at any time during my treatment. Anything beyond that feels like someone has flipped me upside-down and flushed a hose of water in my face. I truly love having access to people who can answer the questions I have and are open to me requesting advice, and I thank everyone for such offers. But I've learned that strong opinions and articles with even a speck of negativity sweep away the optimistic and positive attitude that is most important for my survival. So...let the games begin!

The nausea comes in and out. I've been approved to take up to 4 anti-nausea pills per day. As usual, I tend to be resistant to adding medication. Towards the end of the rough Wednesday, however, I took one of the pills and felt better within an hour. So I added another one for every morning as well. Thursday was a pretty good day as a result, and I was generally energetic and hungry most of the day.

I am definitely more tired than before, though it's hard to tell since I've appreciated naptime throughout my entire life. However, Thursday night I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep since my mind was racing around thinking about the "dark side" of the force. As a result, Friday was miserable. I was trying to sleep most of the day, and even after taking the anti-nausea medication, I could never tell if I was hungry. Friday night I went to bed early, slept late, and Saturday was another very good day. Another possibility, which is part of this week's research project, is that as the radiation treatment continues throughout the week, perhaps the fatigue is increasing. Since Saturday has no radiation, it's possible that I recover some of my energy. If this is the case, I will likely try working part-time early in the week, and tapering off as the week moves on.

The "Kids in the Pool"-
Yes, this is probably TMI. I'll keep it brief by saying that I'm handling this side-effect fairly well with OTC medications and some tasty fiber cereals. That makes a big difference as well on my energy and nausea. 'Nuff said.

Female Sympathy-
I've heard from more than one of my female friends that my nausea might be on par with what a pregnant woman feels, and my irritability might approach that of a woman on PMS. If that's the case, then boys, please be at least as kind to them as you have been to me. And who knows? Maybe my next MRI will look something like an ultrasound....

Blinded by Science-
This week I will be meeting with one of the physicists that works at the cancer center where my radiation appointments are. It's as if this tumor has given me a unique learning opportunity that all you "healthy" people can't have. Nya nya nuh boo boo.

Ok, back to eating my strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar. And if you think this is unhealthy for me and my treatment, please keep it to yourself. Emotionally it brings me back to some of the most spectacular parts of my childhood, which for me is a saving grace hundreds of times better than anything else. And besides, all three were organic....


  1. Cheering for you W!!!

    Go W Go!
    Go W Go!
    Hey hey Chicago what do you say?
    W is going to win today.

    Oh wait. That cheer sucks. Chicago took the day off for the crises. And the Cubs, in general, suck ass. But it is a really catchy tune. Yea, sometimes all you really need is a catchy tune.

  2. I have never tried strawberries and sour cream. Sounds intriguing. Thanks for these updates and the kindly warnings.

  3. I think you should eat lots more strawberries and cream, preferably with brownies on the side. Hugs! Just say SUYOB.. xo Jodi

  4. Wow. Long before you got to the female sympathy part I too was seeing how much like pregnancy this sounds! Complete with each person finding their own method, that works the best. I was given the anti-nausea pills. Didn't want 'em yet was surprised to find that they did work when I needed 'em.

    As for strawberries plus anything...oh yes.