This is squeamish. Do not read if you are allergic to pain or have algophobia.
Chemotherapy is messy, uncomfortable, and you sit in a room with other people, many who are worse off than you are.
Essentially, they take your vitals, take some blood for testing, give you a doctor visit, and then put a needle in you for about 2 hours. After which you have an upset stomach that borders on nausea, and since they put Benadryl in the chemo solution (used to treat nausea, vomiting and to keep you calm during the treatment), you can’t drive a car and you need at least a two hour nap. Two serious after-effects: one is the vein that delivers the poison is frequently damaged and second is the horrible stench of the chemo solution can stay in your body for at least 24 hours.
They divide the chemo treatments into any number of six week sessions, with the last treatment being the worst as your body, with the damaged veins, hair loss, loss of appetite and the use of your taste buds, and overall fatigue, actually needs to recover. So they give you a week without chemo between each session. Which allows you to have a semi-normal life.
Last month I mentioned that I only had three more treatments left for my chemotherapy. I was fearing my last session as it is always the worst and I and my body were on the verge of a nervous breakdown (it is that bad). And I was counting down the weeks, knowing that at least it would be over by New Year’s and 2018 would look better than this past year.
When I got to the doctor’s office last week to begin my last treatment, I would told that it was not my last; I had one more long six week session to go through. The three treatments I was told had I left was just the last three of the particular session.
I just broke down and cried. And cried even more when they poked the vein in my right hand and they could not use it because of the damage to the vein.
So they poked in my left hand (I’m left-handed by the way) and transferred the chemo solution to the new needle. And the left the old needle in my right hand in case they needed to transfer back.
I could not use either of my hands. Could not even read. I just cried for about an hour and must have fallen asleep. I got a ride home (A plug here -> thank you to the ACS – American Cancer Society, for providing the rides!)
Getting home was a relief but I felt miserable for at least another day. I also felt something I usually don’t feel; despair. I could not think, or at least not think logically. Rational thoughts could not enter my mind. Just fear, anxiety, loneliness, and acute isolation.
It took me some time to get over it. What really help was recalling some inspirational thoughts during other tough times.
“It is not how man dies that determines his worth, but how he lives”.
I take this meaning as the desire, and the need, to be being honest, supporting other people who have it worse than I do (generally meaning protecting people from the evils of bigotry, ignorance, arrogance, and fears and other maladies that are transferred to minorities and people who are just born differently than most). I stand up for them.
I have a higher IQ than most people and mostly healthy body. Which means I don’t have an excuse not to help.
I like to think I have a good sense of humor. And I use both to keep motivate and to defend myself and others.
“You only have a limited time to be alive. What are you going to do in this limited time period?”
I am an atheist, so there are no second chances at life, no afterlife to correct wrongdoings, no divine intervention to help us limited and vulnerable human beings.
I could stay in a state of self-pity. But that would be a waste of my life and of precious time. Plus I would be miserable. And I don’t like misery. So let’s get better in health and outlook.
I wish everyone who is reading this blog (and that includes you) a Happy New Year’s and please have the courage to stand up to the Carrot Top (who sometime lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue) and the policies (legislative, religious, etc.) that hurt people, both common and the different.