Episode XVII: No Coward Soul Is Mine
So, I made it through last night with minimal chemo side-effect issues. Now it was time to take the second Neulasta shot. At least, I had some idea what to expect...
Not thrilled, but ready...
Since my family has been giving me a hard time saying I look "too happy" when having chemo I made sure to take a few pictures that expressed my super-excited attitude. But in reality, I know I am killing cancer so I am happy to get the treatment. It doesn't mean I enjoy it though!
Look at me! I am crazy excited, think...
Happy Happy Joy Joy, Ren & Stimpy song
The shot was once again quickly given. I think my total time at the Cancer Center was maybe 10 minutes. That treatment was fast. Of course, it does pack a punch. By the time I got home, it was already in affect. When I flung my leg out of the car I knew it was working, because there was a slight tinge in my right hip, femur, and knee. I know what was ahead of me.
Because I had an early appointment time and I am half-idiotic right now, I had forgotten to take my morning Zyrtec. So, I immediately took that when I got home. It does seem to make a difference. 2 pills, one in the morning and one at night make a huge difference in pain relief. Take the Zyrtec!
So, by that evening the pain had hit and it hit pretty hard. Like before the bones felt brittle and if anyone thought of touching my shoulders up, I might have taken a swing at them... well, if I could have lifted my arm. The pain was from my knees up, in each bone, so I was feeling the Neulasta love.
The pain was starting to invade me.
Of course, when it invades your neck and head space it was especially difficult. My jawbone felt like glass, which made eating an ordeal. I could eat 3 beans at a time and chew them very slowly, 4 at a time was much. I could eat 2 macaroni noodles at one time. A small bowl of these two things took almost 2 hours to chew and eat. My neck was again sore, so swallowing hurt as well. Even pudding felt like an ordeal.
At 2 am I woke up with twisted locked fingers and an overwhelming since of discomfort. From my knee to the top of my head I hurt. The bones felt of glass. My hands were numb, but in pain. My neck felt stiff. It took all of my energy and strength to move my body in any direction, but I had to move. The pain of laying on my side was unbearable. I began grabbing the pills from the side table deciding that it was time to take something (Morphine - which didn't cut the pain, Phenegren - which barely helped with the nausea, & Lorazepam - which did eventually make me sleep). I learned it took at least 45 minutes before anything began to work... and time can go slowly when you hurt. I sat up in bed with only a few tears telling myself that "It could be worse"... and "This sucks".
So by the second day the pain was bad and I was ready to just sleep through it if possible. It was my 2nd day out from chemo treatment, so I was not toxic anymore, and I needed all my sheets and clothes to be washed. I opted to shower, not because I care how nasty I am at that point, but because I wanted to get everything toxic out of the room - including my dirty self. The water felt like bullets on my back and head. My hair was falling out in clumps. It was so bad that I couldn't even brush my hair after getting out of the shower due to the amount of hair departing my body and the mess it was making. I really wanted to cut my hair off, but the sensitivity of my head would make it impossible. So, I let my hair remain piles of wadded mess and decided I would forget about it until the weekend. Plus, I promised the kids they could do it.
Ok, I hurt... come on drugs kick in!
I drugged myself with all the doctor prescribed goodies. My temperature was rising to 99.9, and the doctor/hospital worry number is 100.4. I was closer than I would like. Tylenol began to bring it back down. However, that up-down temperature thing would carry me into the third day too.
By the third day, I was better but still not great. I woke up to a pillow covered in hair, like a crazy shedding pet had slept on it. I attempted to run my fingers through the wadded mess that was my hair, and oops I shouldn't do that...
Falling out in clumps
My temperature was still fluctuating and the area below my right ear and neck was swollen and sore. Crazy sore. The stiff neck was always an issue for me so far, but the insane pain to the touch on a non-bone was not. So, I called in to the nurse line and it sounded like I was getting an infection. Yeah! Antibiotics were now necessary - however, better to be safe than sorry. They were huge pills - crazy big. The pain had decreased some, which was always good. I managed to eat something without my jaw hurting intensely. Each day was bring me one more day out of the pain, but I remained fatigued and sore because of that cold.
In my head...
Lets be honest, that sucked. The pain was bad, my hair was worse! And that cold was horrible! So, I am down another shot and made it! The bone pain could have been worse - my calves didn't get hit!
"In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great,
some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em."
- Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
"Some mean are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity,
and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them."
- Joseph Heller, Catch 22
Episode Reference: No Coward Soul Is Mine, Emily Bronte