I Get The Jitters

My U of U (where I got my bachelor's degree) Power of Pink T-shirt

The days before my next chemo treatment are well defined by my having the jitters. I know what is going to happen, Friday is the same type of chemo I got the last three times. It doesn’t really matter though because I still get nervous. The night before my first chemo I cried for an hour (maybe more, good thing I don’t wear a watch), I was scared to death. Mike had to talk me down back to as normal as I could get. Who wouldn’t get scared? You go and poison yourself, on purpose!

During my third chemo treatment a woman sat next to me who was there for her first time and she had that same fear in her eyes. Her companions reached out to me for some answers on what to expect and what my suggestions were since I was smiling and goofing off (hey, I said I get scared the night before, not that I am freaked out while it is happening). This is what I have learned:

  • Fill up your tummy before chemo, you will feel better overall with food in your tummy. I could be wrong, but I really felt better not having an empty stomach during and not needing to eat immediately after. I am there for several hours, you are bound to need a meal in there somewhere.
  • You never know what to expect. The last 3 chemo treatments had completely different side effects on completely different days. I don’t know which ones to count on happening when, so I just have to play this thing by ear. Of course I am a little nervous to switch chemo drugs here for my 5th treatment, because I really have no idea what to expect, and the more I try to overthink it, the more likely I am to just make it worse.
  • You may not lose all of your hair super fast. I still have a fuzzy head (we shaved it), I would look very patchy and odd if we hadn’t shaved it, but some hair is gone from some places and not from others. I like not having to shave my armpits, but the lack of hair in my nose gives me a runny nose at the less opportune moments. My legs are still patchy and I am happy to have some eyebrows for the time being.
  • Attitude really does matter. Seriously. Nobody is going to tell you chemo is a picnic, it gets you down sometimes, but you can’t let the “down” win. I love that I have my job and great people in my life to keep me busy and feel as normal as possible. If I stayed locked up in my house all of the time I would probably go stir crazy. No matter how exhausted I am when I get home from work, I am still so very happy to be there rather than my house. I try to smile as much as I can because I can’t change that I have cancer or that I am getting treated for it, I can just hope for the best and run with that.
  • Exercise no matter how crappy you feel. I exercised every day when I woke up (still limited a bit by recent surgery, but will get back on that bandwagon after my infusion Friday). It gives pep to your step, and really does help with mental clarity and attitude.
  • Expect the unexpected. Nothing has come out as I planned so far… so as much as I hate to, I have to plan for the unexpected. I am a planner, so I have to plan for SOMETHING.

Tomorrow I will pack my fuzzy pink leopard print blanket, snacks, and laptop into my chemo care bag. I will double check my appointment time and try not to freak out too much.

Surgical update (I feel like writing in bullets today it seems):

  • I get a little sore after sitting at a desk all day at work, but have put in a pretty much full day at work every day this week so far. Hallelujah!
  • I really can’t tell you if I am healing or not because I just have no way to tell if it is sticking together under the stitches and each time I thought I was healing I wasn’t, so we just won’t venture to guess. Things seem healthy, so we will go with that.
  • I still have my surgical drain and will still have it when I get my infusion. Unless a miracle happens, I am still as juicy as ever, which was one of the reasons I wouldn’t heal properly the first time around. Luckily I bought clothes already that are better at hiding the darn thing. I also have mastered the art of sleeping on my back (which means I snore at night much to Mike’s dismay), which causes me less issues on accidentally tugging on the drain and the other things that made it much more uncomfortable the first time (plus one drain vs. five makes a real difference). I am in less of a hurry to get it removed the second I am eligible to have it removed, but won’t complain once I get it out.
  • Yes I will still most likely have chemo Friday. Unless my blood counts are off, I will still get chemo, stitches and drains and whatever else I have got going on won’t stop chemo. They don’t like to slow down chemo once they have started unless they don’t have any other choice, because it can make it less effective. The goal with managing my issues with surgery has been mostly to keep me in chemo.
  • Someday soon I will enjoy a life without antibiotics. I have pretty much been on antibiotics since my bilateral mastectomy in January. They are one of the reasons that I have been lucky enough not to get an infection so far, but two months on antibiotics isn’t a good thing. I should be able to stop them as soon as I get my drain out.


Author: Mandi

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