welcome to the danger zone

Poison, Pain and Panic Part 2 (aka Holy Cabbage, That’s A Real Manatee Mailbox)

As promised, I’ve returned to continue the saga of this new and exhilarating round of chemo…and the aftermath. Some people would call them side effects, but that would be too kind. Truth be told, Tuesday and Wednesday weren’t that bad…that is until I went to get my Neulasta shot.

Side note: I started this on Friday. I kept falling asleep as I typed. I tried again yesterday, same thing. So I’m back now on Sunday. Let’s see if we can get part two done.

Neulasta. This is the shot I get after at least 24 hours after, and at least 2 weeks before, chemotherapy. It is to help my body replace the white blood cells that chemo kills. That’s called neutropenia. Low white blood cell count. Of course, it also kills my red blood cells, or platelets, too. To fix that they give you blood. I like when they give me blood. It makes me feel alive, as well as makes me feel like a vampire, which is loads of fun. I do not like Neulasta. It is not fun, and I don’t like it in a chair, I do not like it anywhere. There’s a really funny story on the Neulasta website about how it might cause some achy bones and muscles, and this can be relieved with an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol. LIES!! LIES!!! LIES!!! Percocet relieves the pain. And let’s stop pretending it’s achy muscles and bones…it’s pain like you’re  Lutheran and the Spanish Inquisition is gonna make you confess your heresy. Like a million little sharp toothed pac-women eating your bones like they are made of dots.  Like wasp stings under your skin. Like dropping your cell phone on your big toe in all of your long bones, over and over again. Mild pain my ass. And you are talking to the girl who thought child birth was a piece of cake and actually pushed out a big ol’ baby with not one pain killer. Who likes to get tattoos because of that endorphin thing that comes with pain. Neulasta kicked my bottom like nothing else has yet. Of course, this is my personal reaction to that stuff – other people may have different side effects, but for me, I have come to dread the shot more than the chemo itself.

But it was a sunny day when I got the shot and I did get to go and visit my other son Corey and Janessa and the adorable Mariah, because she has begun crawling. She is the most adorable baby in the world, and indeed, a fine crawler. She wanted my prayer beads badly, and tried to smack me down to get them from me, and had several pony rides on my knee. Mariah is a very smart child in that she knows that all things are hers, and under no circumstance, is anything that she wants the property of anyone else. I like that in her – she  knows what she wants, and she goes after it. She’s such a good baby. She rarely cries, unless she is hungry, and then you know without a doubt it is time to feed her. It’s good to spend time with her…makes me feel normal.

Anyway, I don’t like the Taxol and Carboplatin either. They make me much more sick, but the anti-nausea drugs and the steroids do make a huge difference. If I miss one does, I know it. It lets me eat, but food still tastes weird. Even chocolate was tasting weird. Can you even stand it? Chocolate of all things. This go round I wanted lots of ice cream. Apparently, Taxol also causes the bone and muscle pain, which also added to my joy. And Taxol has caused hair loss in 100% of patients treated with it. You may wonder about the hair loss…I know I did…it doesn’t happen suddenly, or at least it doesn’t for me…it isn’t even happening very fast, or in clumps yet, just an unusually large amount of loose hair in my hands and brush. I thought I might escape it, but apparently I won’t. I just hate the waiting – I just wish it would happen so I can shave the rest off and start wearing my awesome hat collection. Yesterday I got a new monkey hat. I wore it in the car for a while, but it was rather hot. I can’t enjoy it yet. As I sit here typing I realize there are few people ( and by few, I mean none)  at the cancer institute that wear fun hats. I would think that there are so few bonuses of having cancer that people would jump on the benefit of wearing unusual hats. I mean, people are gonna stare at you anyway, why not make them smile? Or yourself smile, because I know when I put on a monkey hat, I smile even if I can’t see how adorable I am when wearing it. (Anna, I know you are cringing at the thought of a monkey head on top of mine, but think of it as protection from the monkeybats)

I need to find a manatee hat now, and a llama hat. And maybe a Russian vampire deer hat ( and they are so real, I saw it on animal planet). Ewww, I just had a bad thought…what if I look like Jaaba the Hutt now, when I’m all bald and fat and bloaty. Ick. Best to think happy thoughts of looking like a walrus or manatee.

DAMN COMPUTER. I need to get a mac book. I know I’ve whined about this before, but this laptop, while it has served me well as an internet tool, is not very reliable as a document producer or a productivity tool. It’s far too slow, only has one USB port, and has a freakish tendency to move the cursor to some weird spot in the text then suddenly delete it all. I’d be much more productive with a Mac. So if any of my dear readers know of anyone who is upgrading to a new mac book, or even a new imac, ask them if they want to sell their old one – I can’t even think of buying a new one right now, and I don’t want to invest even a small amount of money in another windows based machine, because I really just need a mac, and if I get a new windows laptop, I’ll feel guilty about getting a mac for another few years. So please, goddesses of Appleness, please direct a macbook, or better yet, a macbook pro my way. I’ll write more, I’ll edit more video, I’ll be more creative. And I won’t lose three paragraphs I just typed before I go up to take my medication. (and yes, I do have auto save – this persnickity machine will erase stuff, and then immediately autosave it so I can’t go back to the previous version)

Sorry about the random nature of this entry. I’d written three paragraphs and then had them erased by the machine and that was very irritating. This computer was never as advanced as I needed a computer to be, but at the time it was all I could afford. I would update this blog a lot more often if I didn’t have to fight with the trackpad and keyboard every time I want to do an entry. As a result, everything I just wrote about Thursday and Friday will be condensed into this. Thursday sucked. I called the wonderful Ann Gelder to get something for pain, but Drs. can’t call narcotics into the pharmacy. So I got the extra-strength Certs of painkillers – Tylenol 3. At least it helped the feeling that river trolls where playing tug of war with my bones. There was no getting out of bed that day. Friday was much of the same, except I had to leave and get my bloodwork done. It took most of the day to get out of bed. Everything hurt…but I made it to Hershey and back. Then I tried to go to B’s 21st birthday celebration next door. I lasted about 5 minutes and went home to bed – shakey, sore, and exhausted. The anti-nausea stuff, ginger beer, and steroids help a lot, but they also have side effects, well, except for the ginger beer, but that is expensive and clearly not covered by my insurance plan. I tried a less expensive variety, but only Reed’s Extra Ginger Ginger Brew really does the trick. And for that, I need to go to Giant in Hershey. Saturday, more of the same, feeling slightly better, but not “good”.

Then it was Sunday. I woke up hungry, and since I was invited to the Rooney’s for Easter dinner, I was going to wait to eat until I got there. I managed to eat a real meal without incident, and even had a piece of peanut butter pie (YUMMY) before I succumbed to exhaustion and pain and went home and gobbled some Tylenol 3’s and tried to sleep…and I managed to get some until…

Yep. There’s a part 3. And since that is probably the funniest segment of the aftermath of chemo, I will force you to wait another day or two. Some of you have already heard me tell the tale live – but writing it down will be so much funnier. In the meantime, I can tell you I got a new stuffed vulture, which I will photograph shortly. He’s very soft, and has large wings. I got a puppet too. And, as you know a new monkey hat. I also got one of those find-it tubes. Yeah, they look easy until you start to try and find things in it. Let me just say that it is now 24 hours since I got it, and I’m only half-way through the list of things to find.

I’m going to do another post today though of pictures that I haven’t posted from this adventure, just to keep you coming back. I need more followers, so tell your friends. Subscribe if you haven’t. Like my posts, and give me stars. I’m needy, and need to know you like me. And I did really see a manatee mailbox in Pennsylvania. I thought they were only in Florida. Later this week I will go back and take a picture of it and post it here. So if you aren’t a subscriber to my blog, you might miss that amazing event. So for now, I need a meatloaf sandwich, and a nap. So, for now my dahlings, I’m off.

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