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Why does getting better feel like dying?


First I’m going to tell you the good stuff. In the waning days of Round 3 (and I mean the very last couple of days) I was able to eat meals and enjoy food. The day before Round 4, I ate:

A butter and brie baguette, a raspberry Napoleon, and a Big Mac. It was fucking glorious. I regret nothing. Then, when I was at the hospital doing Round 4, my dear friend Amber surprised me with a visit! She sat with me and we chatted and laughed and the time fly by. It was SO awesome. I was super happy.

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That night, I was still feeling pretty good and so the family gathered for an impromptu dinner at our favorite Chinese place in Redmond (Golden Chopsticks) and I ate all the things. And they were delicious.

The next day (Day 2) I took Gunny to John Howie for lunch. I really didn’t eat anything, but I was having fun.

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In my pre-chemo appointment with Dr. Cap he told me that it wasn’t usual to feel so nauseous for so long and prescribed some new stuff: Prilosec (OTC) and Scopolamine patches for motion sickness. I was pretty stoked to have new ammo. Dr. Cap told me that we COULD lower my chemo dosage by 10%, but of course he recommended the highest dose possible. So I told him that I’d take the full-tilt boogie Round 4 and if I was totally miserable we could maybe talk about the 10% thing for Round 5.

New side effects: I have no hair in my nose and my vision is hella blurry.

So, then armed with my new meds I waited to feel not terrible. And I’m still waiting. The Prilosec either can’t keep up with my heartburn, or the Zantac works a little bit better. I feel as though there is a bubble of stomach acid resting behind my sternum all the time. I don’t know what percentage of my nausea/lack of appetite can be chalked up to this. Honestly, I don’t know if this is nausea or what anymore. I can’t remember what it feels like to be hungry or to just have a normal stomach.

The worst bit though, is the weakness. It’s pervasive. And it’s lasting a really really long time. On Monday (Day 5) I drove Allison to Pony Camp at a local park. By the time I’d walked her from the parking lot to the barn and back to my car, I was afraid I would pass out. I sat in my car and didn’t know if I was safe to drive home. I took this picture.

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I spent most of the day in bed, sleeping a lot but also staring into space and thinking morbid thoughts. What if this is the rest of my life? What if the cancer comes back and I’m stage 4 and the remainder of my years is constant chemo and feeling like shit? I think about quality of life and then smack myself because here I lie in my memory foam queen sized bed in the richest country on earth with the best health care reading fucking Harry Potter on my Kindle and bitching about how yucky I feel.

Fun Fact: Insurance doesn’t cover motion sickness patches. I paid $110 for five patches!

I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty about a lot of things. I don’t eat with the family. I’m not watching TV in the living room with them. The sink fills with dishes, the washer and dryer are idle, the cat box overflows. Did the six-year-old get a bath? Probably not. I’m contributing nothing. How tired my family must be of me and my goddamn uselessness.

Today is Day 7. I don’t feel any stronger. I went to Target after Pony Camp drop-off and nearly had to sit down in the aisle. My pulse as I walked (according to my Apple Watch) was 38. I trolled the food aisles for anything that might pique my appetite. I grabbed two kinds of soup. When I got home I tried the vegetable, but spit out the first and only bite. Next up, creamy potato broccoli. Made it three bites, but then…NOPE. So I’m back on chicken broth, which I’m sipping from a mug my sisters-in-law sent me from Florida. It says Cancer touched my boob, so I kicked its ass!

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I am so grateful for the science that is saving my life right now. I just wish it didn’t feel like it was killing me.

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11 thoughts on “Why does getting better feel like dying?

  1. I read all of your posts and updates. I always want to say something but I know there is nothing I can say that will help you feel better, heal quicker, etc. The only words that bubble up to the surface are “I Love You”. So when you see my heart comments please know that’s exactly what I’m thinking. I love you, your family loves you, we all love you. I’m so sorry you’re going through this and feeling so shitty.

    My coworker was dealing with Cancer last year too. She’s doing much better now. I wish the same for you. ❤

  2. I’m so sorry you’re continuing to feel lousy from the lousy chemo. I’ve been pretty lucky. Had a lousy first round but the second time did pretty good after 4 days and this week even made it back to feeling like me!! But now my 3rd round is delayed because my platelets are too low. bummer. That now means a week longer IF my platelets are up on Friday. It’s always something but I will make it thru one day at a time and so will you!

    • Yikes. I’ve been super fortunate with my white counts and platelets. I’ve got a vacation scheduled right after my final round so I’m terrified of any delay! Do they give you an extra booster to help the platelets along? Or do they just wait? Hang in there, Bev!

  3. Lisa McIntyre on said:

    I’m sorry you’re feeling so crummy, but so proud of the way you can still be so gracious. You’ve got this. ❤

  4. A friend from California on said:

    I promise you that this is temporary.
    You never have to live this day again and you are a day closer to getting to the other side.
    Don’t feel guilty. Guilt is a worthless emotion. Your only job, and the one job your family cares about is staying alive.
    Taking care of you is taking care of them. You are amazing. You. Are. Amazing. You are amazing! Thank you for sharing your heart.

  5. I know exactly how you feel, fellow breast cancer patient. “This too will pass.”

    • High five to you! Isn’t it odd to figure out what to call ourselves? I feel like “survivor” is a bit premature. I once wrote “victim” which felt too passive and yet accurate. I guess “patient” is the best option. Hugs to you!

  6. Pingback: Breast Cancer: The End. | Trixieland

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