It's been a tough week.
Chemo was earlier than usual on Tuesday, which I thought was going to be good, even though the kids were home that day, enjoying the strike, so logistics were a bit fucked.
The girls were really good. They let me have a glorious 45-minute nap when I got home and then Frances woke me up with her usual burst into the room, yelling something rando like "I think Putin is evil!" It's adorable, actually, even though you feel like you're rotting in a dungeon and the king has ordered someone to wake you up abruptly and confuse you every hour before you ever get a good REM in.
The real problem was, when she did wake me up, it was only 3 pm, which meant I still had an entire afternoon, evening and night to enjoy the effects of the Taxol. For a couple of hours I sat outside, hunched over, and did a crossword puzzle to keep my mind sharp, Googling most of the answers, because, hey, I'm going through chemo, assholes. The girls played around me, poking me occasionally and I felt like the best mom ever.
The rest of the night was a blur, but with the zing of the steroids I felt like I was back in the thick of having an infant in the house, when your body begs to be released to your bed but your tiny captor reminds you your needs are no longer important. I slept maybe two hours before pulling myself out of bed and retreating to the couch to look up vaccination protocols for Kenya until the girls got up.
In the days since, sleep has been brutal and my cold keeps a vice grip on me, making me lazy and unambitious. But I continued to get out for 5 km every day, not feeling completely bought in to this power walking nonsense but pushing myself to complete something.
I meet up with Dr. A on Monday for another check-in and I've decided to lay everything out on the table: the neverending cold, the bloody nose, the heartbeat speed-up, skip, then catch up when I lay down, the hot flashes, the bad skin.
I've been pretty mum about this stuff because I have this fear that if I admit any side effects, I'll be stripped of my chemo badge. No soup for you!
I don't mean that in a "Oooh, so Carissa's not a master at this thing after all!" complex. It's more that I'm terrified that if I have any complaints, I'll be pulled out of the race for good, with crap options for saving my life. There isn't a shitload of other chemo drugs I can go on. If I have serious adverse affects from these ones, I'll either be forced to stop altogether, or I'll get some chemo lite. And I'm not ready to be punished that way, especially when pushing it with this brutal protocol is having some fantastic results.
Tuesday night, while the girls were getting their book readin' from Pete and not me, I glanced at my chest and saw that my cancerous rash was not only soft, it was skin-coloured. Normal. Not visible. So this is good shit I'm on, my friends. If I could have jigged on the spot, I would.
At that moment, it was okay that my facial features were rapidly disappearing and I had the libido of a eunuch. It would all be worth it if I could continue to the end.
But after putting up with my monitor (aka Pete) badgering me every second of every day to own up to feeling not so hot, I raise the white flag. I'll spill my guts next week and they can do what they will with me.
I'll continue to push it, though, no matter what the surgeon general recommends. And when you ask me if I'm tired like you are at 9 pm, I'll smile politely and tell you I'm coping quite well, thank you.