Breast Cancer Entry Twenty-One

I sit obediently in my “chemo chair” while they hook me up to a variety of toxic syrups. Within minutes of the treatment I am feeling it; the scrambled thinking, shaky limbs, nausea, blurry eyes, and a variety of other symptoms. I feel it in my stomach the worst. I know tonight I will have the acidiest stomach of my life and that I won’t be able to digest food very well. I know I will have to sleep upright to protect my esophagus. The Doctor has given me all the usual meds for taking care of my stomach, but the onslaught is so great that I struggle every time. I get the shots that will stimulate my bone marrow into making more white blood cells and make me ache and throb for a few days.

I have been called into action by yet another chemotherapy treatment. I will have to make sure I exercise and sauna every day (it helps get the stuff out of my system after it has done its work) and eat very carefully – an alkaline based diet. I’ll cook my food to make it easier on me. I’ll rest and drink lots of water and meditate. It gets me through it. I will go see Brendon (my physical therapist) and he will get my gut all relaxed again. Then I will see Dr. Zeng for some acupuncture which always helps restore my circulation. I have developed some neuropathy in my legs and feet and this really seems to help. I’ll also get a lymphatic message before the week is out and that will help buffer these chemo effects too. All I do is take care of myself.

My energy is down. The isolation is the worst. I haven’t seen my grandchildren for weeks….little virus carrying angels. I look at their little faces in the photos on my wall and I am more determined than ever to live longer and be with them. This is the most depressed I have felt since I started treatments. I think my chemistry is being damaged (Duh!) because I am not too prone to depression. It might be that the meeting with my doctor upset me…Actually I’m sure of it.

My best friend, Gayle, flew into town to be with me for my chemo appointment. I mentioned to the doctor that I was so surprised how perfect my tissue looked – quite normal! The doctor made the comment that looks can be deceiving and that this cancer would just show up some place else later. I was appalled by her glibness. I swear the medical community banters around statistic and numbers like a ticker tape of doom.

I can‘t imagine what their statistics have to do with me. Would it be against the rules to say “Yippee! You’re tissue does look good. Let’s hope for the best. In the meantime, let’s stay on your treatments because after all, this is a nasty cancer, blah…blah…blah…” Why can’t they ever say anything encouraging?! I think it is such a travesty to play the life and death game and not be in the hope business as well. One of the nurses once said to me that they didn’t like to give “false hope”. REALLY! Now if that isn’t an oxymoron what is? How can hope be false? Hope is just that…HOPE! No such thing as false hope…I refuse to give up my hope.

Every time I show up for chemo the doctors mention how great I look and how my blood counts always snap back within normal ranges. They can’t believe I haven’t had a serious infection in all these months or that I always recover without lasting side effects week after week. They say it’s “remarkable” and yet they just can’t resist a little kick in the shins before they are done with me. Shouldn’t we be happy about these things?

Anyway, my body has been taking a beating for months and the doctors have hurt my spirits today and I am worrying again…gotta stop this! I can’t seem to break the spell. I am praying and meditating for emotional relief. I have been a very good soldier, but lately I am worn out…I know it’s normal under these circumstances, but I can’t get well if I give up…I truly believe this.

Wait just a minute! I nearly forgot that I don’t have to shoulder this alone. Today I am giving this burden to God and the Universe. I’m going to lay this down and rest…someone else handle this for me today please. Thanks.

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