This was, by far, the worst session of chemo. I knew it would be; i said as much going into it. There were a combination of factors:
- BIGGEST ONE – The amount of stress and germs that permeated my body from having to go back to work took a huge toll on my sleep, energy, attitude, and immune defenses. I cannot emphasize this part enough.
- My immune system has been too weak to deal with my bronchitis and subsequent 9-week stint of coughing, which was so persistent that i sometimes ended up vomiting in my mouth. (How’s that for descriptive???)
- The day before chemo, I had to get my expanders drained and stitches put in by my breast scars – on both sides. My body isn’t responding efficiently *or* efficaciously to any infection whatsoever, apparently. Dr. Curley warned me this would happen. Every time i get a treatment session, my body does not recover back to 100% of its normal capability, so after 5 sessions, my body is at approximately a 50% capacity, compared to Pre-chemo, Pre-cancer, Super-Tarah. For the record, i view anything below an 80% average as failing; this 50% nonsense is practically foreign to my whole worldview.
- I couldn’t fast this time around. Okay, i suppose “couldn’t” isn’t the most accurate term … I made a CHOICE not to fast. For one thing, I’ve been on antibiotics for the last three weeks, and life does not treat you well if you try to take antibiotics on an empty stomach. The stomach also doesn’t appreciate being thrown a batch of vitamin supplements when it’s running on empty. This was *part* of my reasoning for just abandoning the fast. (The other part was having a “fuck everything” attitude when i had to come home on Thursday without being able to get my chemo treatment.)
- Since Thursday’s chemo session got delayed until Friday, Friday’s treatment portion also had to be moved back a day. The normal Friday shot i have to take ended up being injected into my skin via a patch on Saturday. This pushed back my whole recovery by one day, leaving me stressed out about having to justify my six consecutive days of (unpaid) absences to apathetic job bosses.
- “Cat tongue” and “metal mouth” have been particularly prominent this time around. With the exception of strawberry and coconut popsicles, everything tastes like metal and hurts the inside of my mouth to chew. Since Sunday, I have been making food, taking 1-2 bites, then throwing the rest in the compost bin.
- Weakness and fatigue continue to be the same … although i will say that i feel the pain of this bedridden status even more when, like now, i have a loved one in from out of town to try to handle me in the aftermath of chemo. I know it has not been the least bit easy for her these past 6 days.
Luckily, in this absolute agony, there is one thing that brings a continual joy to my face: these goddamned pets.