Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Post Chemo Wrap Up

My last chemotherapy infusion was June 11, followed by a week of the worst health I'd had since I'd started treatment. My fatigue and ennui was overwhelming, it was very shocking. I'd come home after labs on my birthday, intending to reward myself by working on sewing, but instead I plopped down and watched the The Retro Network (Rockford Files, thanks for asking).

After more Neupogen shots, my condition improved dramatically and we took a Vacation From Cancer, an Alaskan cruise. I'd never been on a cruise ship before and that was fun. The pace on a cruise is verrrrry slow and that's what we all needed. Alaskan scenery is stunning. We wore warm clothes a lot. We have a little movie of it, if you want to see it.

The week following that, I had to immediately return to The Job and get my scans — a CT, a bone scan, and a breast MRI. Here's a tip for you if you're getting a CT: if you tip your head back, back, and pour barium smoothie "shots" from a small Dixie cup down your throat, it's a lot easier to deal with (as opposed to trying to "drink" it). Also, my barium had gotten a little frosty, so it was a slushy texture — also made it easier to get down.

An MRI is a funny deal. My mother-in-law always begs us to never let anyone put her in a MRI chamber, but with a breast MRI, you're face down and can't see anything anyway. So I close my eyes and just listen to the techno sounds of the machine. I swear it's true — someone out there has probably found a groove based on the sounds of an MRI.

None of these things are painful. The worst part, including the chemo infusions, is forcing yourself to go to these places and have these things done to you. It's so strange. You are there under duress, and yet for all appearances, you are there voluntarily and happily submitting yourself to whatever is in store. It's actually your decision to be there. You can't know what this feels like until it happens to you.

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