Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I GET KNOCKED DOWN

My Little Hero - 2003

Since I had made it through the first half of the chemo treatments with many side effects but nothing that I couldn’t handle, I figured that the next four treatments would go quite smoothly as well.  I was very wrong about that.  I knew that each treatment would leave me feeling worse than the one before and so far this had happened gradually.  However, after switching from the Doxorubicon (Adriamycin) / Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) cocktail to the Docetaxel (Taxotere) for treatment #5, I got beat up pretty badly.  Pummelled into the ground actually.   I mean I was literally on the ground.

So in early December I had my usual blood work done as I always do before each treatment and then had the new chemo cocktail administered just before the weekend.  I left the cancer centre feeling somewhat weak and really off.  Those walks down the long hallway from the treatment room to the outside world were getting slower each time.  I was thinking that the hallway must be getting longer than last time, like in a bad dream.  When I arrived home I felt extremely tired but otherwise not too bad.  I was given some new meds to deal with the side effects of the Taxotere and I took those along with the usual slew of other drugs lined up on my bathroom counter.  (It really was starting to look like a pharmacy in there.)  I went to bed that evening thinking that this new treatment that took about five hours to administer, was definitely worse than any other treatments but not as bad as I had anticipated.

Me and My Boy - LaRonde 2003
I felt incredibly weak and tired for about 48 hours and then all hell broke loose.  I woke up in the middle of the night in so much pain that I just couldn’t stand it.  I felt as if all the bones in my body were going to explode, I felt nauseous, my head was pounding, my mouth was dry, I was aching in every part of my body and I felt like I had been severely beaten or run over by a dump truck.  Or both.  I tried to call out for Mike but I couldn’t get any sound to come out of my mouth.  I was in my bedroom on the second floor and he was all the way in the family room in the basement.  The kids were sleeping.  I kept trying to call out and I have no idea how long I did that for.  It seemed liked hours but it was probably only a few minutes.  Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion.  Finally I mustered up the strength to get out of bed.  I had a hard time standing up and putting one foot in front of the other was a major task.  I managed to stagger to the hallway and then I collapsed on the floor.  I was trying desperately to get Mike’s attention.  I needed help.  I dragged myself through the hallway on the floor and kept trying to call Mike’s name.  The pain was excruciating.  There were several major low points during this whole cancer ordeal but there are a few that really stand out in my mind.  This was the first major low point.  I call it “Helpless in the Hallway.”

When I got to the end of the hall Alex woke up.  He came out of his room and found me lying in a heap on the floor and I was in pain.  It probably scared the crap out of him.  I was so sorry that I’d woken him up and I didn’t want him to be scared but at the same time I was glad that he could then get Mike for me.  Poor little guy came to me right away, “Mom!  Are you okay?!?!  What can I do – let me help you.”  I asked him to please go downstairs and get Daddy.  I don’t think he wanted to leave me alone and he also wanted to be the one to help me.  He wanted to be my hero – I knew that.  He did that once when he was about three years old and Mike was out of town and I had a serious case of the flu.  I remember being so sick that I had no strength left and I wasn’t able to do a good job of looking after him and his sister, who was a small baby at the time, and I had called a friend to help me.  (A rare occasion when I actually asked for help.  I can be so stubborn sometimes.  Yes I admit it okay?!)  Alex was furious that she came to help.  He insisted that we didn’t need her and that he was going to look after me and Tasza.  It was actually kind of rude of him but he was such a little man and I remember loving him to pieces for it.  He was three years old and he was trying so hard to be my knight in shining armour.  He was coming to my rescue again now.  After I assured him I would be okay, he finally went to get his Dad.  Mike was at my side in no time and the two of them got me back to bed.
Alex's Confirmation - 2006

Mike got me the medications I needed and then called the doctor because the pain was so intense that we didn’t know what to do next.  Mike stayed with me and tried to make me feel better and eventually I passed out and slept some more.  In the morning he went to the hospital and got a new prescription for me to help with the pain.  My oncologist decided to increase the dose of medication that I was taking and taper it over several more days so that the next time around I wouldn’t have such a horrible reaction and intense pain.  Thank God because I didn’t know if I could endure that again.

I spent the next few days in a very sleepy state but I started to slowly feel a bit better after a few days.  It didn't last long though.  Things deteriorated again shortly after that.

I Get Knocked Down - Chumbawamba


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