Chemo – Round 2

It’s the day after my second round of chemo. Now I’m half way there. Two down, two to go. Eye on the prize.

Because I knew what to expect, this round was less anxiety-inducing. I still took the Ativan, as recommended. 🙂 Even the threat of nausea from nerves is enough to get me to take it. 1/2 a milligram – I can do that.

We stuck with the same time for the first drug – why mess with success, no wasabi nose, no frozen lips, if it worked the first time, keep it. I don’t care about getting out 10 minutes earlier and risking wasabi dripping nose.

On went the ice gloves. Ugh. Aside from the fact they are dripping cytotoxic poisons into my veins, the ice gloves are the worst part. Freaking cold. And this time I got minor frostbite on three fingertips. Hurt like (supply appropriate expletive) as they warmed up. The tips were white -very nasty. As they warmed up and blood started flowing again, they really stung – and that lasted 24 hours. Thank goodness for Unda cream.

Staying ahead of the nausea is key. The drugs are working for me, but I want to take as few as possible. So I follow the recommended path of drinking lots of water, and keeping food in my stomach. I eat small amounts frequently – every couple of hours. Seems to be working for me. Saltines are my new bff.

And, the rest of my hair fell out this week. What little I had left I shaved off today. The number one buzz cut. And, as it was all falling out this week, I discovered I had natural multiple colours – from brown to light strawberry blonde. Who knew? The dark stuff all fell out first, and the natural blonde hung in there til I shaved it off. The things you learn when your hair falls out in stages. 😉 And, I have to say that I don’t look half bad bald. Much better than the patches. I think I look younger than when I have a full head of hair. Go figure.

I was lucky to get my same amazing chemo nurse – the wonderful Chantall. I made a request to have her, and she was nice enough to switch with another nurse to be able to be mine! Having a consistent nurse who knows your body, your reactions, your fobias – who knows you, is such an important thing. All chemo nurses are a special breed of compassion, and I’m sure they are all great, but it’s critical to me and my patient experience to have the same one all the way through.

So now the purge of those cytotoxins begins – lots of water to pee it all out. Keep those cancer-fighting assassins visualization going, and the clean sweepers flushing out all those dead cancer cells swooping in behind. I do find that visualization helps – keeps me focused on dealing with the side effects, reminding me why I willingly show up for chemo each time.

Earlier this week I gave a speech on my cancer patient experience to a room full of 400 of my workplace peers (a Leadership Forum). I’ve received many emails and calls saying how powerful it was and that they felt it would lead to real change. Most said it was brave to share my story. I have no issues standing up to tell my story and inspire real change to the patient experience – that’s not bravery. Bravery is showing up for chemo on your scheduled day, even though you know what’s coming.

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