This has been an extremely emotional last few days for me. I'm still trying to recover from my last infection which left me completely wiped out - add that to the menopause that chemo created - plus the huge decision I made this past Friday...it's a wonder I've still got any sanity left at all. Some may say I don't. At this point I won't argue.
This blog is going to be the hardest blog I've ever written. I'll start where I left off from my last post...
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I went to bed with unbelievable dread inside me. I knew when I woke up it would mean it was time to get more chemo pumped into my body. All night I tried to sleep, but couldn't. I threw a pity party and cried a little, but mostly I did absolutely nothing all night long except think about what the next week or so was going to be like. I had to remind myself that millions of people have gone through these treatments and were able to handle them and dang it, I could handle it, too! My thoughts were on my children and how much they needed me and how desperately I needed to be there for them. Just two more treatments. For Allison and Jacob. Destroy the cancer and stay alive!
Friday, June 5, 2009
The sun rose without me getting one moment of sleep. My dad had gone back to Florida and it was my mom's turn to drag the emotional wreck of a daughter to chemo. We get to the hospital early and I try to remain calm, but I feel myself falling apart. I found myself praying a lot that morning, but my mind was such a mess I wasn't sure what I was praying for. I was just so sleepy and sick and sore and wishing I was anywhere except at that hospital. How was it possible three weeks had passed since my last treatment. Another hospital stay in between treatments. The stress this was putting on Tom and the kiddos. I hated, desperately hated, my babies having to watch me go through this.
Time came finally and I got called back to the infusion room. My port was accessed, blood was taken, and I peed in the little cup. All that was left for me to do was talk to Dr Young then I would be hooked up to the IV so the poison could start flowing into my body. I have to leave the infusion room to get my quick exam done by Dr. Young. I don't have to wait long - the good doctor studies my chart and we chat for a moment about my latest hospital stay. It's at this moment that Dr. Young reminds me that I've already had four treatments - which was her original recommendation. She tells me that in those four treatments I've managed to get two pretty severe infections plus hospitalized for countless number of days. She doesn't think my body can handle much more. As of right now, none of the infections have affected any of my major organs. Let's quit the chemo now, she says.
Quit? I didn't even think about it. Yes, I told her. I was crying. I couldn't do another treatment. I was fighting the fight, and I was losing. There was no more fight left in me that day. Quit. Yes. I will quit. When I agreed to quit the treatment, I didn't think of anyone but myself - I just knew that right then and there I couldn't continue on. I also knew I didn't want to celebrate the news. Usually when you finish your chemo treatments there is a big production of ringing the bell in the infusion center. I felt defeated. I lost the fight. I didn't want to ring the bell - I didn't feel I deserved it.
The nurses cheered my news when they heard I was done. They probably thought I was crying happy tears, but I wasn't. I had to sit back down in the infusion room while they deaccessed my port. I wanted to scream that I changed my mind - that I wanted my poison. But I couldn't. What was I doing? My thoughts were so muddled at that point, I was almost hysterical screaming on the inside while trying to remain calm on the outside. What I wanted more than anything was to run back into Dr. Young's office and tell her I changed my mind. But I couldn't. I couldn't. I couldn't. I was ashamed that I couldn't.
Don't get me wrong...I knew what Dr. Young was saying was true. Chemo was all but destroying my body. It was getting harder and harder just to walk, because of the muscle pain it was causing me. There were many days I didn't leave my bed except to go to the bathroom. I'd read a lot about the drugs I was receiving and talked to a few people who had received the exact drugs - it seemed to me that these drugs were ravaging my body more severely than it did to others. I still sit in amazement thinking of the people who never missed a day of work while receiving the very treatment that caused me to spend half my time admitted to the hospital. But still...I had done four treatments. Two more? I couldn't do two more? For my family? I had this great life planned out ahead of me for when I finished my treatments. Six treatments of three chemotherapy drugs! That was the plan! If my cancer came back - I would know I did everything in my power the first time around. But I quit.
I can still call the doctor and tell her I changed my mind and get my next dose this week. I can't bring myself to do it though. Very few people have been told that I quit, because I can't talk about it. Most people are ready to celebrate my news. I'm just not there yet. It's almost impossible to explain exactly what I feel. But I know I don't want to hear congratulations, because right now I am sure I don't deserve that. Maybe all I need is time for this to sink in that it's finally over and I can move on to a subject that isn't cancer. There's a crazy thought. One thing is certain - this is the end of my chemo. I won't be changing my mind.