Friday, December 16, 2005

Sicker Than I've Ever Been

Out of the Hospital on 11/7/05..........

The Lymphoma didn't really hinder my activities until my nodes started to swell.....I mean, swelled so I noticed them. After that, things have kind of sucked. So my life has kind of sucked since 11/4/05.

Except for the fact that I'm getting better. But, as most know, getting better in regards to Cancer can feel like a**. Does feel like a**.

Most times, so far, I feel fine. When I'm on the couch doing not much.

I had to go through more testing before I started treatment. The Bone Marrow Biopsy was by far the most pleasurable. As in physical....."sensation". The full body CT scan in which I was given an IV of radioactive s***, along with drinking 900ml of tastey radioactive s***, followed by a radioactive Enema was also quite pleasurable.

BTW - since the hospital (and before chemo) I've been:

1. fighting a fever 2-3x/day. I can/have spike to 102 in 45minutes. Its not an uncommon symptom for advanced Cancer (and easily treatable with Tylenol) but it can create a problem in the future when I have no immune system and a fever is "usually" the first indication of an infection.

2. I'm always cold. Except when I'm hot. I hate venturing outside into the cold. I seem to be more sensitive

3. The Tumors pressing on my Lungs/esophagus have made breathing slightly difficult. This has made outdoor activities "difficult". I also developed a cough that can become so violent that I vomit from the force. No nausea at all. Its like my body is trying to force the Tumors out. Sometimes I take a drink at the wrong time and spew it out everywhere. I can't predict the cough. I spewed a shot of GM onto a bartendar friend of mine right after I was released from the hospital. :) I can't laugh. If I do, I'll start coughing. Dani compares the cough to sick Sea Cows. That made me laugh the first time I heard it. In fact, I coughed so much I thought I was going to die.

Laugh and Death Loses. Smile and I win.

Damn I'm deep

I am not telling y'all this for pity or as a badge to wear. I find it interesting and I like to tell stories.

4. My body has become specific in what it will eat. I could no longer stomach my high fiber diet (See Note). I tried with little success. I couldn't eat a bowl of raisan bran without almost puking half way through. It's the oddest thing. I eat what I want. No lectures, please. Dani is an expert and I still eat nutritiously and try to eat as much as I can. However, I'm down to 143lbs. I guess it's unadvoidable? I have been steady at 143 for 1-2 weeks.

*NOTE* - In 02/2001 I was "stricken" with Diverticulitis, a disorder of the Large Intestine. Rare in people my age (32 at the time). I will have to have that section removed sooner or later. Currently, I control it with a High Fiber diet only.

I look hella sexy....except for that Skeletor like look of my face. Believe it or not, I did have some fat in my face. But no, the obvious veins near each temple are not more prominent (Inside joke).

Still, I'm hella sexy. :)

SO! ON 11/23/05 I GOT MY CHEMO!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We were really excited. It had been such a struggle to get treatment. All I wanted was treatment. It wasn't easy and we were both stressed and scared. I didn't have insurance. I was a bartendar and couldn't "afford" it. No lectures please, it happens. Thank God, Social Services of GWUH & GUH, combined with an efficient DC system(????) and I was able to get medicaid within 1.5 weeks. It usually takes 6 months. It's sad, but I could have died for lack of insurance. Died slowly.

I was given the classic ABVD protocol for HL. Who wants to know what that is? It's 4 drugs injected into a vein. Google "ABVD Hodgkins Lymphoma" and y'all get what you want. :)

They squeezed me in. I was done with my chemo around 6:40PM. They were not concerned with side effects. I jumped up from the chair and Dani and I headed out.

I felt cold. It was a long journey to my car. We got to the parking garage and I started to feel nauseas. I asked for a pill from Dani. She had picked it up while I was doing the chemo thing. Prochlorperazine. I got to the car and started shaking. A chill to the bone. I started one of my sick Sea cow coughs. Dani went and negotiated with the parking dude b/c we had not gotten our parking validated. She won as usual. He could also see me. I looked bad, to say the least.

We get out of the lot and I make it 3 blocks, to 35th & Reservoir Ave. NW. Look it up. Very nice, rich neighborhood smack in the middle of Georgetown.

I pull over and open the door just in time to projectile vomit. I get out of the road and continue to vomit in front of this beautiful row house. It's a loud, violent vomit session. The lights are on at the row house. No one comes out or to the window. I think to myself; "I wonder if they get this a lot?".

I finish for the time and continue on. I'm controlling every aspect of my body from shaking except for one, my head. It's comical. I guess the shake has to go somewhere. I need my body to control the car. My head is shaking from side to side as I do my best to keep my eyes on the road.

Dani could not drive for several reasons.

We get home and I start puking as soon as I get out of the car. I continue for a while. Time is meaningless. I get myself to the bathroom so I can continue with the festivities. By this point I'm severly dehydrated. One of the last things you want after chemo. I take a drink of water and vomit. I wait. There's no way in hell I absorbed the first anti-nausea pill so I take another one with the smallest amount of water possible.

I vomit.

I vomit some more.

I take a mouthfull of Ginger Ale.

I vomit.

I'm so f'ing thirsty now. I feel like I'm in Hell. Any movement makes me want to vomit. Any smell, any thought. I closed my eyes and thought I was going to vomit.

I vomited some more. All I want is some water.

Meantime, Dani is frantically hunting down the oncall Oncologist. She calls in two scripts to our local CVS and Dani is out the door. It's snowing. I learn later She has to walk. It's Thanksgiving Eve and she doesn't encounter a single cab. Again, I have no sense of time and don't know how long she's gone for.

In the meantime, I vomit.

She gets back and I've managed to crawl into the bedroom. I'm on the floor. She has two drugs for me. One is an Suppository anti-nausea drug. I mean, I couldn't keep anything down so a new route was needed. An hour after I jammed the tiny bullet up my bum I was to take the other drug, Zofran, Orally.

I laid there after the deed was done. I was sicker than I had ever been. Thirty minutes after the Suppository Dani was lifting my head off the pillow and giving me a mouthful of water. me! I was dying of thirst but afraid to do more.

I took the Zofran as time expired. Dani put me to bed and left the room. I didn't want to sleep. If I didn't get rehydrated I had to get to the hospital for some IV.

10minutes later I walk out to the living room. Dani's on the phone, crying, talking about getting me back to the hospital. She looks up at me in disbelief and I say: " I could really go for some Ice cream right now."

Complete turn around 10minutes after the Zofran, 40 minutes after the suppository. From the sickest I had ever been To eating Ben & Jerry's within 15 minutes. God Bless SmithklineGlaxo & Zofran!

My side effects from the chemo have been minimal since the puking. Fatigue, shortness of breath (both after being out and about), some joint pain, and a somewhat obnoxious sensitivity in my mouth. That one didn't last long and I hope it doesn't come back. Although, I'm thinking it might get worse with more treatments but I'll worry about that when/if it happens. And No, I'm not bald..........yet. Nor have I lost any of my hair....yet.

So yes, I'm bored. My symptoms have kept me from being anything but "slightly active".

But remember boys & girls, slightly active is infinitly superior to "inactive". NO?


PS - does anyone know what is "legal" and "Illegal" in regards to "colorful" lingo here??????

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