Chemo Infusion #26 (two weeks later)
Go to FIRST post –> Diary of My Death, Post #1
Reminder: This series of posts is not just my personal tale of woe. I write these for myself, but I post them for the benefit of all those who are experiencing cancer and chemo directly and the surrounding family and friends living it vicariously.
With this treatment the pain in the knees was much less, but the pain in the feet was much worse. Maybe you remember as a child playing in the snow with increasingly wet gloves and then getting the idea, when you finally did go inside, to warm your hands by putting them under the hot water faucet. That didn’t work out too well, did it? It felt like it was burning, didn’t it? Ya, well, that’s about how my feet feel 24/7. Somehow, they’re simultaneously numb and painful. No doctor or nurse told me to expect this level of chemo side effect. On one hand the continuity of the pain makes it easier to accept as the new normal, while on the other hand it drives me nuts with its relentlessness.
There were times, too, when the general, insistent pain was accentuated by a minute or so of intense feeling focused in one random toe. It was as if a medieval thumb screw was being tightened on an already frozen toe. This happened both when I was lying down and sitting up.
I’m sure you can imagine how this makes everything difficult, even simple things such as making a cup of coffee. Understandably, my sink filled up with dirty dishes. There is, though, one specific, necessary activity that really went to hell, and that would be getting out of bed to urinate. As I’ve mentioned before, the chemo (or some sick demon) has drastically shortened the allowed time between the urge to urinate and the unstoppable act itself. The end result is that even with a container bedside, I was pissing myself to varying degrees several times each night and day. No one told me about expecting this, either.
Speaking of night and day, for many months now my sleep has been scattered around the clock. I do not remember the last time I slept straight through eight, six, or even four hours. No, I’m up every two hours to urinate (hurriedly!), and only sometimes can I resume getting rest. Usually I sleep for two hours, wake up to urinate, maybe snack a little, maybe turn on my laptop with the intent of doing something, anything, and then within a half hour giving up and zonking out. Also, empirically evident by being awake more at night and less often during useful daylight, I suspect that for its restorative effects the chemo formula contains a drop or two of vampire blood.
Added to the fatigue and discomfort of the whole chemo experience, these physical developments easily crossed over to the mental and emotional realm. It was quite discouraging. It does not help to know that as my cancer continues my overall discomfort will increase. Talk about the future looking like 20 miles of bad road . . .
As each day passed, more and more I thought about cancer and chemo. Yes, the cancer is killing me, but it isn’t the cancer that’s making me miserable: it’s the chemo. This, of course, leads to internal debates about extending my days alive versus keeping my remaining days worth a damn. It is not only a question of how much “torture” I can tolerate for my own benefit: it makes me wonder how much I can and will tolerate for the sake of staying around for my loved ones. Although the first part of the question is hard to answer, the second part . . . holy shit, it makes me wonder about all kinds of things related to family, my ability to love*, and what I think of myself. Here’s a tip for you readers: don’t think about these things when you’re feeling mightily discouraged. It’s curious how feet that aren’t frozen but feel like they are can make someone question how long he wants to live.
I have a couple of light-hearted little events I could include in this post, but no, I won’t. I’m sorry, but this treatment cycle has been some serious shit.