I am sitting here the night before yet another chemo treatment, surprised that it came on so fast. I feel like I just finished chemo a week ago and now here it is on me again. Actually, it has been just slightly over a week since I started feeling good from the last chemo and the time has flown by. As the treatments continue, the time between them seems to go by faster and faster. Part of that is because I enjoy feeling well, not having a strong metal taste in my mouth, not having neuropathy, not nauseated, not losing vision, not having extreme cold sensitivity. During my off week I feel absolutely healthy and strong, as if nothing was wrong. I am so busy that I rarely sit still. Then I go into chemo, and it starts all over again. I know the rest of this week I will feel sick and trashed, nothing will taste right, it will be a chore to make myself drink fluids, and I will be sleeping on the couch in the office, sitting up with the light on, as I wake up over and over again. But that is the price I pay to get rid of this cancer.
I have a routine the day or two before chemo. I make sure I have all of the foods and drinks I need for the days I am on chemo. Today I bought white bread, more lemons, club soda, and lots of Ensure, given that last time that was all I could stomach for two days. I bought junky magazines because when I am sick I cannot concentrate on books or any serious reading, but I need something to distract me, particularly at night as I wake up disturbed from the chemo. I never pictured myself reading celebrity rags but they are mindless and make me go to sleep. I do have a few more serious magazines as well. I make sure that the vaporizer is charged. I take out the pills I have to take for the next three days and put them on the bathroom counter. I take out the gloves I use to take items from the fridge for my cold sensitive days. The couch is also ready for me. Likely, tonight I will wake up in the middle of the night and end up there. The night before chemo that seems to happen every time. I sleep until 2 or 3 a.m. and then am wide awake so I come in the office and read until I fall asleep again.
Tonight I also made sure to enjoy the foods I will not be eating or enjoying the rest of this week, including salad, fresh tomatoes from Alan’s aunt’s garden that she delivered to me today, and ice cream. My cold sensitivity from one of the chemo drugs prevents me from eating something that cold for 5 days or so. Even though I worked much of the day, I also did other errands for the week, including going to the bank, because I know for the next days I will basically be a lump on the couch downstairs, not moving much and just trying to keep myself stable. Yesterday and today I did yoga, knowing that until Saturday I will not be strong enough to do it. On my off weeks I do it five time a week, enjoying the practice and the strength and peace I get from it.
In other words, I have a routine, learned from my experience so far with five chemo treatments. I also know I cannot know how badly I may react to the chemo. While my reaction since the second chemo has been better, last time I was sicker than the third or fourth time. Who knows why. All I know is that I was back just drinking Ensure which I did not touch the last two times. The routine and the preparation obviously give me some measure of control over the uncontrollable. By following it, by getting ready, I feel I am doing all I can to prepare for the the next days.
The days I am well get sweeter and sweeter with every chemo treatment. They go by fast not only because of that but because I cram so much into them. Last week I had lunch plans every day. Today I did as well but Linda had to cancel because of family issues, and I was actually happy to just eat lunch while working. I live my life in two week increments, making lots of plans for the good days and none for the chemo days other than hunkering down at home. C’est la vie. Tomorrow will be here before I know it.