I hate having a week off between sets of chemotherapy. I understand the logic behind the “rebound week;” it gives my body a chance to prepare for the next onslaught. It is a week buffer that gives my poor cells a chance to attempt formation without the destruction of the toxins pouring into my body. Mentally, it supposedly gives me a week of feeling well between treatments so that I can be ready for the next two weeks of feeling like crap. Sometimes, it even works and I forget that I am sick until it is time to go back.
For me, rebound week is a mental psych out.
When I woke Friday morning, I told myself I didn’t want to go to chemotherapy. I hate going and sacrificing my body to torment in the name of a hopeful remission. This week felt especially bleak to me since my week off wasn’t full of the ease it normally is. I actually was just as sick as I had been on chemo weeks. Food didn’t want to stay down, I was nauseous a lot and, to make things worse, the abdominal pain that had been gone reared its ugly head. The pain, for the record, was terrible: sharp and quick, it had me doubled over at work with tears in my eyes. Had it not faded away and become just a dull ache I could tolerate, I would have dragged myself to the emergency room.
Once I forced myself to the doctor’s office, the appointment was pretty standard: fill in a symptom sheet, get weighed –I am putting on weight, drat!–, vitals taken. Nothing out of the norm. This week, I met with both the nurse practitioner and my physician. Again, while I really like the nurse practitioner, Linda, I prefer meeting with Dr. Brooks. He makes me feel more confident in the methods we are using and she just makes me more confused. Meeting with them both, however, is rare since they are usually so busy. The pattern has been that I meet with the good doctor on my first week back and Linda the second. I was a little thrown off by seeing them both.
The news this week was mixed. They believe my insurance might pay for the bulk, but not all, of my Lupron shot. My fingers are crossed as the shot is more expensive this way than it was through the pharmacy. I really want to hold on to the hope that we will see through this and have a family of our own the old fashioned way. Without the shot, there’s really little to no hope of that; my eggs won’t survive the chemotherapy.
Apparently, I was also supposed to go last Friday for a biopsy. Did I? No. Why? Well a flaw in their computer system prevented the scheduler at Dr. Brooks’ office from setting it up with the hospital. I was never scheduled to have the biopsy, and therefore, never went. I hadn’t called to follow up on the second biopsy because I thought the insurance company was putting up a stink. Most companies will permit a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis, but this was for something else entirely. The doctor wanted a bigger sample of tumor –take it all I say—to test what chemotherapy the tumor wouldn’t respond to and to do further testing on the tumor to see if I qualify for studies. All I want is to feel better, so I’ll do anything. Unfortunately, that means missing a day of work this week and feeling extra horrible for chemo this week. Thursday I go for the biopsy, which means being really sore on Friday when I go in for chemotherapy. I can hardly wait (read sarcastically).
Also, this taught a valuable lesson: if they mention further testing and you don’t hear back from them in a timely manned, call and confirm.
After meeting with Dr. Brooks and Linda, chemo itself was actually not a horrible event. Milo sat with Malika and me for a while and we played a trivia game. He bought us lunch and stayed with us while we ate before heading home to work on some cleaning and homework. Malika and I have settled into a pattern of chatting and fooling around online during the sessions, which seem to go much faster now that I bring plenty to do. I still miss Carla, the chemo nurse, who is on vacation in the Mediterranean. I hope she’s having a great trip.
Unfortunately, this weekend didn’t go as smoothly as past chemo weekends had. While it wasn’t near as horrible as my first experience with chemo, it ran a close second. I managed to keep food down, but the nausea was incredible and the lethargy was off the chart. It started much earlier than normal; right after chemo finished in fact. Normally, we attribute a little bit of the nausea to how badly the chemo constipates me, but that always starts on Saturday and this week we found the right combination of medications to fight that particular issue. More than anything, I wanted the nausea and abdominal pain to go away, but it wouldn’t. I tried to fight through it and enjoy Pima Community College’s Trunk-or-Treat, but when we finally returned home I was even more drained and my stomach was worse yet. I did, however, make it through a trip to the grocery store this morning; I’ll call this a win.
I still won’t be looking forward to chemo on Friday or the biopsy, which they better knock me out for this time, on Thursday, but I will press on. As Milo likes to point out, I am doing this to live. I definitely want to live and have fifty years with my amazing husband, who couldn’t be more supportive through all of this. I am truly blessed that he is still by my side despite it all. Now I hope that we have the outcome we both want so all the struggling will be worth it.