In honor of my 6th Taxol treatment (HALFWAY THERE!!!!!!!!) I thought I'd write a blog about some of the awesome side effects. I was going to try to write a funny poem... but I couldn't find anything that rhymed with "butthole" :)
If you think of anything to complete that rhyme, lemme know!
So instead of writing a poem, I'll use another analolgy for side effects. You ever watch drug commercials? And the voice comes on at the end and speed reads through a list of horrible sounding side effects? And you wonder who the heck would risk "anal leakage" just so they can lose a little weight?
Or am I the only one that considers that a head scratcher?
Well I kinda feel like my life is that little blurb at the end of the commercial. Only I generally feel like the side effects are worth taking a drug that could keep cancer at bay and keep me alive for many years to come. If you asked me to go through this for weight loss, I'd tell you to go sell your crazy somewhere else.
So here it is. If you were watching a commercial for chemo meds, the announcer would have to burn through this list of common side effects:
Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, temporary alopecia (fancy word for baldness), constipation, diahrea, bruising, tiredness, mouth sores/ulcers, metallic taste in your mouth, heart damage, infertility, loss of period, neuropathy, general aches and pains, vaginal dryness, increased chance of infections, forgetfulness, chronic nosebleeds, and other more serious side effects.
Sounds like a picnic, right? I mean who doesn't enjoy feeling like you just pencil rolled down a hill that had lots of baseball sized rocks on it? (aka "general aches and pains") Or, you know, having crazy poop problems? And that whole forgetfulnes thing... wait... what was I going to say again?
When they tell you about these side effects up front, you think "that doesn't sound THAT bad." And to be totally truthful, I've lived through worse. I've woken up with hangovers that are worse than some of these side effects.
BUT (and this is a big but) a hangover lasts a day, maybe two if you really partied hard.
Chemo lasts for like 3-4 months.
And now that I'm on Taxol, the side effects aren't getting any better, they're becoming more cumulative. Don't get me wrong, A/C wasn't fun. However, things like the nausea and the loss of appetite got better with each infusion. So each infusion seemed to get a little easier.
Taxol is the reverse of that.
Taxol seemed all friendly at first. It was like "nice to meet you. See? I'm all gentle and don't kick your ass like that nasty, old A/C did."
And you think "Taxol, it sure is nice to meet you. I like you much better than A/C."
And then Taxol, being the two faced fiend that it is, turns out to be some sort of voo-doo priestess and you're the new target. Each treatment, Taxol sticks a new giant pin into your little voo-doo doll. And that's kind of how I feel, like a little doll with lots of pins in it.
Because Taxol can cause nerve damage. Hence the neuropathy and general aches and pains.
And by aches and pains, I mean really random sharp pains all over your body.
And by neuropathy, I mean numbness or tingling in the extremeties. Doesn't sound bad, but boy oh boy is it annoying. And can make it difficult to type (another reason for my lack of blogging).
Oh and then there's the chronic nose bleeds. Nothing like having a work conversation with a Kleenex stuffed up your nose. Seriously, that happened once. Luckily the person I was meeting with just took it in stride, but I can't say I'd consider it one of my finer professional moments.
So that's where I am. Halfway done with Taxol and ready for it to be over. I feel like I've gotten the side effects reasonably under control through use of various vitamin supplements and Tylenol. I'm still very positive. I'm still working and enjoying day to day life more than I did on AC.
BUT I'm ready to go back to feeling like me. I'm ready to have this be over and feel like my body is mine again.
So HURRAY for the half way point, but God please let this 2nd half go fast :)
For those of you who know my husband and I, you know that we're a little competitive. Granted that competitive spirit usually comes with a side of sarcasm and humor. Then again, if Chris kicks my butt in a board game, there's absolutely no humor to be found.
Losing to my husband at Monopoly is NOT funny... well not until a few days later when I've cooled off and can laugh at myself for being too competitive.
Anywho, sometime in Chris' first weekend home, we were discussing something... I don't even remember what.
I think I reminded him about getting something done. You know, I wanted to make him feel "at home" by assigning him a nice long "honey do" list :) It must've been something that I asked him to do before/during the deployment because his response was along the lines of...
"Remember? I was in Afghanistan for a year?" (in a very sarcastic tone)
And my response went something like "So? I have cancer!"
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAND I win!
Because what beats cancer? NOTHING!
Yes, we both laughed at ourselves for the fact that we could even say something like that and now it's a running joke in our house. See? It's true that you CAN find the humor in any situation!
That's what the army calls it when a soldier comes home to his family.
Meaning that the family has to get used to having the soldier around again. And the soldier has to get used to being around his family again.
This is where we're at right now. Getting used to one another. Re-learning how to communicate. Creating a new "normal" for everyone.
It's a happy time. These are happy problems to have. But I just wanted to let you know that I might be absent from here for a little while as we "reintegrate."
My husband is back in the US.
YAAAAAHOOOOOOOOO! YIPEE!! YAAAAYYY!!!!
BUT I won't get to see him today, because the Army likes to torture spouses. He has to spend a night on the east coast doing some debriefing stuff or something like that. Which is army speak for "driving spouses crazy by making them wait one more day to see their soldier."
It's like waking up on Christmas morning and being told you have to go to Church before you can open your gifts.
UGH! Hurry up time! Go faster!!!! Anywho, just thought I'd share the good news. Don't expect to hear from me for a day or two ;)
Just wanted to say... my husband is expected home in the next 7 days.
OK, I lied, that's not all. HE'S COMING HOME!!!!!!!! HE'S COMING HOOOOOMMMEEEEE!! (imagine me jumping up and down in circles and maaaaaaaybe even doing the running man)
MAN am I excited!
You know, last April, I told myself, "It's just a year. We just have to get through a year, what can happen in a year??!?!"
HA! HAHAHAHAHAH! Lesson learned: do not tempt fate by asking silly questions like "What can happen in a year?"
Anywho, no one is more excited than I am that this year is coming to a close. Personally, I feel like this has been one of the most difficult years in my life. I am very much looking forward to putting it behind me and turning the corner into what will hopefully be a year filled with hope and joy. The hope and joy that can only be brought by spending time with your family :)
Hurray for todays and tomorrows with those that you love.
So this post is going to go in a radical direction for me... politics!
I know this blog is about cancer, but it's also my place to air my thoughts, so please tolerate my brief foray into b*tching about something other than cancer for a day.
Today my husband called me and we had a little conversation that went kind of like this:
Chris: Oh and one more thing, I might only get a half of a paycheck next week.
Me: What? Why?
Chris: The government might shut down. Don't you read the news?
Me: No, I was too busy watching Blues Clues. What do you mean the government might shut down? How does a government shut down?
Chris: Go read a newspaper. Just wanted to let you know that I might get just half a paycheck next week.
So I got off the phone with hubby and immediately opened the news and began to read up on this cah-razy "government shut down" thing.
For people like me that don't read the news much, if Congress doesn't pass a budget soon, the government will shut down. And by shut down, I mean that lots of government people will still have to work (those deemed essential), they just won't get paid.
And you know, in theory, I don't think this is a bad idea. You don't do your job, you don't get paid.
That's the THEORY... but the reality is that the lawmakers that will be responsible for this if it occurs WILL STILL GET PAID!!!!
Yep. That's correct. Congress has a nice little law in place that says they still get paid even if the government shuts down. So the only people that will be affected by this are the rest of the government employees that have nothing to do with passing a budget bill.
How does that make ANY sense at all?!?!
So thousands of government employees will suddenly lose a WEEKS WORTH of pay because a bunch of lazy assholes in Washington DC can't get a budget signed.
And all I can think of is "do these people in DC really understand what their decisions mean to these federal employees?"
I'm obviously a little biased as I am a military spouse, but what would you do in YOUR household if you suddenly lost 25% of your monthly pay?
Seriously, pause for a moment and think about that.
If you're a super frugal family, that'd probably mean you couldn't put anything in savings and it'd cut out most of your "fun money" and maybe eat into your monthly grocery budget a little. If you're not a super frugal family (like most families), losing 25% of your household income would be crippling.
And for most military families, it's truly 25% of your HOUSEHOLD income. Many military spouses do not work, in large part due to the nature of their spouse's job. When your spouse is required by law to show up to work when called at any time of night or day AND you move once every 1-3 years, it can be difficult to find a job. So it's not like most military families have a secondary income to fall back on.
But yet... Congress will get paid. The people who are the cause of the ENTIRE issue will be able to pay their bills, buy their groceries, take their kids out to a movie... you get the idea. They won't have to "do without".
AND THAT PISSES ME OFF!
It's not that I'm worried about Chris and I. Yeah it'll suck to have our income affected, but we'll be able to make ends meet. But I think back to the days when I didn't have a job and we WERE living on Chris' salary alone. At that point, I would've been devastated. I would've been crazy stressed and freaking out. I'd literally be panicking.
And I guarantee you that there are a TON of military families who are freaking out right now.
I know, this is still a huge IF. Congress might sack up and get the job done (and I hope they do). But I find something extremely RIDICULOUS about the way the law is currently written. That federal employees will lose THEIR wages... but not Congress.
To be fair, Senate has actually passed a bill that would change this and it's waiting to be voted on in the House. And the House has passed a Budget bill that includes language to change this. BUT its been said Senate won't pass that budget bill as it currently stands. And the House won't pass the Senate's stand alone bill because "there are new representatives that had to leave their jobs to campaign/get elected and they have debt" (not an exact quote, but you get the idea). Like the rest of us don't? Like there aren't military families on the brink of bankruptcy (if not in the middle of it)? ARE THESE PEOPLE FOR REAL?!!?!
THIS IS EXACTLY WHY THEY SHOULDN'T GET PAID!!! I guarantee you that if you hit all those politicians in their personal checkbook, this wouldn't even be an issue today. They would've gotten this crap figured out MONTHS ago. But instead, it's US that is paying the price for their laziness.
Long blog made short: If you don't get your work done, you shouldn't get paid. And yes, I mean YOU Congress. Get yourselves a set of morals and hold yourselves to the same rules that apply to the rest of us!
Sorry I haven't had a chance to write much lately.
I was travelling for work Monday thru Wednesday last week.
Then I had ONE work day in the office on Thursday because on FRIDAY we had our big culminating event for the fundraiser. WE SHAVED SOME HEADS!!!!
And it was awesome.
I don't have time to write much about it now, so I will leave you with some teasers and write a big long blog about it later. But I did want to reveal how much money we raised.
Anyone wanna guess?
Remember, our original goal was $2500.
I guarantee that whatever number you have in mind right now is too low.
Are you ready for it? Drum roll please!
We raised over TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!!!!!!
And we're going to apply for matching funds from the company... so we could end up with approximately $25K as our donation for the Hope Lodge. Isn't that freaking crazy!?!?!?!?!?!?
The emotions around this are just too much to go into right now. I'm excited, overwhelmed, and amazed at this outpouring of support from people in my company and community. It's been amazing.
So I'll leave you with some photos of the gang so you can see what your donations helped contribute towards. And now you can truly understand WHY this entertained me so much :)