Thursday, December 20, 2012

Back from the dark side...

What a difference a week can make! As I slowly recovered following my hospitalization I found myself  easily overwhelmed, impatient, tearful and at times, imagining the worst. The inactivity that my illness led me to gave my mind too much time to ponder dark thoughts that found their way in. I worried about my own mortality, but not in a positive way. I may joke about Darth Vader and the dark side, but truly I felt as though somehow I was on the dark side.

Sunday I woke up feeling better and for the first time in many days, was able to walk to the river and back on my own. I had enough energy to actually put decorations on our Christmas tree that we had bought two weeks earlier. We hung Christmas quilts and lights and I felt better.

Monday I had to be at the cancer agency at 0700 to have my blood drawn pre chemo. It was cold and dark outside but suddenly I felt really energized. It was as though a curtain had lifted and the darkness was gone. While I waited for the results of the blood work and my visit to the oncologist, I had coffee with my cousin and his wife who live close to all my medical action. John and Jane have made life much easier as they have lent us their second underground parking stall for the duration of my treatments. This is a huge blessing.

Meeting with Dr. Shenkier, my medical oncologist who had the results of the blood work, told me  that my hemoglobin had gone up dramatically and was actually within normal range as were my neutrophils. She wondered out loud how the hemoglobin could have gone up with only 2 units of blood. I jokingly said maybe they were wrong but I now knew that how good I felt was a reflection of those important numbers.

Chemo was back on and Tuesday I had my first infusion of Taxol, preceded by 20 mg of Dexemethosone, a powerful steroid, and 50 mg of Benadryl, an antihistamine. These drugs are used to prevent allergic reactions to the Taxol which is infused very slowly for the same reason. I was in the chemo unit for 5 hours but it went quickly and with no adverse reactions.  I came home feeling woozy but good. I am on a medication for several days to try to ward off the potential side effects of Taxol which are myopathy and neuropathy. The warnings for this drug are to "use care when operating car or heavy machinery." No driving for me but with Christmas coming, and with my steroid high still kicking in, I have made some headway in the realm of Christmas baking. I made lists awhile back and have become proficient at crossing things off rather than adding to it. I am learning that I have limits.

Our old family friends, the Trayners arrive on Sunday from Edmonton and the house will be full of laughter and good company. Our daughter Mary and her boyfriend Ross are also coming to stay that night and the next so what one Trayner has called the "inaugural Leighton/Trayner gong show" will begin with a dozen or more old and young folk filling the house.  I get to take a back seat in all the Christmas cooking preparations but have made it clear that I still want to have a supervisory role though I will try hard not to "control."

Though there is still a long road of treatment ahead, at least I have some understanding now of how illness can affect me and if there is another setback, I may be better able to tolerate it mentally.

Merry Christmas to you all!

No comments:

Post a Comment