Monday, January 17, 2011

Better. Better. Better. Getting So Much Better All The Time. -Beatles-


So here it is Monday and I'm starting to actually feel human again.  Not the red-rimmed-bleary-eyed, nauseated, Do-Your-Ears-Hang-Long "Thing" that I was for about 48 hours after (I can't even make myself say the word).  I'll just say after.  Anyone who has had poisons or toxins flowing through their body know exactly how it feels.  To say the word (chemo) gives it new life in my brain, so I'm just not going to talk about it.  Instead, I will concentrate on Sunday (yesterday) and Monday (today), better known as I'm feeling much better, thank you.  

Carolyn, my sister-in-law gifted me a little inspirational bracelet on Thursday morning that says:  "Stay Positive" on one side, and "Attitude is Everything" on the other side.  Every time I feel myself losing ground, I look at my wrist and think, I wonder (besides me) who is watching how I handle this?  What kind of example am I setting?

So maybe I should pay attention to my happiness factor, the colors I put forth.  I know that I am going to lose my hair, so how will I handle that publicly?  Dwain thought I should shake things up a bit.  Why don't we look at hats, he suggested?  Hats, what a fun idea!  So yesterday (Sunday) we drove to Branson to do a little hat shopping.  Surprise, surprise.  We found four at T. J. Maxx.  Two of them are really la-de-da fancy wool hats, one is a knitted light gray angora and the other is a simple multi-colored beanie.  I've got to get Dwain to take some pictures to post later.  I'm really quite pleased.  After digging around in my closet, I've turned up a few other hats that I think will work nicely.  Hats!  I might like these better than wearing a wig. Imagine that?

Every day I've been dealing with constant nausea, kind of like the nausea you have when you are pregnant.  Some call it morning-sickness.  I never had morning-sickness when I was pregnant; I had the constant, all-day-long sickness.  And that's what I have now.  Same thing.  YUCK!  Yes, the oncologist gave me something to control nausea, and it did keep me from throwing up.  It also kept me knocked out pretty much the whole time or else I had that woozy/seasick/vertigo feeling when I was up walking around.  So this morning I decided it was time to call our family doctor for an appointment and have a little chat about what I can do to lift my mood, my energy and my nausea.  Lucky me.  I got an appointment first thing this morning.  

First thing she told me was, "I totally understand what you are going through.  I've been through it myself and I know how depressing it can be.  Before I was finished I felt like I was 7,000 years old."  And this nurse practitioner is young!  I was so shocked at her revelation that it didn't occur to me to ask what kind of cancer she had been dealing with.  She's a radiant picture of health now, that's for sure, with a very thick, head full of hair.  She told me about how it felt to lose her hair, eyebrows and lashes.  She even laughed about the process, stating that her children begged her not to come into the kitchen for fear that clumps of her hair would fall into their food.  She told me how her husband, a radiologist, cut her hair very, very short to make the transition easier; suggested that I might want to do the same thing. 

The next thing she did was put me on a mood-lifting prescription, a light one, that is easy to stop whenever I am ready.  It's non-addicting.  She will monitor it's effect over the next four weeks; 1/2 a pill to be taken every night because it may cause nausea.  She said by the time I awaken, the nausea caused from that pill will have worn off.   However, she warned, these also have sexually-diminishing side effects.  Then she smiled,  "But don't worry, the chemo drugs will have already taken care of that, so the side-effect from these won't matter much anyway." 

And as for the nausea?  It's just something you learned to live with, she said.  It's like, yes, the nausea is there but your body eventually accepts it and adjusts.  It sort of learns to ignore it.  But she did have a suggestion that she said helped her and has helped some of her other patients who suffer with nausea.  Go to the health food store and purchase some ginger tablets and some ginger tea.  Guess what?  It does help. I've already taken a ginger tablet (put something in your stomach first).  I sipped on a cup of ginger tea while writing this blog this afternoon.  I think maybe it even boosted my energy level just a little bit.  At this stage in the game, I'll take whatever I can get.     

As an aside, the doctor told me to take it easy at the gym and not work out too long or too strenuously.  "If you do, you will pay for it.  Five or ten minutes at the most of aerobic exercise for you right now is really good.  Try to stick to that".  

She also told me that about five days before my next treatment that I would start to feel really good again;  kind of a good news/bad news thing.  

You can bet that Dwain and I will make plans in advance to take advantage of those five good days.

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