With three rounds of chemotherapy down (and more than I’d like to admit to go) I’m to the point where I can predict what days I will feel bad.
I was told the second and third days after treatment would be the worst, but that’s not been true for me. I have chemo every other Friday right now, and I don’t feel bad until the following Thursday and Friday.
So it should have been no surprise that when I ventured out for a doctor’s appointment early yesterday morning, I was setting myself up for a bad experience.
But I underestimated how bad I was feeling and kept my appointment with a new primary care physician. My oncologist recommended getting one to oversee my care.
The nurse took my blood pressure, but it was so low she called in another just to check. She had done it correctly; I was just sick. And my doctor didn’t seem to know what to do with me.
I took one side off my face mask and tried to breathe through the nausea until I could make it out of the exam room.
We made it through my medical history, physical exam and my request to PLEASE WRITE ME A PRESCRIPTION FOR SOMETHING TO HELP ME SLEEP.
“I think I’m going to throw up,” I said.
“You’ll tell me if you’re going to, right?” was his reply.
Luckily, his attending physician came in after him and escorted me out, apologizing and telling me to call her in a week if melatonin didn’t help me sleep through the steroids after chemo.
I made it to the lobby bathroom of the doctor’s office before getting sick in my face mask. A nurse brought me another and told me to bypass their checkout line.
I felt too relieved to be embarrassed about it. The nurse offered to wheel me out, but I genuinely felt better after it happened. Until then, I wasn’t sure I would even be able to drive myself the 5 minutes home.
Cancer treatment is daunting.
I am amazed that even though 245,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year (according to the CDC), our best treatment for it these toxic chemicals that may make me sick, bald and may cause me to go into early menopause.
It makes me sad to think that some cancer patients will live out their last days like this. This is no way to live.
Once chemo is done, I’ll have radiation. From what I’ve read and heard, I can expect burned skin general exhaustion during those days.
Between feeling sick and not being able to see most people to avoid getting COVID-19, it’s hard not to be discouraged.
But there’s reason to be hopeful. I have one more round of the chemo drugs adriamycin and cytoxan before I switch to taxol. My doctor tells me it’s easier on people.
I’ll have to wait and see.