“How do you feel about chemo starting?”
I have been asked this question a number of times over the last week. I have mostly replied with, I’m ok/Just doing my thing/Getting my day to day going/Business as usual. But over the last few days my anxiety has started to creep in.
I’ve been bombarded with information for the duration of this whole “adventure” but this week, it has all come at me from different directions.
I’ve had to sit down at the LOC and have my weight taken, an echocardiogram checked for my heart, blood tests, a portacath put in, and a run down of the different side effects. I’ve cried at home, to my nurse, to my Mum. It’s been action packed!
The side effects have been the major topic so far:
- Dry skin
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
That last one. That’s the one that has been causing me the most distress. I’m not a super image conscious person, but the hair. That is such a major part of who I am. Some people say my hair is so thick that it may just thin out; others say it may fall out. Who bloody knows! All I know is that I hate the idea of this all coming into play now. I knew I would get to this point, but I am so desperate to stick my head in the sand and for everything to go away.
For those interested, here are the facts of what I will be having done from today:
Four sessions over a three month cycle of EC drugs.
- This will start today, and continue every three weeks until the 16th February
This will be followed by a twelve weekly sessions over a three month cycle of Paclitaxel (Taxol).
- This will start 9th March until 25th May
Add to that the addition of Zoladex every month – to protect my ovaries over this period, and its a fun cocktail of drugs.
So as of now, I’m relatively calm. Weirdly calm in fact. I have my flat clean (because you know, cleaning is a great distraction to anything at this point), I have my best friend to sit down with me during this 5 hour session of today. I have my Mum, brother and all my family and friends ready to look after me.
I’m fine. As of now, I’m fine. I’m always fine. I’m nervous about what this chemo thing will be like, but this very second, I am fine.
But to everyone there for me. I just want to forewarn you. There will be a point I won’t be fine. Where the side effects will kick in. Where I will cry and be tired and be miserable. I may not be able to ask for help all the time. I may not come across as struggling, because I’ve mastered that facade like a pro.
So please, don’t feel like you don’t know what to say. That you will feel you’re a nuisance. Just text, just call, just be around. Bring me food if you want. Bring some games. Anything goes, as I will need you! And even though I won’t outwardly ask for it, I will be truly appreciative of it.
So with that. Come on chemo. I’m ready!
For anyone that isn’t sure what to do or say, some people have found this link helpful: