Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day in the life of a chemo patient between treatments...

Go to bed feeling happy after a nice dinner out with in-laws, feeling grateful that your mother in law was able to help out so much with daughter before flying back home.  Feeling good emotionally and physically, don't even need a pill to fall asleep.

Wake up in a frenzy, your husband has already showered, but seems to be running late and baby overslept too.  Realize that your left arm is asleep, again.  Worry that the neuropathy is getting worse, remind yourself that it should go away after treatment is done.  Realize that your throat BURNS and start coughing.  Worry that all the work your family put in the last couple of weeks to keep you safe from the cold that was going around didn't work.  Don't mention any of these worries to your husband because he's late already.

Get out of bed, thinking you will get hugs and kisses from daughter, but instead get same morning crankiness you usually experience yourself.  Fast forward through breakfast, making of the latte-to-go, and giving lots of goodbye kisses.  Realize you're alone in the house and should probably eat even though food tastes like cardboard.  After breakfast, get back in bed because you do not want to get sick and sleep is the best medicine - and husband said to take it easy today.  Get woken up 2 minutes later by alarm you set up for antibiotics.  Get out of bed, take meds, get back in bed.  Remember you also need to take the new medicine for the infection in your mouth.  Start coughing and get burning sensation in mouth again.  Experience relief because your sore throat this morning was from medication, not because you're getting a cold! By this time you're too awake, so go out to living room to watch some TV and relax.  Remember that you got an email coupon for 100 free prints on shutterfly, so pick all those out and order them.

After a couple of food TV shows, decide you need to get some stuff done.  Unload and reload dishwasher, fold some laundry, pay some bills, cancel that service, etc.   Decide it's time to try to do whatever you can to spice up food for lunch.  Stand in front of stovetop for 30 minutes adding sauces, spices, drops of lemon, and whatever else you can find in the hopes that the sauce will taste like something.  Finally decide that you can get a hint of the taste, and serve yourself.  Sit down to eat, only to be disappointed because the chicken still has the very grainy texture and mostly still tastes like cardboard.

Determined to be productive, you shower, and change.  Decide not to wear makeup because you're only going to run an errand and you want to get back before husband and daughter get home.  The number one priority is to buy a replacement bulb for the fan light that stopped working last night so you can have some light in your room.  While at Home Depot, decide to buy a couple of supplies your husband had mentioned needing before he can install the shelves and frames you want in the playroom.   Feeling accomplished, and armed with all the "cooking for chemo" articles you read last night, decide to go to grocery store and get food for today.  Skip the cart and grab a basket, because you plan on getting very few things.  Start in the produce area - pick garlic, tomatoes, bananas.   Be approached by a gentleman with a backpack and headphones while selecting bell peppers.  "Are you doing that chemo thing?"  When you reply yes, have him tell you that 1) the hair will grow back if you stop chemo, and 2) if you give yourself to the Lord you will be healed, or will start healing, or something.  The man seems oddly aggressive, so thank him and walk away as fast as you can.  Oddly shaken by the encounter, remind yourself that when you decide to be authentic and show your baldness, and ever diminishing eyebrows, you open yourself up for comments like that.  Have a couple of cell phone conversations with your sister, but line keeps getting cut off.  Continue shopping, realize basket is getting heavy and your sister in law would be yelling at you for not conserving energy.  Leave basket on floor after telling a store employee you will be right back, and get a cart.  Realize as you are walking back with cart that you should have asked said store employee if they wouldn't mind getting you a cart.  Proceed to checkout, have nice checkout lady ask (almost in a whisper) if you are "fighting the good fight" and give some encouraging words.

Get home, look up recipe for creamy garlic mashed potatoes that you are hoping to make so potently flavorful that you already have a Plan B side of rice for your daughter.   Realize that after all that, you forgot to get potatoes because of the supermarket guy.  Decide on another menu for dinner, and start cooking.  Make a quick sangria with the recipe your mother in law mentioned the other day, because you can.  Hugs and kisses to husband and daughter when they get home.  When friend mentions she can return your cat since she was watching him for this round, invite her over for dinner too.  Enjoy what others mentioned was a delicious meal, feeling grateful that while you're not enjoying your food, at least you are not hungry.  Decide to blog today because you realize it has been a bit and people might be wanting to check in on you.  Ponder the writing style for a minute, and realize it is because today felt like many tiny moments.  Plan to respond to some emails and make some phone calls tomorrow.  Go to bed. :)


  1. Joelle, seguimos pensando y rezando muucho por ti, por Gabo, la Beba y toda tu Familia. Ojala pudieramos hacer mas desde Puerto Rico. Ya estas llegando al final del tratamiento y todo va a salir super bien con la ayuda de Dios. Te admiro por tu fortaleza y determinacion. Cariños

  2. Gracias por hacernos parte de tu vida diaria. En todo momento estas en mi pensamiento y en mis oraciones. Jesús te sanara a través de tus médicos y los tratamientos que ellos te están dando. Sigue adelante. Ya se ve la luz al final del camino. Te quiere, Titi B

  3. Wow, eres espectacular, tremenda guerrera, sigue pá lante haciendo lo que estas haciendo, pues está dando resultado. Dios te siga bendiciendo a ti y toda tu familia. Un abrazo mío y de toda mi familia. Besitos

  4. "Fighting the good fight"? I'd say you are KICKING CANCER'S @$$! :)

    Don't worry about the guy, aggressive approaches show insecurity and fear, *none* of which are in your list of personal characteristics. You're amazing, hun! Pa'lante!


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31 year old navigating life with husband and almost-2-years-old daughter :)