November 21, 2010

Good Days coming?

Maybe the Good Days are close….finally I was able to have some scrambled eggs and a few pieces of bacon for breakfast this morning.  The eggs tasted like eggs while the bacon tasted like.....well, nothing I have ever tasted before!  But, hey, that is progress - one item of real food rolled past my taste buds and actually tasted like something I recognized.  AND the stomach let it stay down there!  This is extremely good news to me. 
I have lost over five pounds since Chemo Cycle 2 started – not a good thing.  I need to get stabilized quickly and get those five pounds – and more – back on before Cycle 3 starts December 2. My mind is more than ready to think about gobbling down KFC, hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, etc. I am just not sure my stomach can back up my mouth, though. J
Doc Q says that she going to hit me full bore with the max dosages of my three chemo drugs.  Earlier, Nurse Mary said that I will not regain my strength and energy back to pre-Cycle 2 levels…that is just the way it is as the cumulative hammering of the treatments stack up.  Yes, indeed I need that strength back!
Most of the brain blur seems to have cleared up overnight and I have a peaceful sense of calm as I sit back to watch the Minnesota Vikings on NFL TV on that new big HDTV we picked up to make these days pass faster.  I was born in Moorhead, MN right across the river from Fargo, ND (for your movie buffs, Yes, my family hunts just outside Brainerd, MN) so the Viking allegiance is there to stay.
Saturday was a day with a mixed bag of nausea and fatigue.  The meds kept the nausea down below a breakthrough level, thankfully.
However, Saturday early AM was something else!  I woke up about 3AM with some cramping and need to head to the bathroom.  The cramping and related effects just got worse and worse.  I knew that if the downward spiral continued I would soon begin some really violent vomiting.  Slipping into an almost third person mental state I recall making a conscious decision that I was going to fight this.  I recall going down the complete inventory of anti-vomiting actions I had collected in my mind should a moment like this arrive. 
I made myself stagger to the recliner in the adjacent room and trying to get control of my breathing. Then the cramps would win and I would run back to the bathroom to sit again. Then back to the recliner. I was trying to be quiet with this but Lieska woke up. Moments later the cramps demanded a return to the bathroom. Back to the recliner, now too weak to walk by myself, Lieska held me up.  I asked her to not panic, to be calm and do several things for me.  First we tore off my PJ top; I was drenched in sweat and knew that if I could cool down, it would help keep me on the NO side of vomiting. I was fighting the urge to pass out but kept talking to myself as Lieska did the things I asked her to do.  First we put cold washcloths on my forehead.  When that had only a minor postive effect, we added cold cloths on the back of my neck.  Back and forth to the bathroom two more times with little Lieska struggling to keep me from crashing into the walls or crumbling to the floor.  We opened the bottle containing the “last chance” nausea medicine and I washed down a pill. Of course, the “wash down” meant a new attack of nausea and another trip to the toilet was necessary. Back to the recliner. I had Lieska bring my computer in that had a Guided Imagery CD locked in-place. The CD was developed for chemo patients to help get them through chemo nausea. I barely had the awareness to be able to get the CD started but once I got it going, I forced my complete focus on the words coming from the laptop speakers. Slowly I was able to get the nausea back under my control.  Lieska put a sheet over me in the recliner as the sweats stopped. Not wanting to take even the slightest chance that I would lose control of my body, I had Lieska bring my earphones and a heavy blanket so I could settle into the warmth and comfort of the recliner. 
I drifted off to sleep and Lieska climbed back into bed; this memorable moment of my cancer was history.  I scored it a big win.  I labeled all that cramping, nausea and fluid lose as the body dumping a huge load of the chemo and dead cancer cells from Cycle 2. The nausea fighting bag of tricks worked.  The Guided Imagery training I am receiving from the Cancer Center was validated solidly making it now a permanent mental skill in my arsenal.  And Lieska proved to herself that I am not going to die during an episode like this and that she could be a part of the team I need to get me through these moments. 
With the worst days of my cancer treatment still ahead of me, I am grateful for the challenge the early morning battle laid out. It proved to myself that these doctors and nurses have taught me some skills to help get me through the six solid weeks of Dark Days ahead.
And now back to football Sunday!!!!