Little markers along the way help me assess where I am with my cancer treatment, and every day is a new adventure.
Now that I've had six of the twelve chemotherapy treatments, it's becoming a familiar routine. Check in at the cancer clinic at the hospital, preliminaries with the nurse, get the tube inserted into the port implanted next to my collarbone, have blood drawn, visit with the doctor. We talk about how my week has gone, he looks at the blood test results, determines this week's "cocktail recipe," and infusions begin. It takes 20 or 30 minutes for the benedryl and other fluids to drip, and then the chemo itself takes about an hour.
This week I noticed a lot less pain in my groin area where a spot of cancer had been located. I'm even able to go short distances on my own without the walker that has kept me mobile since last November. I have a lot less arthritis pain in my joints, too.
Unfortunately, the cellulitis on my legs isn't responding to the antibiotics as quickly as I'd like, but my resistance is low. It's slow progress because I'm also experiencing swelling and water retention. This week I'm having issues with cancer-related neuropathy in my feet. That means my feet tingle and hurt and I can't get comfortable for very long when I'm sitting. So I learn to deal with it and tolerate it and feel grateful it's not one of the worse side effects I might be having.
We have started doing a TV exercise program for seniors, "Sit and Be Fit." It's exercises you can do sitting in a chair, or standing behind it while holding on, and it's surprising how many ways you can move your muscles while you're sitting down. It's half an hour that we do on days when we're at home and not otherwise active. Hubby pulled a hamstring muscle (!!!) but I've done well with it.
For my birthday, my kids gave me gift certificates for massages so for the past three weeks I've been taking advantage of that. It's a mini-massage--sitting up since it's so hard for me to move and turn otherwise--but I can actually feel movement in my left breast when my back is massaged, like it's opening pathways for the chemo. And I've noticed that the tightness in my breast is loosening, and the affected glands are softening. It's amazing to feel that difference.
Summary: six treatments down, six to go, and side effects still at a minimum. My hair is almost gone, and I sleep when I'm tired. I keep up with the rest of my normal activities and throw in the daily allowances for cancer. That's my life. It's all about coping.