Thursday, June 29, 2017

Side Effects and Other Things

Yesterday brought forth a new chapter in the annals of Cancer Schmantzer.  During the last few days, I have begun to feel like my old, pre-surgery self.  What has been especially good is that I have expanded my culinary delights to include some flavors beyond potatoes, rice, pasta, and other sick person fare to include items with flavor, and that has put me in a much better frame of mind.  

On top of that, the sun has been shining, and I have even started cleaning out some closets....not in my usual manic, crazy-go-nuts-get-it-all-done-in-one-day fashion, but rather in small spurts of sorting and tossing out clothing that I no longer wear.  There is much yet to send to Goodwill, but for now I am giving myself a Bozo button for color coding and arranging my shirts and t-shirts.

Because I have been feeling especially good for the past few days, visiting the education nurse for “chemo education” was more than a little surreal.  As we sat down in her office for an hour, she went through pages and pages of information about what will be the course of treatment and about what I need to expect.  Throughout the meeting, she answered my questions and concerns.  

As she was enumerating some of the scary possibilities,  it was hard not to think of all of the gauzy ads for miracle drugs that are constantly advertised on TV with the before-and-after scenes of life-changing improvements accompanied by numerous terrifying side effects. I am well aware that some of these terrifying things may happen, but most will probably not.  Interestingly enough, I felt surprisingly calm as the nurse explained how carefully my chemo team will be monitoring how I respond to each treatment. Rather than mixing the different flavors of chemo together in one magical elixir, the medicines will be delivered separately to check how well I tolerate each different form of chemo.  While all of this may seem quite scary, I always find that the more I know and understand, the better I can deal with whatever hand is dealt to me.

My first treatment will last for about 5 hours, and when I leave, I will be hooked up to a handy dandy fanny pack filled with more chemo to be infused for another 46 hours.  I will then repeat this regimen every two weeks for about 6 months.  Merry Christmas to me!

Of course, I know that my fatigue level will increase incrementally, but I also know how important it is for me to stay as active as possible, and I plan to do so. I asked the nurse if my goal of playing at least 10 minutes of tennis this summer was doable.  She said that it is, but I might want to adjust it to 5 minutes.

Our eyes were slightly glazed over at the possibility of what lies ahead. However, in the wise words of Donna:  We ain’t got no time for any stinking side effects.

Anyone for tennis?


  1. God bless you on this journey, Phyllis. You will be in my prayers and thoughts.

  2. Know the feeling of a life threatening condition. Closet cleaning is a good and practical response. May the force continue to be with you.

  3. You go, Girl! I am currently fighting cancer for the 4th time in 9 years...and my second type. I have had chemo, radiation, surgeries and know all the possible side effects. When first diagnosed, I adopted the motto, "This cancer is in for the fight of its life!" Please borrow it!