• 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 46 (Chemo Round 4: The Sleep Experiment)

    Chemo Round 4:  Hair coming out faster.  Good thing I had a lot to begin with.

    Chemo Round 4: Hair coming out faster. Good thing I had a lot to begin with.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    Day 46 of 100 Days of Good Karma.

    I’ve had trouble sleeping the night after chemotherapy appointments.  This is a result of the steroids I’m given as part of my treatment.

    The steroids are a good thing because they help with nausea and also prevent allergic reactions to the chemotherapy drugs.  They also give me a ridiculous amount of energy for a very long time.

    Unfortunately they keep me awake.

    After the first treatment I woke up in the middle of the night.  I finally got back to sleep three hours later.

    Same thing on the second treatment.  Luckily my aunt was also up so we had a nice long chat on the phone at 2am.

    The third treatment I didn’t bother going to bed.  I thought, I’ll just wait until I get tired.

    Around 2am I made myself go to sleep (I could have easily stayed up longer), then was up 4 hours later bright eyed and bushy tailed.

    I was determined the night after my fourth treatment would go differently.

    So today I conducted a sleep experiment.

    I set my alarm and got up at 5am.

    I drank my one glorious cup of coffee and wrote for a while.

    Then I grabbed Tilley’s leash and took her for a run.  It was still dark outside, but there’s something reassuring about running with a seventy pound black dog in the predawn hours.  Even if she is more interested in chasing rabbits than defending her human.

    After I got home I got the kids ready for school.

    Today’s camera woman, Monica, arrived at my house.  I gave her one job for the day:  “Don’t let me sleep.”

    She made a face.  “I’ll try, but what if you want to? I’m not going to be able to tell you no.”

    “Don’t. Let. Me. Sleep.” I said again.

    Monica and I dropped the kids off at school, then headed to my chemo appointment.

    I know it seems counterintuitive, but I’m always in a good mood on chemo days.

    Chemo days are non-waiting days.  They’re days I feel like I’m doing something about having breast cancer as opposed to just having breast cancer.

    I like to think I entertain my nurses with my inappropriate jokes on chemo days.  If they’re not amused they’re very tactful about waiting until they leave the room to roll their eyes.

    Action shot of me being a smartass with the nurse.

    Action shot of me being a smartass with the nurse.

    Today’s battle gear was my strong socks, a Keep Calm and Battle On t-shirt and a new necklace.

    The t-shirt is courtesy of the wife of a member of my old vanpool.  It was so kind of them to think of me.

    The necklace is from some very good friends at my old job.  I am so grateful for their support throughout my diagnosis and treatment.  Their friendship is invaluable.

    You know who you are.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


    During this round of treatment the doctors started stepping down the steroids.  I knew this was coming and have hope that sleep will get easier as the steroid dosage goes down.

    After chemo I reminded Monica to keep me busy.  We went to lunch.  Then we went grocery shopping.

    I hate grocery shopping, but I like cooking.  I’ve been wanting to try a vegetable broth recipe from the recipe book One Bite at a Time.  I discovered grocery shopping with friends is way better than grocery shopping alone.

    Monica and I took a short break at home where she made me sit down on the couch and rest.  She cleaned my kitchen while I made her watch the first episode of Orange is the New Black.

    I didn’t let myself sit too long though.

    I picked up the kids, ran an errand for Justin, then came home to cook dinner.

    I skipped third grade orientation because it was nasty hot outside and I didn’t want to go out again, but I struck a bargain with my neighbor and watched her girls in exchange for her going to orientation and picking up a packet for me.

    She doesn’t know it, but having her two kids entertain my two kids made my night easier.  I got to sit on the couch and read a book while the four of them entertained themselves.

    I’m currently reading Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox.  If I ever needed a shot of perspective, MJF is happy to provide.

    Other books I’d like to read:

    • Lucky Man: A Memoir by Michael J. Fox
    • Nothing is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life by Christopher Reeve
    • Still Me by Christopher Reeve
    • It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong

    Whether or not I agree with the political or personal choices of these people, they’ve been through some crazy stuff and I think I can learn something from them.

    Finally around 10pm I felt tired enough to close my eyes.

    I tossed and turned for a few minutes.  Even the lower dosage of steroids was still strong enough to make my legs restless, but it wasn’t as bad as last week.

    Today’s silver lining:  Either by lowering the dosage of steroids or by wearing myself out I managed to sleep from 10am to 4am without waking up.

    I’ll take it.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!


    Post Tagged with

4 Responsesso far.

  1. Erica says:

    Lucky Man is in the mail, Amazon should deliver it by 9/3.

  2. Tina Smith says:

    Woot for the strong socks!!! Strong socks repel cancer.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.