• Another 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 154 (Chemo Round 15: Good News)


    Friday, December 12, 2014

    Run/ Walk/ Bike/ Elliptical (Today:  3.00 miles;  Running Total: 83.16 miles)

    Day 154 of *Another* 100 Days of Good Karma.

    My sister in law, Kelley, was my chemo date for #15. I told her I didn’t want to go anymore. She said she didn’t want to take me either, that she’d rather just keep driving and go to Kemah and go shopping. But logic won out and we went to the appointment anyway.

    After a blood draw I had an exam by my doctor’s Physician’s Assistant. He said I was responding ‘better than the average’ to the chemo. I’ve had my share of side effects (hair loss, nail discoloration, mental fogginess, fatigue, nausea, constipation, nosebleeds, depression, anxiety, fainting spells, back spasms, more), but not nearly as bad as some other patients experience.

    This last (almost) six months has been hard. Really, really hard. And my reaction to chemotherapy has been one of the fortunate stories.

    I looked over at Kelley and I saw tears in her eyes.

    “I’m so happy to hear that,” she said.

    I’m certainly happy to hear it, too. But it’s hard to focus on the happy news when I know I’m going to feel like crap in less than an hour.

    The PA refilled my anxiety medication. I was embarrassed to ask for a refill, but I made myself say the words anyway.

    I thought I’d have to explain why I was anxious, give great detail and examples (although to me ‘I have cancer’ seems like an obvious enough reason). It turned out that his main concern wasn’t that I needed a refill, but that the anxiety medication wasn’t falling into the wrong hands.

    I never thought about it, but Xanax is a controlled substance. Somehow it’s getting into the hands of high school kids who then combine it with other things and do major harm to themselves.

    On some level I suppose I knew that but I was so scared he was going to call me a junkie (in medical terms, of course) I forgot about the implications to the medical professionals providing the medicine.

    He was kind, of course. No name calling involved. He also said my anxiety is mild enough that I won’t need medicinal help forever. I was happy to hear that, too.

    My heart goes out to people who have severe anxiety. Mild is bad enough. Severe anxiety must be it’s own special kind of hell.

    He handed me a yellow piece of paper that read ‘Ready for Infusion’. This is my golden ticket. It lets the front desk know you’ve been cleared to receive chemotherapy.

    Or at least it would if I’d remembered to give it to them.

    Of course, I forgot to turn mine in. Kelley and I got to gossiping talking and I forgot to turn it in. I finally remembered when the front desk called may name.

    I think they thought I left!

    You’d think I’d have this process down after so long, but some lessons are learned better late than never.

    I slept through chemo again. One of the drugs administered through my port is Lorazepam. This is an antianxiety drug that also helps fight nausea. The last two times it has knocked me right out.

    When I woke up chemo was over and it was time to go home.

    So chemo number 15 is done.

    Today’s silver lining: Maybe the ‘above average response’ is due to my physical activity. Maybe it’s just pure unadulterated luck. Either way, hearing that made me feel better.

    I still have a long way to go. Surgery, radiation, reconstruction.

    But I just have one more chemo (right now, set for January 2nd).

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, God. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Today’s silver lining:

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

    Don’t want to leave a comment, but have something you want to share?  Send me an email at gettingthewordswrong(at)gmail(dot)com.


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4 Responsesso far.

  1. Don’t be ashamed of anxiety medicine I had to take it for years because I couldn’t cope with not being with the Grandkids. I would cry, and then get sick and at one point I thought I was NUTS!! At that point I called the doctor to be referred to a therapist and once on medication my life became normal again…and then I found out that my two bestfriends had been taking medicine for years also…so we were the “three medicated muskateers”

  2. Michale Bauer says:

    Meghan, what a wonderful picture of you and Kelley! Wonderful news … one chemo infusion to go!!!

  3. Annette says:

    One more to go! So excited to hear the news that you are responding to the treatments better than average.

    Sharing my anxiety story, I take Xanax so I can fly on an airplane.


  4. Cindy Smith says:

    Well, I am so far behind in reading that I know you have already finished your last chemo treatment. Yea for you! One step (or really many steps) done! No shame in needing some help getting through all of this.

    Already told you that I am on anxiety meds, but who knows what is going to happen when Heather & Steven move in a few short weeks. They are moving to Florida and I DON’T want them to go. I don’t want Heather to go, much less for them to take Joshua to Florida! So, like Auntie Minute, who knows what the next few weeks or months will hold for me. I love my daughter and my little guy so much I can’t imagine them being several states away instead of being 30 minutes away. We don’t have a lot of family close by and I can’t imagine needing to drive for hours or having to fly to see them. We were getting really used to our “Gi Gi Poppy Sleepovers” as Joshua calls them.

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