Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tough to Type

One of the cancer killing drugs I receive gives me a type of neuropathy in my fingers. They tingle and feel like a million pin pricks. Touching something cold really sets it off and typing on the computer aggravates it as well. It will wear off in a few days. As such, my blog post may not be as long today. I am the type of person who is able to work through pain. I am highly pain tolerant which may be one of the reasons I got into this pickle in the first place. I had no idea how sick I was and I failed to read the pain signals my body was giving me. I have always been able to ignore discomfort and go on with my plans. Fortunately, this characteristic may help me through the next months.

Yesterday, I had my third chemo and I am home wtih my little pal, the pump. At least this time we have had no hourly alarms. Apolo is funny. When I get home from treatment, he sniffs me over and sniffs the pump. Certainly, he is able to smell the strong chemicals, but he is just as affectionate with his Mommy as ever. My Mom is here now for a few days again and sat with me while I was being infused so Dave could hop over to the UW to actually do some work.

Chemo is actually kind of pleasant. Everyone at SCCA is terrific and attentive. I never feel sick because they give you plenty of anti-nausea and pain drugs at the same time. I appreciate the multiple vinyl pouches of deadly liquids entering my blood stream. They have a job to do from which I will benefit. About half way through, the liquids overwhelm my system, and I have to visit the bathroom every 15 or 20 minutes. I don't mind because it gets me up and off of the hospital bed. All by myself, I unplug the giant IV tree with the decorative bags from the wall and find an open bathroom. My Mom said it looked like I was taking an entire hospital with me down the hall. You see, a battery takes over when you unplug from the wall so for a short period of time you can be off and running.

I don't think I look terribly sick. Some of the folks at SCCA certainly do. I still have my hair and my color is good after the blood transfusion. And I feel pretty normal pushing my IV tree to the bathroom at break neck speed. I really do not want this particular illness to snuff me from this life. They say that people who live to be 100 do not necessarily arrive at that age disease or illness free. Many of them have survived cancers and other serious physical ailments. They key is the attitude they have had over the years that allowed them to get through difficult times and on to a ripe old age. This positive outlook is what I strive for.

My pattern seems to be that tomorrow, after I am unhooked from my pump, the yucky tiredness and flu-like feelings visit for a few days. My appetite disappears and it is difficult to feel upbeat. After that, I return to my new normal which consists of not so good days and better days. Each day tends to have parts where I am not feeling so well or am in pain and good chunks where I feel quite good. In fact, last week I walked every single day at least a mile. On Friday and Saturday, I walked my usual walk of 1.7 miles with hills and everything. On Sunday afternoon, I was climbing around our property behind our fence where Dave continues his battle with nettles and blackberry bushes to encourage the native growth. Then I cleaned up dog poop!

Yep, you learn to appreciate being able to do normal, everyday, mundane tasks.

You realize the beauty of ordinary life.