Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Look Mom! I'm a Biohazard: My Adventures with Chemotherapy

As I write this, I'm getting my 2nd chemotherapy treatment.  When I'm done this afternoon, that will be 2 down, 10 to go.  The treatment regimen I receive is referred to as ABVD.  Each initial is a drug they pump into Mama.  But first, before they give me that stuff, I get glorious anti-nausea medication.

I have not experienced ANY nausea since my first treatment.  Well, that's a bit of a falsehood.  I've had a few occasions of nausea in the 2 weeks since my first treatment but they had nothing to do with Chemo.  If you ever, God FORBID, find yourself pregnant and getting Chemo, don't store high quality Polish sausage in your fridge because no matter how much you enjoy it the smell may be a challenge.  I know you're here for those kinds of tips.

The thing about Chemotherapy, especially when you're pregnant, is that it goes against every instinct you have as a human being.  In 21st century, first world suburbia (1st world is really implied by suburbia, no?) paranoid self denial during pregnancy is practically a blood sport amongst young mothers.  No sugar, no soda, no soft cheeses, no cats, no beer, no smoking blah blah blah.  Relax people.   Obviously soft cheese and smoking are not the same level of threat.  But to new mothers especially, soft cheese or soda or whatever gets elevated to DANGER status and the idea it might cross your lips, let alone your placenta is to be avoided at all costs.  I'm not going to lie, after pregnancy number one, this girl would enjoy a Pepsi, and don't think I didn't see those sideways glances first timers...I used to make those judgments too.  When you're a first time mother, trying desperately to do "everything right", a pregnant woman drinking Pepsi might as well as admit that Pepsi will be going in a baby bottle in nine months.  Yes, that's right, you will be marked as a bottle feeder.  Cue shudder.

I digress, all I'm trying to say is if you see soft cheese as poison, pumping in actual poison is really difficult.  Am I saying that means all pregnant women should have a free for all?  No way, but I've realized that sometimes in our quest for control we can lose sight of how amazing our bodies are.  My body can grow a healthy baby and protect her from this poison and fight this disease all at once.  Because it's a bad ass.  Praise God who created it.  Praise God who gave humanity an intellect capable of studying His creation and developing treatments that will allow all 6 of my children to have their Mama.

Back to chemo.  Long and short of it is the whole thing is yucky, unpleasant, unnatural, and a blessing.  It is a blessing because it will cure me.  It is a blessing because I get to spend a few hours with Michael and watch TV, and drink all the free pop I want.  Because seriously, they're pumping me full of straight up poison, so a little pop can't hurt right?  Plus they say things I consume whilst being poisoned will become things I can't stand when treatment is over.  Since I have almost zero will power to avoid things that aren't good for me, I might as well live it up and get aversion therapy at the same time.

Can you believe I wrote all that while I was being poisoned?  Pretty soon I'll be pretty loopy.  Well, I guess you can be the judge of whether or not I'm loopy yet.  Did the preceding paragraphs make any sense?  People who didn't always behave themselves in their late teens and early twenties have told me that the feeling I experience after my anti-nausea meds can be referred to as "post buzz/pre-puke".  It means you are a tad silly and sometimes a square of sidewalk seems like a perfect place to take a nap so you should really have supervision.

In the next week, I will be so so sleepy in the afternoon and also super dizzy.  But after day 5 or 6, each day will get a bit easier until I feel like I can rule the world.  Then, 15 days from now.  I'll start over.  My anti-nausea meds are done, which mean s***'s about to get real.  So, as I tell the nurse as she injects my IV with doxyrubicin "the red devil", let's kill these son's a b*****s.


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