Why is it that you can fool everyone, but not your mother? I’m reminded of the movie “Madeline” where the nun raises her hand and says, “Something is not right!” Despite the fact that there was no evidence or hint in the immediate area of impending disaster, she knew something was simply wrong. Mothers are like that too. They don’t need to see the physical evidence – mommy hair simply goes up on the back of the neck and they know something is not right. Being a mother myself, and knowing about our built in radar and intuition, it came as no surprise when my mother called and asked the “Question” – What’s wrong? You’re not writing. I was finally busted.
The truth is that for the first time on chemo, I’ve met my match and have been terribly sick. Sick is most definitely a place I don’t want to go. On July 3rd, we started a new drug cocktail – the AC (Adriamycin and Cytoxan) drug combo. The “A” in the AC combo is better known as the “Red Devil.” I have to say it’s aptly named. The “C” drug isn’t much better and is known to cause little problems like bleeding bladders. All in all, the AC drug is a powerful punch of poison. Normally, this comes at the beginning of chemo, when you’re fresh with no cumulative buildup of chemo in your system. However, because I was in the trial, I’ve already had 14 weeks of chemo – 14 weeks of poison and toxins to buildup in my system – and that little Red Devil knew it and tried to kick my butt from here to Taylor Duck Field.
I’d like to say I won round one but since I’m basically honest, I haven’t found a good way to spin the truth in my favor yet! Suffice it to say that the first dose brought the concept of toilet hugging to a new level and I could have easily had a colonoscopy as my insides were most definitely cleaned out. Thank God this happened over a holiday weekend! By the time Monday rolled around, it took 100 percent of my energies simply to work. (Yes, I am still working full-time.) Writing, even writing enough to fool my mother into thinking all was well, was beyond the energy level at the end of the day.
By the time I had my checkup on Thursday (the AC combo comes every other week), I was already suffering from severe dehydration and they wanted to put me in the hospital – a kind offer which we declined. There are sick people and GERMS in hospitals – neither of which I wanted or needed! We compromised – the doctor let me stay home provided I came into the infusion lab for IV fluids. Cotton and I gratefully agreed. Saturday brought a new challenge with fever and a trip to the emergency room. We discovered the Cytoxan does indeed hurt your bladder and so treatment began to clear up another chemo caused problem.
Last Thursday, we went in for round two with the Red Devil and Cytoxan. The doctor has gone above and beyond in managing the side effects. They’ve tried some new meds and some different approaches to existing problems. It’s not perfect, but then, I wasn’t fully recovered from round one. But, I am better. I’ve held my own on this round and most importantly, I am writing again.
What’s next? Only two more AC drug treatments left. Number 3 comes next week and the last one on August 14. I’ll cross that finish line if I have to fight and claw my way across or Cotton has to drag. I’m still swinging at the Red Devil. I’ve bought a tiara to wear when I ring the bell. I’m still determined to finish the fight. And, I will write about it!
© 2013. Mary Kyle. All Rights reserved.