As I'm starting my second stage of chemo, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the Pros and Cons of this cancer diagnosis...
Cons: These seem kind of obvious, so I'll focus on the ones that annoy me the most right now, and not on the life-altering, you could die ones. Because I'm pretty sure that you could imagine what those are. And I also won't bring up the kind of gross side effects that you don't really want to hear about. There are many posts that I write but never post here, guess you'll have to wait for the book. (Which would be cool, and which AJ wants to help me write).
(1) I'm calling it Perma-cold. I'm not sure if it's the chemo or the steroids (yes, I'm on a mission to blame everything on the steroids...just keep reading), but my nose is ALWAYS running. I have resorted to carrying Kleenex in my purse, in my car, there are boxes on the nightstand, in the kitchen, and on the family room coffee table. I even bring my own box of Kleenex to chemo because the tissue they supply is worse than sandpaper. "Don't leave home without it" has taken on new meaning.
(2) Migraines. Again, I blame the steroids, but there's the possibility that this was the A/C chemo making me feel like this. Let's hope, because after the last round I was laying in the dark with a killer migraine for 6 days.
(3) Insomnia. Blaming the steroids again. The one nausea med (yes, there's more than one) that I was given was supposed to help with that, but it doesn't even come close. And since it's probably not a good idea to take the whole bottle, I have finally been convinced to get a prescription for Ambien to see if that helps. The doctor says I might actually start feeling better if I get more than 3 hours of sleep at a time. What? You mean 5 hours of sleep a day, and not all at once, is a bad thing? Whoops. Of course, I still haven't stopped by the pharmacy to fill said prescription, so it might be awhile until I let you know how it's working.
(4) Weight gain. I don't care if I'm a sloth, it's got to be the steroids. I also don't care that no one else seems concerned over my gaining 5 pounds in 5 weeks. But I only have one pair of pants that fit right now. I'm going to need to buy new clothes if this keeps up. Can you imagine? Forget "fat pants," I'm going to need "cancer pants." Terrific!
(5) Chemo brain. And it's so bad right now that I almost forgot to mention it. If you aren't familiar with chemo brain, this is a fun side effect that basically makes you stupid. Or at least makes you feel stupid. You forget things, like what you were just about to type, and you definitely can't remember the right words at the right times. It's a little like dementia. I think I've only forgotten each child's name once or twice, but there are many times where I look like a lunatic waving my arms around or snapping my fingers hoping that this will help me come up with the right word. And I've been told that this takes AWHILE to go away, and is sometimes permanent. God help me. This one is my biggest fear because it's pretty hard to teach when you can't remember what you want to teach them.
(6) Hot flashes. I hate to say it out loud, but I think this is chemo-induced menopause. Shhhh! Don't want to think it. Moving on...
(7) Taste bud obliteration. This sucks! God forbid if you ever have to go through chemotherapy, PLEASE call me first so I can tell you how not to have this happen to you. I am slooooowly getting them back, little by little, so it's possible this isn't permanent, but still a monumental pain in the ass.
Pros: Yes, there actually are some. Though, let's be honest, the cons definitely outweigh the good things. But if pressed, there are a few "perks" if that's the word you want to use.
(1) I'm saving money on shampoo, haircuts, and coloring the horrible gray. Although it's possible the cost of the wigs offsets this, but we won't think about that. Mainly because I'm really fond of the Katy Perry wig now and might just be wearing it for every school picture day from here on out.
(2) I don't have to clean up kid puke. When the daughter had the FLU with a capital "F" last weekend, I didn't have to clean it up. Or come anywhere near her. Now, I felt bad about not being able to comfort her (and that she was basically locked in her room), but didn't really miss cleaning up kid puke.
(3) I don't have to go to the dentist while I'm going through treatment. I think there's several reasons for this, but I don't really care. I just heard the "no dentist" part and that was good enough for me. Oh, and I don't have to floss either, but who's kidding who? I don't really floss anyway. Shhhh!
(4) No shaving my legs. Even though the hair on my legs was the last to fall out (and by falling out, I mean that I finally shaved it off), it has not grown back. Cutting this and the shampoo out of the morning regimen means more time to sleep in. Sadly for my energy-conscious husband, this does not mean less time in the shower because I've discovered it is nice to just stand (sit) in the warm water for as long as possible.
(5) People are awesome. It's nice to see this in action, and I do on a regular basis. So many people taking care of me and my family...in big and small ways...we are so grateful!