Almost two weeks ago I had my first round of chemo. And by the time I got to my appointment, pretty much all of my anxiety, anger and negative feelings had disappeared. By the time I got there, I was ready to just get it over with, do what I had to do, and was determined to make the best of it. I had 16 weeks of treatment ahead of me, and I will not waste that amount of time in a bad mood.
My chair was in an insanely sunny area of the ‘Chemo Suite’, and for those of you who know me you know that sunshine is my THING. I live for sun, the sun is my spirit animal, and on vacations I soak in ‘every last drop’ – meaning I literally stay in the sun until every last drop of the rays have turned into shade… it’s not crazy, it’s my thing. I took the fact that I had to wear sunglasses through my treatment as a very positive sign, it was the universe delivering exactly what I needed.
I didn’t feel much during the treatment, physically. It lasted just over an hour, and the nurse administered two different chemo drugs during that time. It honestly didn’t seem like a big deal. I did however have a couple of emotional moments, which is probably pretty normal. Although, I’m not very emotional personally, so it caught me off guard.
The first time was when the nurse was telling me how sometimes it’s hard for them to get some grown adults physically through the chemo suite doors – like some people won’t walk through – the nurses have to take them by the hand and physically get them into the chairs, and really work at getting them their treatment.
This hit me hard because the visual popped into my head and I suddenly realized ‘Holy crap, this is a super scary thing for people, and it’s happening to me’. The grossness of the whole thing seeped into my brain as I looked at my husband, who was there with me, and I practically whispered “I can’t believe this is happening right now”. He looked back at my sympathetically, I looked away, and forced my mind to get control, and get positive again.
But then there was a second time, when the nurse was injecting the first medication into my PICC line. It was bright red, we talked about it a little bit, and then she told me “this is the one that makes your hair fall out’. It hurt. A lot. Like I know that it’s going to happen, the doctors made it very clear it was a guaranteed side effect… they didn’t want me to get my hopes up because ‘some people don’t lose their hair during chemo’. That wouldn’t be me, and now it’s in my body, and there is no turning back. My little emotional moment didn’t last too long, because again I looked at my husband and very clearly said “fucking ew”. He laughed, I laughed, the nurse laughed.. And we all lived happily ever after.
That was abrupt. Here’s the rest. If you’re still with me.
The side effects following the treatment weren’t too bad. I had a medication schedule after my treatment to battle the nausea and vomiting, I had a nurse visit my home for three days to hook my PICC to a saline hydration treatment, and an immune booster shot for 7 days to help keep me healthy. They definitely set you up for success, and do everything possible to make it bearable. For the first week following the treatment I was fatigued, I could feel my heart beating in my chest and my body just felt heavy. I was nauseas, had a pretty major headache, some body aches… felt generally not great. But all of which could be helped with Tylenol or extra anti-nausea pills. It wasn’t anything major.
By the time the second weekend rolled around I was feeling like my normal self again. I had a ton of energy, I was happy, positive and borderline hyperactive haha. Like, it felt so good to feel normal – I felt way above normal! I caught up with friends, drank wine, went to a large event with colleagues, worked out, went skating with kids and friends, organized my whole house (literally decluttered every closet and kid toy shelf that existed), meal prepped, met with clients and friends, got to work, and did a full Bootcamp class! It was a great week.
And I still have all my hair.
Tomorrow I go round 2, and I’ll consider myself lucky if things go the same way! Wish me luck.
Side note: For those of you who were thinking to yourself ‘the sun isn’t an animal’ – yes, I realize the sun is not an animal, you get what I mean, that’s just how much I love the sun.