I am in the middle of my 2nd chemo session. I think this makes the 10th session I have had overall. This counting the 8 months I did last time I was battling a brain tumor. I guess this makes me kind of an experienced hand at all of this. Let me make something clear: THIS SUCKS!
I’m sure I didn’t really need to tell anyone this but I just want to make it crystal clear how bad this is. I generally only share as much as I think people can handle because if every time people checked in on how I was doing, I actually told them I feel like people might stop asking.
A lot of people are curious what it feels like to go through this. It is an experience that I would not wish on the people I think the least of. The best terms to put this in is to compare it to a condition that almost everyone can relate to. I am fairly certain that almost all of us have had a few hangovers in our lives. It is the equivalent to having a hangover that makes you swear you won’t ever drink again. You don’t get the fun of the night before though.
The night before consists of timing your dinner so that you can take your pills on an empty stomach to avoid throwing up while you’re asleep or while you’re trying to go to sleep. You also are trying to time the taking of the meds to a moment when you can fall asleep quickly so you won’t have to be awake when they really take hold. When you take the Temodar you get a taste in your mouth as if you have swallowed some sort of toxic chemical concoction, because you have. You wake up with a headache which you are not sure how to get rid of. You feel like you’re on the verge of throwing up but you haven’t gotten to eat since about 7 the night before. This means that if you try to throw up you’ll get nothing but dry heaves. And throwing up will not make you feel any better anyway because by this time the chemo drugs are no longer in your stomach but have been absorbed into your body. When you finally feel as though you can peel yourself out of bed without having your legs buckle from being dizzy, you have a debate with yourself about whether eating something is a good idea. Throughout the day you feel as though you haven’t slept for days and you get angry with yourself about how little you feel you can accomplish. As the day winds down you start anticipating your next dose and realize that tomorrow is going to be worse than today because the effects are cumulative. The closer you get to the end the more the drugs have built up in your body and the worse you feel. So in effect the closer you get to the end of the 5 days the harder it gets push through.
The entire week of treatment you're terrified about ending up some place where you might vomit and not have access to a bathroom. The treatment also throws your digestive tract into a tailspin. The naturally occurring bacteria which helps with proper digestion is killed by the chemo drugs. This persists into the next week without drugs.
I feel better each day that puts me further from my last treatment. The catch 22 of the situation is that the better you start to feel the more the clock is ticking in your head. The better you feel the closer you are to the next round of treatment. You will never get back to the 100% that you once knew and always took for granted.
This description is not to conjure up pity or praise from people, but rather to make sure everyone understands why it is important to support research to find better solutions. I hope that I’m around to see the day when solutions like surgery and chemotherapy and radiation are thought of as archaic routes to take in the treatment of cancer.
As I said I would not wish this on anyone but unfortunately all of you will know or already know another person that has to go through something similar or something worse. In some cases some of you will have to go through something like this. Right at this moment we all have the opportunity to try to get ahead of this. The amount of the donations is not what’s important to me. As I said previously, I would prefer a million small donations to a few large ones. In order to donate you can send cash or checks to me at 506 S Curley street, Baltimore Md,.21224. It is probably easiest for people to make donations on: http://www.active.com/donate/qquest/johnpetrovick