Monday, May 30, 2011

Side Effects

Why did I do that?

I've been so good at staying away from Google so far. My doctor told me not to look up anything about cervical cancer on the internet because each case is different. He didn't want me to drive myself crazy. Don't get me wrong, I've done research on the best doctors and the highest quality wigs, but I haven't dug deep into details of what I'll be facing.

Until tonight.

Just for the Hell of it, I decided to look up the side effects of chemotherapy. Of course, I knew about the hair loss and fatigue. How much worse could it be? 

Well, I can't quote exactly what I read because after I burst into hysterics, Jimmi ran over and closed the window on the computer while verbally disciplining me like I was a disobedient a child. "Why did you look? I told you not to do that!" 

So, I'll try and remember as much of the terrifying list as I can without sneaking another look, for fear of the wrath of Jimmi!


Hair Loss

Changes in mouth and throat



Trouble with urination


Memory loss

Eating changes

Sexual changes (no, not a sex-change)

That's all I can think of at the moment. Probably more than I'll remember after the memory loss sets in. But it wasn't enough for me to read each symptom; I had to click on the descriptions.

I skipped anemia, hair loss, pain and fatigue, figuring they were self-explanatory.

"Changes in mouth and throat"? What? Click! Ok, so, apparently, everything I eat will taste like shit. Oh, sorry, metal. It will taste like metal. But, not to worry! I can eat with plastic utensils, and maybe that'll help. That is, when I feel like eating at all. And when I do eat, chewing might hurt. Swallowing, too. Sounds pleasant. It's all good, though, since under "Eating Changes" I read that I won't have an appetite anyway. Good news! Forcing myself to eat a bunch of small meals per day, instead of three large ones might help. And as long as they're high in fat, and heavily spices, I might even taste them!

Well, at least I'll fit into my wedding dress...

Or not. "Swelling". Click! I may experience swelling in the arms, legs, feet or abdomen. Abdomen? Nope. No can do!! My wedding dress is fitted to every curve of my body. It's not meant for new bumps and bulges. It won't fit! No, I can't have it taken out! It needs the body I have NOW! That's THE dress. I don't want to look for another one!! Yes, I'm bitching like a five year-old, but I think I'm entitled. After all, I've already been cranky and uncomfortable since my egg retrieval. I've been so puffy and sore, that I haven't been able to wear pants in a week! I've been living in sundresses, sweats and jumpers since last Tuesday, and, I'm not gonna lie, I'd kill to wear a pair of skinny jeans right now. My sides hurt from stretching to keep up with the bulge in my abdomen that won't seem to go away. And all I keep thinking is that it's only going to get worse. 

"Think positive, Suzanne! Be optimistic!"

Can't right now. It will get worse - and I'm still only talking about the swelling! As soon as the puffiness from the retrieval goes away, It'll be hysterectomy time. If I'm this uncomfortable now, I can't even imagine how bad that will be. Not to mention the fact that I may never have a flat stomach again. Once my ovaries are removed, I might get that menopausal belly that is resistant to all diets and exercise. I'll never wear tight clothes or bikinis again. Wait, what's exercise? I don't remember anymore. I haven't been allowed to go to the gym since I started my IVF cycle to stimulate my eggs three weeks ago. I can start again next week, but I have doctor's appointments every day and a week later, I'll have surgery and be out of commission again for the rest of the summer. I used to go to the gym 3-5 times a week. I'm starting to feel tired, flabby and lethargic. I just want to do 5 miles on the elliptical!!

Happy thoughts! I need a happy thought...Embryos (or blastocysts, as they're called in the freezer)!! 14 of the 16 that were fertilized made it to the five day mark. That means they continued to grow long enough after fertilization to be frozen. So Jimmi and I have 14 possible babies waiting for a future gestational carrier.

But I digress. Where was I?

"Memory loss". Convenient time for me think of that one. I pride myself on having an impeccable memory. I can tell you the details of every important conversation I've ever had. I keep my calendar in my head because, though I do write appointments down, I never look at the book. I never need to. Even if I forget my grocery list at home, I'll generally remember 95% of what was on it. That will come to an end. During chemo treatments, I won't even remember what I ate for breakfast. But I will know it probably tasted like metal.

"Trouble with Urination." Honestly, I feel like a geriatric patient. The catheter is really bad enough, but now the chemo might cause me to have trouble peeing? Wait! I just remembered two more side effects! You'll love these: constipation and diarrhea. I'm sorry, but don't they need to pick one? If I'm constipated, how can I have diarrhea, or vice versa? As far as I can see, my entire bathroom experience will be a total disaster.

And lastly, "Sexual Changes." It says I'm not gonna want to have sex. But, really, even if I did, would anyone actually want to have sex with me? I know I'll be a total catch with my bald head, swollen body and metallic-tasting mouth, but I guess I'll just have to turn all my suiters away. I'll bet Jimmi will be beating them off with a stick!! They'll all be lined up outside the bathroom, waiting for me to finish puking or having diarrhea, or straining to pee. It'll be like a fairy tale! Chemo-rella. That's me! Only I won't be able to try on the glass slipper because my feet will be too swollen.

14 days. 

In 14 days, my Hell will begin. In 14 days, I'll start on the path to recovery. I just hope it doesn't kill me first.

1 comment:

  1. Try to remember that information on the Internet, and the pamphlets that the Dr.s give you, have to outline the worst case scenarios. They are not guarantees of what will happen. I was told that I'd have all kinds of scary side effects with my chemotherapy too, and the worst thing that happened was the occasional mouth sore (like a canker sore) and some fatigue.

    Oh and my Mom, who also had breast cancer, didn't lose her hair during her first experience with chemo (she said it got a bit thin, but didn't all fall out), and she had the "bad" kind like you. So I'll be hoping along with you!