I wrote and re-wrote this blog so many times. Sharing the negative sides of my illness is so well… so negative. So if you want to read something inspiring, skip this bad boy and come back in a few days. I will post more pictures of Bubba. Promise.
After my fourth (and most horrendous) round of chemo, I ran into some friends who read my blog. They all asked me how I felt. The natural answer is, “So much better than before!” Then, after seeing the puzzled looks on their face, I realized I never went “there” on my blog. I never told you how it felt to feel like I was dying from the side effects of chemotherapy. Maybe I’m being a touch dramatic. Maybe. But being a self-proclaimed tough bitch makes me feel somewhat of an expert on just about… everything. (Kidding – this is sarcasm people.)
I wrote this piece on June 5th (just a few days after my fourth round) so that I could go and back read it and remember what it felt like. I didn’t write this down to share, but for me to read. There is some sort of coping mechanism that kicks in when horrible things happen that the details fade away so your mind doesn’t have to “go there” again. Well at least that’s what happens in my mind. I wanted to get it all down as it was still fresh in my head.
As my good friend said recently, “You aren’t the kind of girl that likes a pity party!” He’s right. So I’m not sharing for sympathy, but rather to give my friends insight.
I chose to name is post “The Terrible Awful”. If you watched the movie or read the book “The Help” you understand. It was so terrible and so awful I couldn’t even name it.
How the second worse day of my life (so far) felt… This was three days post chemo (regimen #1 – round 4) and the first day of an upper respiration cold.
Let’s start from head to toe
1) The head:
A) a headache (probably from dry heaving and vomiting)
B) jaw pain from grinding in my sleep (chemo side effect)
C) nose full of snot and constantly blowing (side effect from chest cold)
D) blurred vision (chemo)
E) sores in my mouth (lack of white blood cells)
a.) more sores from biting on my cheeks while eating. I felt like after every round I had to reteach my mouth how to chew. It’s like my body would forget how to function for a few days. Sounds strange and like I made that one up, but it’s how I felt.
F) picky mouth – unable to eat food that is too sweet, too salty, too spicy because of soars. Try sticking to a non-dairy, wheat free, vegetarian and no sugar diet. Basically I was confined to apple sauce.
G) ringing in my ears (chemo side effect)
H) dry mouth (cannabis and chemo side effect)
I) dry lips (chemo side effect)
J) an emotional wreck (it’s really hard not to think about death when you feel like you are actually dying)
K) neck pain, which I’ve had for a long time (this time it was because of the wrenching feeling you get from intense vomiting)
L) sinus pressure (from head cold)
2) The rest of my body:
A) serve respiratory distress – coughing or more like hacking from cold with loose phlegm that I kept choking on that would make me start to throw up but if I had no food to throw up dry heave (from head cold)
B) port pain – which is on the upper right chest are of my body (probably from accessing it so many times)
C) pain in my right upper abdomen (from the liver cancer)
D) right shoulder pain (from referred liver pain)
Notice the “right” theme here?
E) pain on the outer abs from dry heaving
F) pain on my very low back (side effect from bone marrow expanding – med used to boost blood counts)
G) pain in lower belly (from constipation – side effects from anti-nausea meds)
H) pain in the major joints; hips, knees and ankles (we think it’s from lack of estrogen due to being in menopause because the chemo has shut down my ovaries).
Although it didn’t physically hurt me when chemo put me into menopause (a side effect that no one warned me of), and I’m not complaining about have not having a cycle, but estrogen is what makes a woman – a woman. I now had no hair, shrinking breasts and butt. No eyebrows and the very worse for me – no eyelashes. I’m not Lori without eyelashes. This news is what played such havoc with my emotions. It was a harsh reality that I would never be a mom again, my most important and most serious job. Over being a wife, a daughter a marketing director… I am a mom. It’s the one task in life I don’t mess around with. If there is any mark that I leave behind – it’s my son. At the end of the day, he is the only one that matters. He’s what makes my sunset and my sunrise. There has only been two times throughout my diagnosis that Jeremiah has cried. Once was when I told him that my cancer has no cure. I’m not sure he knew what that meant, but he could see how hard it was for me to tell him and therefore that made him upset. The other time he had a hard time going to sleep so I crawled into bed with him. He started crying and after quite some time he told me that he had just realized that he would never have a brother or a sister and therefore no one to play with all the time. Because I am a mom, my entire goal in life is to make my son happy and feel supported. I wanted to give him a sibling, for him. Not for me. Not for my husband or any grandparents, but for him.
So there it is friends. The second ugliest day yet of my life; terrible and awful. The first was losing Briton.