Saturday, March 20, 2010

ICE Round 2: Aftermath

In the past I've thought I felt like shit, but that was nothing. I liken these past couple of days since chemo to feelings of oozy, raunchy, steaming dog shit.

I am completely zapped of energy. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to get myself out of bed and onto another horizontal surface and that's pretty much all I've been doing. When I do get the strength to shuffle around in the kitchen or to walk to the mailbox I return with a pounding heart and have to immediately sit to calm my body back done again after its excursion. What I have to continually tell myself is that this is because my body and the chemo is working so hard against the cancer cells and that my body is trying to bounce back from being ravaged with three days worth of high-dose chemotherapy. But it's hard to keep that perspective when any sudden movements cause a wave of nausea and when my brain just literally can't focus on even the most mundane of tasks.

As Craig said last night, "If you didn't feel this bad, then we should be worried." This makes sense, I suppose. I feel bad because the chemo is working. It is tearing out my insides - literally. The whole first six inches of my throat feel like an auger went through it hacking away at the soft tissue so that it's hard to speak at a normal volume and uncomfortable to swallow. Despite that, I drink and drink and drink - water, Gatorade, Crystal Light, and more water. It's vitally important for me to force the fluids to flush everything out and keep my kidneys functioning well. I also shove the food down my throat no matter how nauseous I am.

Between the steroids and my body's fatigue, I certainly have a big appetite and eating usually curbs the nausea waves. I consider it fuel for the cancer bonfire that's happening inside of me and I must continue to give it the kindling it needs so that it doesn't go out. This means many frequent meals throughout the day - and it's odd things I crave. Last night I couldn't get my mind off Pad Thai so we ordered in and that did the trick. This morning it was banana and peanut butter sandwich then a healthy portion of bacon and spinach. Right now all I want is fiery chicken sausage so I'm working on Craig to light up the grill.

I am proud to say that I have not vomited and I made it past the vomit point of the first ICE chemo. I also have not had a bowel movement ... sigh. But, you take what you can get. I'm on some different nausea blockers this time around. Zofran in the morning and then I have this cannabis-based drug called Marinol. It's synthetic delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol, the same chemical found naturally in marijuana. It's often used for cancer patients, AIDS patients, people with anorexia needing an appetite stimulant. Side effects are "elation, easy laughter, relaxed mood." Now this is a much nicer side effect list than what I'm used to reading on the printouts for each of the chemo drugs: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heart palpitations, rash, hair loss ... . Truth be told I've only taken the Marinol twice. I'm a big proponent of "the less drugs the better" especially with how many I have in my system without a choice. I like to use mind over matter techniques until I just can't take it anymore, then reach for the drugs. I just never want to be dependant. The Marinol does cut the nausea very well, but I wouldn't say I experienced a "high" - not that I would know what that is like - except for that one time in college ... .

Today is certainly much improved over Thursday and Friday and to make it all better it's been hovering above 70 degrees with bright sun each day. So, even though I'm not able to do much, I'm able to lay in my anti-gravity chair, complete with flip-over shade and full reclining capabilities as I just exist outside in the warmth. There are certainly some healing powers to that. Yesterday I reclined so hard in my chair that I rolled right over myself - head in the arborvitae, ass following immediately afterward. My mom and Gramma were there playing Rummy 500 while I floated in and out of sleep all afternoon. My Gramma, who's weak from getting chemo two days ago herself, is the one who rushes over to help me up while my Mom stands turned away from me, hands between her legs bent over laughing and trying not to wet herself - her usual reaction to these types of occurrences. I also almost pissed myself I was laughing so hard at the hilarity of it all as I picked pine needles out of my mouth and scraped the sap off my elbows.

"Does this count as alternating rest with light exercise periods?" I asked my mom after the summersault stunt.

We laughed more - Marinol induced or not, that was funny stuff. I guess my reflexes are a bit compromised.


  1. I just want you to know that while I was laughing I was still so concerned for your well being!! :) what a sight to see you go over! like mikes says anti gravity is not zero gravity you cannot float! we love you

  2. Never mind the fall--I want some of that Marinol--c'mon I deserve it!! Good thing I wasn't there--stuff like that makes me out of control---Girl--you're doing great--I have one of those chairs and they are a little unstable!!! Keep up the good fight--you are winning!!!! xoxo Bev

  3. Karin, sounds like you are in good long as your gramma is there! Sorry Laura :)

  4. Risin' up, back on the street
    Did my time, took my chances
    Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
    Just a man and his will to survive

    So many times, it happens too fast
    You change your passion for glory
    Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
    You must fight just to keep them alive

    It's the eye of the tiger, it's the cream of the fight
    Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
    And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
    And he's watchin' us all in the eye of the tiger

    Face to face, out in the heat
    Hangin' tough, stayin' hungry
    They stack the odds 'til we take to the street
    For we kill with the skill to survive


    Risin' up, straight to the top
    Have the guts, got the glory
    Went the distance, now I'm not gonna stop
    Just a man and his will to survive


    The eye of the tiger (repeats out)...

    We know you can do this Karin! Keep the eye on the tiger!

  5. Hang in there girl! All the pain is getting you closer to your cancer free life. It's getting closer with each day that passes, whether that day is sh*t or wonderful. You have the benefit of being able to go back and read your blog posts....notice that even the nastiest, worst days slowly fade back to optimism and hope for the future. That is your centerpoint, even when you can't generate the feeling because of nausea and pain. (Take the Marinol if you need it!) Even though it's tough as hell right now, it won't stay like this. Every day is different, every day something changes. Fewer cancer cells is the most important thing, and it sure seems like that's what's going on. Keep that fire going my dear! You're doing BEAUTIFULLY. Love you, Lis

  6. Yesterday, I was at Sam's and I saw the culprit no gravity chairs and I thought of you...