Pinky Pie

My personality flaw & me

Posted on: October 24, 2009

I have written before that I assumed that I would skate through chemo with my humor, good looks, charm, internal fortitude, walking, and my crazy sense of humor, not to mention support from my wonderful family, friends and even folks I have never met.

Alas, I‘ve felt a bit like a failure that after a few days after chemo, I have felt so down and out. It was like a truck hit me – a van the first time, a semi the second and I’m worrying about a tank rolling over me after this third chemo as fatigue is accumulative.

And for the fourth? Will there be a convoy heading towards me? I really need to look both ways before crossing I-90.

The real character flaw, however, may be that I think I have a character flaw for not rebounding from chemotherapy in the boyish way that Brett Favre pops up after being sacked. (However, I am not happy that he went to the Vikings. The Farve thing is just an image, Packers fans.)

My oncologist, Dr. Paula Gill, noted before my second chemo that I had not ended up in the hospital after the first chemotherapy. That was doing well. And I didn’t after the second, either. In some ways, that is an accomplishment.

She was amused by my character flaw comment, telling me some women are down and out for up to ten days. Also, there is less time to recover in my every two-week regimen than in the traditional every three-week treatment. But I clearly have the strrength to handle this dose dense protocol, which shows a bit better results.

I’ll stick with feeling down and out for (parts of) six days and hope each time it will be better. Even someone who describes herself as the eternal pessimist can have hopes eternal. But I know, as my daughter reminds me I used to tell her, there is always an up after a down.

And I don’t really believe it is a character failing, more a disappointment that I’m a bit slower in my recovery. It’s just part of the life that I’ll deal with.

Dr. Gill, who has a wonderful sense of humor, confirmed her words to me before treatment that “we will kick this cancer in the tush.” She added Friday, “That’s why were are here and why we are kicking you in the tush.”

No one told me that trucks would be involved, though.

One reason I was so downcast in my response is I heard about a 77-year-old woman who seemed to float through chemotherapy. With her underlying medical conditions, she should have more trouble than me. But she didn’t.

And, as it was explained to me, this woman is not active like I am, is on oxygen and generally was not in good health before cancer having smoker her lifetime. For her, chemo may not have made as big a change in how she felt than in e.

And really, should this be a source of competition?

Yes, here I am 20 years younger, active, with my sense of humor and general craziness. Should  I really be competing with someone else’s chemo?

A few days after this treatment, I assume I will feel the exhaustion I had before. It doesn’t necessarily start on day 1 or 2.

I will use the expression that I’ve used before that was modified by  Food Network chef Paula Deen, who said about one of her incredibly high fat dishes. “It will knock your socks off clear into the washing machine.”

Perhaps after my fourth treatment, they’ll be knocked from the washer to the dryer and then nicely folded and returned to my drawer – without my husbands’s wonderful assistance. Of course, I think I could be dong more of that myself if it weren’t for my carefully-selected chemo brain symptoms.

My brain works well enough to write this blog, but now so well for household chores. Clearly I’m not as dumb as I look.


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