The Night Before
How am I supposed to sleep the night before chemo? I don’t know that I should even try. I’m going to be sleeping the next four days straight, so why not stay up all night and enjoy this last bit of mental clarity while I have it. It took about a week and a half, but I finally regained the use of my brain and these last three days I have been back to almost normal. Physically I have not reached a point where I felt as good as I did before my first dose, but mentally I’m here and I’ve had three really enjoyable days. I’m hoping when I go in tomorrow I’ll be able to relay how miserable I’ve been and maybe there’s a chance for some small adjustments to my medications that might improve this next round.
I was told that I’d have a lot of energy the first two or three days and then I’d be really weak and tired after that. The opposite happened, so I’m thinking there’s definitely something wrong. I slept for four days, in a hot hot hot hot miserable sweat. I did not have a fever, but I did feel like I was on fire and I itched. The nausea wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had. I did not vomit or even really feel like I would. My appetite was low for the first week, and then higher than normal the second week.
Now chemo brain. Oh. My. God. Horrible. It feels a lot like how people have described to me what it’s like being on anti-depressants. They report that they feel like a zombie, not really here, and not really caring about doing anything. This is how I felt, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. My chemical makeup has always made me unusually and even inappropriately happy. Even when life is shit, I’ve still got a grin on my face. Not on chemo. I pulled out some paper to draw and I just stared at the paper. I didn’t want to draw. I didn’t want to not draw. I didn’t care if I ever drew again. I didn’t care if I ever made art again. I remember specifically thinking, “What reason do I have to make art?” and I had no answer. I wasn’t happy or sad. I was nothing. I had no motivation. I had no passion. That’s insane, I’m usually motivated and passionate. Everything that is me disappeared, and in it’s place was a lifeless zombie.
As I slowly regained my mind, it was painful to try to come up with words to communicate. I wanted Mark to make me some toast, and the best I could do was glare at him and angrily shout, “TOAST!” And this was after much effort at trying to remember what toast was called. After a few days of feeling like a toddler struggling for a way to communicate I slowly got my brain back. It was only three days ago that I finally was able to read and comprehend what I was reading. Today was a big deal, I drove for the first time since surgery. It was amazing! I wish I could do it more, but there’s no way I can drive as a zombie. Just riding in the car feels all wobbly and weird. At best I’ll probably be able to drive again in two weeks, and just for the couple of days of clarity I have. I’m excited to have those few days of freedom. I can’t wait for my next mini adventure in the car! Next time I’m going it alone, just because I can.
Thank you to those of you who comment and leave words of encouragement here on the blog. It makes my day to read your comments and know you care. This whole experiece has softened my heart. I used to be sensitive on the inside. Now I see this softness and kindness showing up more outwardly, and it’s all because of how much emotional support I’ve received from everyone. Knowing how much people care makes caring feel good. I find myself making conversation with strangers just so I can find a way to show them some kindness and make them feel as good as you have made me feel. It’s contagious. That little voice used to tell me I suck all the time and I would have arguments with it and insists I’m actually nice. Today I was at the store, talking to a stranger, and I heard the voice say, “you’re nice and people like you.” And I smiled. Good. We don’t have to argue any more. We can both agree I’m great.