Saturday, August 18, 2007

Emerging for the last time


Friday's post-chemo have been my foggiest, fuzziest days on the last few treatments. The nebulousness slowly starts to clear at the weekend and doesn't really go properly until the middle of the following week. This is exacerbated by taking lorezepam to sleep at night, but then, it helps me sleep at night.

So today is Saturday and I can feel my head clearing slightly. The brain-sluggishness is easing. Over the last three days I've struggled to answer R with coherent sentences, let alone when I have to make the odd call for work or send an email - I'm crippled by dopey-headedness, the sheer inability to remember words or phrases or names, a paralysis of logical thought.

But it's clearing, and I know it's for the last time which is just a fantastic sensation. In fact, Chemo no Six has been so much easier than the last two (through which I struggled and vomited and grizzled) mainly because I Know It Is The Last Time.

It also helped that because I'd been sick on the last two, despite the upping of my steroids designed to stop this, my oncologist gave me some new wonder anti-emetic drug for this occasion. Called Emend, it's another steroid based drug and is apparently new onto the chemo market... You take one an hour before chemo, and then one more on the two consecutive mornings following treatment.

Well, it worked for me - I have not thrown up this time. I felt nauseous at the hospital but the domperidone I'd swallowed with breakfast, followed by the Emend an hour before chemo, coupled with the distractions of being measured up for radiotherapy and tattooed, meant the bile stayed down. But the increased fuzziness I've felt with with this treatment is probably a result of the additional steroids from the Emend. But hey, it's just this once... and it's virtually over now. Another two and half weeks and all the toxins will be gone from my system.

It might take the superficial symptoms a while to disappear (baldness etc) but my body is even starting on that. It seems the battle between my last chemo and my last remaining hair may have been decided already. I have the tiniest baby shadow of growth that is emerging on my scalp. It started a few days before the last chemo, when my scalp started hurting in a way which I haven't felt since my hair started falling out back in May, but sure enough, close inspection revealed very tiny soft hairs pushing their way through my scalp.

My oncologist acknowldged that sometimes hair regrowth starts before the treatment ends. Noone knows why. But she reckoned it would be unlikely to fall out at this stage and that this probably constitutes the beginnings of my new hair. It's so short noone else claims to be able to see it, but I know it's there, and more importantly, growing, so it makes me happy.

It was weird saying goodbye to my oncologist. I get to see her again in two months time, after the rads have finished, but otherwise that's probably it. I felt like I would miss her, at the same time as feeling huge relief to be saying goodbye to her for a significant period of time. I told her this, apologetically, as I was leaving her office.

"That's okay" she said, "A lot of people feel ambivalent about me".

What must that be like for her? A permanent love-hate relationship with all her clients.

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