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Chemo 55, 56, and 57.

March 12, 2013 6 comments

The lack of posting as the chemo clock ticks on reflects both the busyness in my life and the feeling that by round 57, there isn’t too much to add that is any different from the preceding 56 rounds.

To be fair though, there has definitely been a change of late in how I experience chemotherapy. The nausea has worsened; the threat of vomiting that little bit more present.

In round 56, shortly after I received my 5-fluoro-uracil bolus, I left the oncology department with the sensation of something welling up in my throat. The conveniently located garden only 20 metres from the exit served well as a liquid deposit of my gastric contents. Its hard to say why the nausea is getting worse, but a likely reason is revealed in the numbers at the top of this post.

There is no doubt that chemo has a cumulative toxic effect. Irinotecan itself, one of the chemo drugs, is notorious for being hepatotoxic. Often people don’t even tolerate two rounds, yet I have been blessed (or cursed) with the ability to tolerate 57. As I move steadily on in my forward chemo march, through uncharted territory that no previous oncology patient has seen, there is a sense of foreboding when the future reveals itself as more of the same. I distinctly recall at round 20 that I really didn’t believe I had it in me to make it to round 40, yet somehow through distinctly short odds, round 60 looms on the horizon.

Whilst there are many saving graces that I can list in my life, all of which that make the journey worthwhile, there is no doubt that this marathon of cytotoxicity requires perseverance. It requires persistence at focusing on what is good in my life, and a patient understanding that sometimes your own life is not the sole point of living. Somehow, in the midst of a fortnightly struggle with a toxic yet ironically therapeutic treatment, the perspective of the small things and the hope in the large things break through in a subtle way; enabling me with the strength to keep going. It is when I forget myself and see the bigger picture that perseverance some how expresses itself in my daily life.

I don’t have an explanation why this works… but it just does.

Until next time…

Categories: Blog, Cancer Update