Side effects du jour…

Cancer treatments are weird and unpredictable.

One week, I sail through the infusion with no problems – in and out in 6 hours. Another week, I have 3 separate allergic reactions and wind up sitting there for 10 hours. Same drugs, same dosage.

One month, the pills I take give me a rash. The next month, the rash goes away but I’m plagued with nausea and intestinal issues. My eyes turn bright red, then they clear up but my vision goes blurry.

The only constant is the fatigue – the overwhelming, ever-present fatigue. We’re not just talking about being tired. We’re talking about waking up in the morning so tired that getting out of bed requires you to stop and take a break. Recovering from a shower can take a couple of hours. Fixing a meal, doing the laundry, running errands – probably not going to happen at all.

And then there’s that wonderful break – once a month I get a week where I take no drugs at all. The first part of that week, the drugs are still in my system, but by the weekend I usually feel pretty good! I can run errands, joke with my family, make dinner, fold my laundry – all the things I used to take for granted.

Then Sunday evening rolls around and I face the fact that I start treatment again tomorrow. Back to the hospital for another infusion. Tuesday I start the pills again. Off on another round. Maybe this time I won’t be so exhausted? Maybe this time my stomach will behave? Maybe this month it will all be different than what it has been… I can probably count on that.

The treatments are working! My scans are good, my blood tests are good, and the treatments are going to give me a better quality of life (we hope) when they are all done. I’ve reached the halfway point – three months gone, three months to go. I know I can make it through this. I have a wonderful, supportive family to help me. But sometimes I sure get tired of being tired.

Gratitude –
cancer treatments that work
my wonderful nurses and doctors who listen to me
my darling husband who takes such good care of me
animals in the house that make me laugh and give me a reason to get out of bed
my close vision is clear so that I can still read, sew, and knit
my online friends who provide me with information and inspiration
my stash of fabric and yarn that ensures I NEVER run out of projects
all of you for reading my blog

Let’s go create something!

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Well, ain’t that a kick in the pants…

It has been my experience that, when I make plans, life changes abruptly. Or, when I think I have “it” all figured out, something happens to prove me wrong.

This was one of those weeks.

As you recall, I went in for a biopsy last week. Now I knew it wasn’t cancer. After all, one of the symptoms of CFIDS is enlarged lymph nodes.

I spoke too soon. I have follicular lymphoma. Now let me just say this… hearing that you have cancer SUCKS! It’s not even a little bit good. No matter what they tell you about your particular cancer (and they will tell you more than you probably want to know) the bottom line is that it SUCKS!

That being said, this is one of the easier cancers to have. Apparently it is very slow-growing and very treatable, although not curable. The average life span is years to decades rather than days to weeks, so we are grateful for that. I’m undergoing more tests and more blood work and more everything… there are still questions to be answered. But it looks like I’ll be starting chemo in the not-too-distant future. This was NOT how I planned to spend my holidays.

They tell me chemo can take hours each time you get it. Hours. In a chair. With nothing to do but sit… hmmm… Crafts to the rescue once again! I shall crochet my way through chemo and have something to show for it when I’m done! What shall I crochet? Well, I have a baby blanket (yes, another one) that I’m working on and a Christmas gift or two… but the whole thing got me thinking…

If I’m going to lose my hair during the winter, I’m going to want a hat or twelve to cover my head! In every color. I never could get the hang of wearing a head scarf, but I look pretty good in hats with a small brim. Surely I can come up with something!

So off I went to Ravelry. You remember Ravelry, don’t you? The online resource for all things yarn? Well, there are a wealth of hat patterns available there. Many of them are free! One of my favorites (and the first one I’m making) is the Cuss Hat by Emily Matisz (This is her blog.) It will cover my ears and fully expresses just how I feel about chemo and cancer.

I also did a quick internet search and turned up free patterns to sew caps from polar fleece. These patterns are EASY!!! Even a novice sewer can make a chemo cap!

So I challenge you – it seems like we all know someone these days who is going through chemo, so let’s all make chemo caps! If you don’t know anyone who needs a chemo cap, get down on your knees and be grateful, and then take the chemo caps to your local hospital or oncologist office. I can guarantee there are people in your community who would be comforted by a home made SOFT cap.

Let’s go create something! (like chemo caps!)