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!

Ouch!

So I spent the morning in the hospital having a test done. It wasn’t really as bad as I feared it would be, but I do rather feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach by a horse.

You see, one of the classic symptoms of CFIDS is enlarged lymph nodes. My doctor thought it was strange that I didn’t seem to have them – or so he thought. While doing a CAT scan to look at my enlarged liver and spleen (yeah, that’s another classic symptom) they found all the lymph nodes in my abdomen were inflamed and enlarged.

Unfortunately, as well as being a symptom of CFIDS, that can be the major indicator for lymphoma. So today I had a biopsy. At first look, they tell me they didn’t see anything scary, so we’ll just have to wait to next week to see if the lab reports come back clear.

In the mean time, I felt I needed a little extra comfort to get me through the day. I took along a small crocheted elephant that a friend made me, and I wore these:

My first ever crocheted socks! I finished them last night so that I would have them to wear to the hospital. The pattern is called “Fancy Cuffs” and can be found in “Crocheted Socks: 16 Fun-to-Stitch Patterns” by Janet Rehfeldt and Mary Jane Wood. I adapted the cuff on mine, but the main pattern is theirs.

If you are a crocheter, and have never tried socks, I can heartily recommend this book. These socks made up quickly (I figure about 8 hours all total) and fit like a dream. Crocheted socks do not stretch as much as knitted socks, so make sure you try them on before you’ve gone very far, just in case you need to rip out and re-size. The heel was a little tricky, but I got it on my third try, and the second sock went together like a piece of cake!

I’m sure I will be making more socks in the future (and they did bring me comfort today) as soon as I catch up on some other projects…

Make something to comfort someone you know. Whether it’s a shawl for someone who is grieving, a toy for a child (or adult) in the hospital, some cookies and tea, or some warm socks, nothing says comfort and love like home made.

Let’s go create something!