Sunday, October 25, 2009

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Part III

I could feel the chemo drugs slipping into my arm, like a cold, wet weight. The feeling traveled down to my belly and grew. My months of nausea and diarrhea began then.

At my next treatment, the veins on my arm were still elusive. I decided to have a port placed in my chest. The port was inserted during a short outpatient surgery. Although I was given twilight sleep, I felt the implantation as a tugging and pushing. I was groggily aware of the whole thing. I was not happy. I was afraid of the port and somehow certain that the surgery had been improperly done. I wanted to stay overnight for observation but that was not permitted by this particular surgeon. I don’t know now if it would have helped me or not.

I again spent days clutching an ice pack to the new surgical site. I worried and obsessed over it. Although it was checked and found to be implanted properly, it took a couple of months for me to become comfortable with it.

If I had it to do over I would still choose the port. Chemotherapy was much easier using the port. Each visit required a blood test which was easily done by accessing the port and then leaving it in place for use during the chemotherapy infusion. No more worries about finding veins.

I vomited a few times during treatment but the real bane of my existence was the nausea and diarrhea. The horrid feeling that any moment I could vomit was unrelenting. The diarrhea was persistent. I worked fulltime for 90% of my treatment and making it to the bathroom without embarrassment was an hourly trial. My oncologist gave me all the medications possible to mitigate the symptoms and for that I am very grateful. I cannot imagine the dire straits I would have been in without her help.

What came next was chemo brain…

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