I first have to say thanks again to all who are supporting and following me, it means a lot! The “Team RB” thing is really awesome and it’s great to see the love from family and friends. If you want to find out more or buy one of the awesome T-shirts you can find the group facebook page (just search for “Team RB” I believe) or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – and thanks again to all who are already “part of the Team!” I also created a page on this website where I’d eventually like to put photos of all of you wearing the shirts. My aunt, cousins and sister were thoughtful enough to put this all together so I wanted to help them promote the concept.
As far as the blog goes, I feel like I have let some of you down by not posting for quite some time. I don’t have a great reason why… the truth is, I feel like I’ve been stuck on repeat here for the last 4 rounds of chemo. Let me tell you why that’s both good and bad.
First, the good. My side effects are, for the most part, both repeatable and very predictable. It’s crazy. I know that day I come home from John Stoddard Cancer Center I will feel like total crap. The cold sensitivity hits right away, still both in my throat (drinking and breathing) and my extremities (mostly fingers). The nausea lasts for a week to ten days, and I get headaches fairly often the first week or so. While this might sound terrible, the good part is that its predictable and I can do some things to mitigate the side effects.
For one, staying inside. I’ve spent A LOT of time in my office this winter, working on my consulting business, reading, learning. I even did yoga every single morning for the month of January. I’ve had some great opportunities open up this winter and I’ve been published in a nationally circulated farm magazine, as well as contracted to speak in a series of farm seminars across the country, which is very exciting! This helps keep me busy while staying inside so much, and keeps my mind busy.
Two, drinking hot water for the first few days, then slowly approaching room temperature until Day 11. For some reason, each time on Day 11 I can start to drink cold water again, even eat Clone Cones at Hilton once in a while!
Three, I have meds to deal with the nausea. It helps control the general, come from out of nowhere nausea, for the most part. While I might spend a lot of time gagging, I have never once thrown up and I think that’s a great thing.
The bad? I guess a couple things. It seems like the finger neuropathy, nausea, and headaches are getting worse each time. There was a period of time during rounds 4 and 5 where I developed large blood blisters on my feet and toes, and thought my toenails were going to fall off. It became very painful to walk for a few days. I was starting to lose my fingerprints and my hands and feet were both pretty sore, dry, and raw. My doc gave me a slight reduction in the pill dosage, and it seems to be a little better since then.
I have developed a very sensitive nose, and not the good kind like bird hunting. I have come to associate certain scents with being sick and smelling them now makes me literally gag. Hand sanitizer, certain soaps, some air fresheners, heparin and saline, even a couple foods do this. It is bizarre.
I hate to admit it but it’s been tough to stay strong mentally at times. (Six months is a long time!) I kind of have a Jekyll and Hyde thing going on, the first half of each round really hammers me but the second half is usually good! The hardest is chemo day, I go from feeling the best I’ve felt since September to my absolute worst in a period of a few hours. Only two left!!!
Overall, I continue to feel blessed for many reasons and they all outweigh any negatives described above. I know many of you have been asking how things are going, so I wanted to give a quick update and let you know I’m still hanging in there!