The last three days have been chemo-filled. In transplant language they account for days -6, -5 and -4 as I work my way closer to day zero, or transplant day. I’ve received the same regimen of chemo around the clock with alternating drugs of Cytarabine and Etoposide. Essentially, I’m almost always hooked up to a pole with chemo attached.
I plan my walk down the hallway and my shower in the brief window where I am not attached to a chemotherapy drug. I’m on a steady mouth/oral hygiene regimen of a salt and saline rinse and tablets that dissolve on your tongue to kill bacteria. And lest I forget, I also have morning and evening pills of anti nausea, anti bacteria, anti fungal and antacids. I’m a walking pharmacopeia!
Tomorrow brings one more addition to the party — the rATG. Rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin (rATG) is a preparation of purified, pasteurized, gamma immune globulin obtained by the immunization of rabbits with human thymocytes, with T-cell depleting and immunosuppressive activities. (Yes, I copied that sentence from a chemo/medical website.) I will be pre-medicated with steroids and Benadryl before receiving the rATG. Patients tend to get the shakes and fevers. We shall see how I respond.
I’ve been able to hold my nausea at bay with the many anti nausea medications and I’ve maintained a good appetite. Unfortunately, everything tastes off. I was warned this would happen. Food, drinks and even water taste different so what you think you’re craving doesn’t always end up hitting the spot. It’s quite odd.
Yesterday and today I felt heavy… like I was velcroed to my bed. The lethargy was so intense that I dozed in and out of consciousness and had to force myself to move. All of this is expected. But in the midst of it I find myself wondering how long each stage will take. I try and focus a few weeks out rather than on how I’m doing that minute. Everything I’m experiencing is temporary and a means to a, hopefully bright and wonderful, end.
I have a bulletin board in my room. I saved all the wonderful cards I received from friends and family in the past few weeks. They are tacked up directly in front of my bed and I see them all day. Your thoughtful gestures, funny cards and kind words are a daily reminder of the support I have, both near and far.
The next few days are going to be rough. If you’re reading this, send a girl some positive thoughts, prayers or pagan rituals of health and healing. All religious thoughts or universal tiding of well being welcome.