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  • Writer's pictureAja McDonald

Week 1

One week since chemo started. It was a very surreal day, looking back. Mentally I was calm and focused, ready to do what had to be done; but physically I was detached. The nurses would check on me and I would answer with calm and confident words. But my body showed different signs, as if it had a mind of its own. High resting heart rate. A bit of electric sensation tingling throughout my limbs. I found amusement in this and just went with everything as it came.

They plugged me in and I was on my way. The first part was this red liquid that I kept relating to a “juice box” and imagined that sweet goodness of a nice Hawaiian Punch promoted in the early 90s.

I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. I just relaxed, watched the nurses do their work flawlessly, ate a delicious meal, caught Pokemon and observed my husband bond and talk to another husband while their wives had their chemo sessions. It was actually really peaceful and I was so happy to finally be getting this started so I can count down the days/weeks/months until I can move on to what comes next.

We finished up with an injection in my stomach to sort out my hormones. Not only have I had a breast removed with chemotherapy to make sure I have rid of any cancer, but I am also having to shut my hormones down so they don’t ruin the party. Anyone around me over the next 20 weeks is going to be in for a wild ride!

My chemo and view

Chemo port connection

Casually enjoying catching Pokémon while my husband bonds with another husband

After day one, the next few days were actually not bad. I had experienced a headache and fatigue right away, but that’s something my unresolved neck injury has been training me on anyways. As I waited to notice any differences in my body as time passed, the only thing that was obvious was my fatigue. I mean, I am still healing an area of my body that was removed… so that’s going to be a thing, right?

On day three, my husband and I went to the library so he could get a new card. I wasn’t sure how it would go for me but I was determined to find out. I didn’t want to continue feeling like a sloth laying around, I’ve been a good girl resting to heal a surgical procedure. I’ve never been so patient for any healing process before (I usually do everything required of me but rest), I was due for a get out!

Luckily we stopped at Subway first and had lunch. My gods, am I obsessed with the Veggie Delight with Avo or what? And that tasty footlong is just what I needed to fuel my body and prepare for what was about to come. Once at the library, I managed to sit with Phil while he got his new library card and then proceed to go to the creative section on the first floor. Once I found my books I had to immediately sit down. I had growing concern about my resting heart rate. It was like I was hosting a rave in my chest and I wasn’t invited.

With the power of my nifty Apple Watch, I checked my resting heart rate and sure enough, it was a touch high. Like 141 high. I took an ECG off the watch, sent it to Phil and then contacted my nurses so they could assess the situation. Luckily, I had the control by stopping with the results of slowing down that heart rate. And so we went home where I continued to keep notes and an eye on my symptoms.

I realised I was feeling great and probably did a bit too much the first couple days of chemo, unaware that some of the medication they had me take over the first four days were steroids (it all becomes a blur when there are so many things prescribed). Day 5 hit and I was unable to do anything without either getting grumpy or feeling a slight ache in my back. The fatigue was growing. My nurse said to expect fatigue day 5-7 as I was now off steroids. So I immediately came up with a plan to not do shit or go anywhere out of the house during that time. I was going to rest and not let my body do more than it needed.

Since day 7, I have been having a bit of an upset stomach. At first, I really didn’t know if it had anything to do with chemo or the fact that I ate some BBQ Shapes and maybe that wasn’t the best idea since I’ve been eating pretty healthy and haven’t lost my appetite. I think it was a bit of both. If anything, I just crave that delicious Veggie Delight with Avo more these days!

I’m just happy that I caught onto myself fast enough to accept that my mission right now had to be either spend time in bed or on the couch. It seems I cannot handle adrenaline rushes or high stimulation without a feeling of scattered mixed thoughts and forgetfulness. I also feel I have no filter at the moment and for once have been just speaking my mind without concern on how someone will view me. This is a good thing, and a part of me I have held on a tight leash for some time, but…. a few email recipients and a couple people on the other end of a phone conversation may or may not have dealt with the side of me that doesn’t take shit and has no fucks left to give.

Yesterday, I started some physio for the first time and it was really nice to get verification on how my surgical area was healing and the new challenges I had been facing with healing a wound like this. It was so good to have some sort of feeling of accomplishment after laying in bed for several days.

As for the remainder of time between my first chemo installation and my next, I am happy to know I am starting to keep track of my symptoms, days and goals and just let each day pass knowing that there is the other side I’m closer to reaching. I’m excited to see the person I turn out to be through this metamorphosis.

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