Sunday, May 28, 2017

No Mo' Chemo

On Thursday, May 25, 2017, at 8:27 pm, I took three pills. They were my last dose of chemo, hopefully forever.

Earlier that day, I texted Kevin and asked him who was picking up the celebratory ice cream cake. He said he would, so I went home after getting Finn and started preparing a fancy dinner, steak au poivre with cauliflower au gratin and green beans (it wasn't difficult, thanks to Home Chef!).

We waited for cake until Finn was asleep, because we're selfish and didn't want to share it was already late, and I had a beer to go along with the cake. Of course I used my Iocaine Powder pint glass. My chemo doesn't dissolve instantly in liquid, but it's still a poison. Kevin told me the Baskin Robbins staff was a bit taken aback when they asked what he wanted the cake to say. He had to assure them the cake was a good thing (it was all ice cream: mint chocolate chip and chocolate chip. How could it not be a good thing?).

The last time I finished chemo, last August, was less of a relief. It's when my anxiety really kicked in, as it was the end of active treatment for a month or more. I've been looking forward to the end of this one. I had a lot of side effects from the capecitabine, enough that my oncologist reduced my dose after the fourth cycle. Indigestion, nearly constant nausea, and hand and foot syndrome (erythrodysesthesia) were the biggest side effects for me. The hand and foot syndrome was the one that gave me the most trouble, to the point where I couldn't walk by day ten or so of each cycle. Once I started the lower dose, it improved significantly. My hands and feet are still blistery, cracked, and peeling, but the associated pain is much more tolerable. I hardly had any nausea for the last two cycles either, and I'm almost back to being able to eat normally again.

I'm glad to be done. I'm still a little uneasy about it though. I wonder when...if...the fear of recurrence will begin to ease. I heard about another trial I may be eligible for that is immunology based. I've requested more information about it and will learn more at my next oncology appointment in a few weeks.

Oh, that's another thing. I don't have to go to the hospital for blood work every three weeks and then back the next day to see my oncologist. I deleted my phone alarms to remind me it's "Chemo Time". I didn't have to wake up early this weekend to eat and then wait half an hour to take the pills. I haven't been nauseous in three days. I won't get another box from the specialty pharmacy with the pills in biohazard bags. I won't have anymore chemo co-pays. Soon, my skin will begin to heal and I won't have to sleep in lotion gloves and socks. Maybe Kevin will stop saying "Pizza Time" in the creepy voice from the Little Caesar's commercial (see Chemo Time link above). Maybe.

I waited until Kevin had proofread for me to mention that hopefully he won't remember that once my counts recover I *could* potentially maybe-if-I-had-to start scooping the stupid cat boxes again. Don't tell him.

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