Facing Chemotherapy

I start chemotherapy this Monday, thirty-three hours from the current moment. I am scared and don’t know what to think. I think I am ready.

My chemotherapy will be intense, in that I will receive drugs via an IV, nine hours daily, for five consecutive days. On day six I will receive an antibiotic, which will take less than an hour. I then receive no drugs for two weeks, though it is my understanding that the drugs will continue to drip through my blood and veins, working their magic. I will repeat this cycle three more times, amounting to four three-week cycles for a grand total of 12 weeks of treatment.

I don’t know what to think, but I hope the chemo kills the tumor in my body, or the tumor will kill me. The thought of receiving forty-five hours of IV treatment in a five day span seems awful. I expect manageable nausea, hair and appetite loss, and fatigue. I hope for no peripheral neuropathy.

I still don’t know what to make of any of this. Twenty days ago I didn’t even know I had cancer. This is all a shock. Twelve weeks from now, assuming and hoping that treatment goes as planned, I expect to be a completely different person. I hope to be cancer free. I expect to see the light. I expect to see life completely differently than I ever have before.

I expect that I will begin adding value to virtues of life that I undervalued before. My wife and daughter will give me strength and inspiration. My parents and siblings, love and support. My friends will be in my corner.

I can’t honestly say I’m ready. I don’t know what I’m getting into. I was hooked up to a drip IV for three days once, though the attending medical team never figured what had caused my 104 degree temperature. It gave me cold night sweats and made me want to fall the second I stood up. But then the fever and the IV were gone, and I was better.

This feels different than that. This time I know my illness, as do the doctors. I know the symptoms, and I want them to go away. I don’t know the treatment. What will it do to me? I understand that the drugs I will receive are highly toxic. Typically I would never decide to consume anything more toxic than some liquor. Not that my decision to undergo chemo felt very conscious, in that my alternatives seemed limited and grim, but it was a choice.

I know of others who have been through this journey, and their treatment was successful. Still, I don’t know what to make of any of this–the diagnosis, the treatment, the potential outcomes. I don’t see reason, and where I don’t see reason, I feel out of control. I think and feel that it is such lack of control which makes this journey so frightening.

About Emerging Environments

Thoughts about environmental policy, sustainability, cancer, and more.
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1 Response to Facing Chemotherapy

  1. I think the lack of control is the worst. My thoughts are with you as you undertake this excruciating journey.

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