Last Friday I completed my first of four etoposide and cisplatin (chemotherapy) rounds*. The only positive that I can identify is the time I spent with family and friends accompanying me to treatment. Otherwise I have nothing positive to say. It would be false to say that I am glad round one is complete because my fear of round two lurks.
Since I completed round one four days ago my fatigue has subsided, but it persists. I can’t do much of anything–the fatigue makes me helpless, or at least feel helpless. Today I lost my strength walking through the supermarket. It was too much. Safeway got the best of me as I clutched the shopping cart to hold myself–an act which resonated strongly with my typical run-through-the store-with-a-basket experience of my healthier days.
I don’t help prepare dinner and I don’t help clean up. My mom helps me. My dad helps me. My wife helps me. I think that my six-month old would help me if she could (sometimes I think she knows that I miss her).
I sleep or lay in bed until I get tired and nauseous of the still scenery. Then I plan my relocation to the sofa, where I sleep or lay some more.
The fatigue is underlying; it is my backbone, the washboard for my metaphysical state.
A hard cough from two broncoscopies, a mediastinal tumor, and incessant wheezing has strained a muscle in my right pectoral. The strain is excruciating but comes and goes, unlike the fatigue.
Lack of balance reminds me that I am tired and shouldn’t be walking.
Lower back pain is concentrated, but the fatigue is general.
I’m fatigued, almost to the point that I feel I am fatigue. Righteously, I am fatigue. The chemo is killing a part of me. I am entitled to be tired. I need to be tired. I need the cancer within me to die, and in order for it do so the rest of me must suffer. Therefore my fatigue is a good thing, a positive side effect, and a sign that my chemotherapy is working, and so I shall embrace it.
*One round consists of five days of chemotherapy treatment. Etoposide and cisplatin are administered on days one, two, three, four, and five. Each day involves an average of six hours of intravenous therapy, also known as drip.