The Cancer Chronicles #1: Goddamned Fucking Fatigue

It’s been about two years since I’ve received my last chemo treatment, but the hits just keep on comin’! Two brutal winters, two gloriously hot, hot, hot summers, fevers, anemia, iron infusions, pneumonia, remission, stage 1, bone marrow tests, PET Scans, remission, fevers, stage 1, B Cells, post chemo hair loss, fatigue, fatigue, fatigue.

When I say that i’m tired, I don’t mean that I didn’t sleep well last night. It means that I’m tired. Goddamned fucking town to the marrow in my bones tired. Exhaustion. Sleep does not elude me. I can sleep for days.

Really.

Days.

Having an almost seven year old darling girl is hard. I want to have energy for her. I want to want to play dolls. I play dolls and all I think about is my big comfy bed in the next room. I look at the clock over and over and over again. I hired a “Mommy’s Helper”. A cute nineteen year old girl who probably spends her cash earned on bags of pot and pregnancy tests, but she’s good. She’s reliable and my girl loves her. A lot. So much, in fact, that I’ve been getting jealous.

Which brings me to today. The school’s annual “Boo-Bash.” A big ol’ Halloween party to generate tons of cash for all of the luxuries that other New York City public schools just don’t have. Chess lessons, a fully updated and beautiful computer lab, yoga,  tennis, classroom libraries. Good shit. My friends’ kids don’t go to schools with all of these extra goodies. So, this school is constantly throwing parties, auctions, bake sales, flower sales, and of course asking for good ol’ fashioned cash in an envelope.

Back to the Boo Bash. My Mommy’s Helper offered to take my girl, but I declined her offer. I need to do Mommy stuff with her before she’s screaming “Fuck You!” at me before slamming her door. I don’t want to go. I’m fucking dreading it. I want to curl up in my bed and doze off until bedtime. My daughter is running around in her Cheerleading costume. The bash doesn’t start until 5 PM and I already feel like it’s midnight. I’ve called my oncologist three times in the past couple of weeks because of this paralyzing fatigue and he tells me I need a PET scan.

Sigh.

At least I can catch a nap on the subway ride there.

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Beg. Borrow. Steal.

I haven’t been well these past couple of weeks. Raging fevers and general malaise prompted my oncologist to prescribe me 20 mg of prednisone a day and strict bed rest. I didn’t even get bed rest when my ob-gyn thought … Continue reading

War Wounds. August 15, 2013.

I look like a junkie. Tattoos and track marks aren’t exactly a pristine first impression. Fuck everyone. I have cancer.

I went to battle against my cancer yesterday. First, I was denied the right to eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the procedure. I had a plate of linguine with bolognese sauce at 10:30 PM the night before. The ultimate punishment was the denial of my morning coffee. I can’t remember the last time I went without a cup of morning coffee. It was probably the night I spent in jail.

The next morning. Rise and shine. A quick visit to my daughter’s last day of school party and then the drive from Park Slope to Kew Gardens. Navigation systems are dumb. They send you around in circles. I arrived at the imaging center. Short wait to be called, five hours of procedure. An IV filled with radioactive fluid injected into my left arm for an hour. Waiting. Freezing. Then one hour in a contraption with an uncanny resemblance to a rocket ship. They strapped me down so I couldn’t move while pictures were taken of my entire insides. If the cancer has spread or if there is any cancer at all, it will light up like a Christmas tree on the disc they’re sending my doctor.

It was already 3:00 PM. I had an appointment with my Oncologist to discuss this Cytoxan he wants to start me on. I went armed with a list of questions and another list of the information I needed to get a second opinion at Sloan Kettering. I AM NOT LOSING MY HAIR. More needles. Short wait. Then a discussion with my doctor. I told him I didn’t understand why he was suddenly going to put me on this additional treatment when just last month he told me the cancer was practically undetectable from my blood work. He told me it was because I was still experiencing the “B” symptoms of my cancer (night sweats, fatigue, loss of appetite, fevers.) I told him that they come and go and reminded him that he also told me that they would fluctuate. Our conversation ended with this compromise: I will keep the appointment for the Cytoxan for September 12 for now. He will review the PET scan results when he receives the results, he will advise me of his treatment plan. I slipped the list of information I needed for the second opinion at Sloan Kettering back into my bag.

I just wanted to go home.

This cancer is a war. Me against the cells.

I’m going to win.

And the next time I get stuck with a needle, I want it filled with ink and leave a permanent image.

I miss getting tattooed.