refashionista first chemo treatment
Ovarian Cancer & Me,  Life

My First Chemotherapy Treatment

No-Sew Dress to Reverse Triangle Bottom Shirt
How to Add Pockets to a Dress & an Update

As you’ve probably guessed by the absence of any sewing or refashioning-related verbiage in this blog post’s title, I’m not sharing a refashion today.

Always good to set expectations, I say.

Moving forward, I’m going to try to keep posts related to my slog with Ovarian Cancer separate from my sewing/thrifting/fun posts. Because nothing reads weirder than, How to Add a Peter Pan Collar to a Dress & Some Cancer Stuff Too!

Don’t worry. You’ll get a refashion next time.

Getting Ready

Last week was a quiet & stoic march towards Thursday morning, wherein I would receive a Carboplatin/Taxol cocktail via IV for six hours. I tried not to think about how bad I was going to feel while preparing for how bad I was going to feel, which is challenging.

The fridge was stocked with healthful foods and all the ginger things to combat future nausea. I went wig shopping. I bought new makeup that is said to hide a sallow patchy complexion. Prescriptions were filled and placed in a giant plastic organizer.

The day before treatment, I went to a friend to chop off my hair.

refashionista short haircut
New hair. Who dis?

Hair loss is the least worrisome part of all of this, friends. I think my new (albeit temporary until my hair falls out) cut is really cute. Months ago, I had planned on growing my hair out long, but that’s obviously not happening.

Best to find tolerable ways to let go of what can’t be kept, right?

My First Chemo Treatment

The oncology center where I’ll receive my treatments is about a mile away from my house. Convenient, eh?

For my first treatment, Brian was allowed to stay with me, but I’ll have to be alone for all future infusions (due to COVID). I was scared about the very real possibility of my body rejecting the drugs and having a reaction. I was scared about feeling sick immediately while getting treatment (I have a very sensitive stomach). Luckily neither of those things happened.

refashionista getting chemo
Just here for the free coffee!

As I watched fluid after fluid and drug after drug drip. drip. drip, I felt relieved that at least now I was in this, as in actually doing something rather than waiting.

Of course, every drip also signified a little more of my energy and health being taken away. I liken it to the scenes in The Dark Crystal where the Podlings get drained of their essence by The Skeksis.

My First Chemotherapy Treatment 3
It me.

Eight hours (!!!) after my treatment began, it was done.

I didn’t feel sick. I didn’t feel achy. I didn’t feel bad exactly, but I didn’t feel good. I wrote my last blog post while getting my chemo drugs, and noticed how spaced-out and heavy-headed I felt. My brain felt tingly…like my synapses were firing at all the wrong times.

For the next three days, I didn’t feel all that terrible. I had a tough time remembering things (like to turn on the stove after I put a kettle of water for coffee on it) and was really tired. But I managed to go plant shopping and take short walks with Mr. Refashionista, and other than needing to go to bed early felt like this was something I could handle. There was some bone pain, and I felt uncomfortable, but nothing unmanageable.

On the fourth day, I couldn’t move.

It wasn’t that I didn’t feel like moving or that I was too tired to move. Moving from the bed was impossible. If my house suddenly went ablaze, I would just be trapped there. Everything in my body ached. My hands shook and had trouble grasping things. I couldn’t remember if a conversation I had with Mr. Refashionista just moments before actually happened.

Later that afternoon, I managed to get out of bed and tried to play a board game with Mr. Refashionista, and my brain just would not remember the (quite simple) rules. I cried in frustration. I can take feeling exhausted. I can take physical pain, but no longer having control of my brain made me feel like I was losing my essence (see previous Podling reference).

Trying to find ease in a situation that is extremely uneasy

This brings us to today.

I’m feeling a good bit better than yesterday. Less heavy-headed, and only a little achy. The worst part of my first chemo treatment is (supposedly) over, and my body is going to get a break to heal and recover before it gets pummeled by its next treatment.

I have five more treatments to go, and I’ve been warned that they each get harder and harder.

Part of me says, “I don’t know that I have five more of these in me,” and another part of me says, “Anything is bearable five times.”

Much like with my hair, I’m trying to accept the things I just don’t get to have right now. My health and mental acuity are being taken away, and there’s not much I can do about that.

Instead, I’m focusing on how to adapt. When I’m feeling foggy, what tasks can I batch (rather than failing miserably at multitasking)? When do naps seem to do the most good? When do I seem to have the most energy for things I enjoy? I’m documenting all of this in a journal so I can look back and reference it as my treatment progresses.

Of course, I’m eating healthy and drinking TONS of water too.

None of this would be possible without the amazing support system I’m so freaking lucky to have. From my amazing husband (who probably wasn’t thinking this is what our first year of marriage would look like), to our wonderful family, friends (I count you as one. I hope that’s okay), and neighbors, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.

One down. Five to go.

Oof.

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