Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Letter From Post-Chemo Nichelle to Pre-Chemo Nichelle

Dear Pre-Chemo Nichelle-

    I know that you are tired of chemo.  Having to go have a PICC line placed at Lourdes days before the first round of Rituxan.  Taking 1-2 days off of work.  Driving almost 4 hours over the pass just to go sit alone in a hospital room hooked up to an IV for 7 hours.  The stupid steroids (pre-meds) make you edgy and snappy towards everyone.  You're technically considered being at an appointment so you can't order food and are stuck with whatever you grab on your way out the door (typically some super healthy, low calorie, carb free, protein packed granola bar from Mom's pantry).  There's no walking around except to the bathroom and back because the med is frightening and you sporadically have reactions.  If you end up with a nurse you haven't had before he/she almost always thinks they're the special one who will be able to push the rate up to 400mL without a reaction occurring when you know your max rate is 350mL.  You'll get stuck in rush hour traffic and it will take you an hour and a half to drive the typically ten minute drive back to Mom's.  After dinner with Mom and Rick you'll drive the 4 hours back over the pass home, arriving around midnight as you can't leave until after the rock blasting or you'll get stuck sitting on the highway for an hour.

   You'll spend the next two weeks having hot flashes and sporadic roid rage while fighting crazy exhaustion and trying to keep your PICC line properly dressed and infection free.  Then, at that two week mark, you'll get to do it all over again to finish out the 'round' of treatment.  I know that this whole thing isn't a walk in the park, but it actually is immensely helpful.

Right now you're dragging 24/7.  You are absolutely exhausted all the time.  You can't get enough caffeine.  You have to sit down about half a dozen times per shower followed by at least twenty minutes of recovery post shower in order to prevent passing out.  You're frequently dizzy and light headed.  You want to fall asleep by 8pm every night.  I know you can't remember right now what it feels like to have energy and physical drive and simply feel normal, but that's how you feel about two weeks after the last session in each round of your chemo.  You can take an entire shower standing up.  You can take Buddy on walks and chase children.  You easily hit your Fit Bit goal every single day.  You are productive and can multi-task like crazy.  You almost feel healthy again.

I know that you're not excited about the upcoming few weeks and you're just so tired of it all, but it will help you so much and it will really put the pep back in your step.  You'll have more energy than you remember having in months.  Look at it as a fun road trip, get a slice of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory, buy a new Coach purse from the outlet, spend the drives practicing your mad rapping skills with your BFF Luda, and go get your life saving elixir at your second home, Virginia Mason.


Post-Chemo Nichelle

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