Sunday, July 31, 2011

Making a list, checking it twice

It seems odd to say that I am experienced at this. It all feels eerily familiar, like deja vu that really isn't deja vu at all.

The chemo hasn't started yet (and wont for at least a week, I figure) but I have benefited from what I learned before. I'm assuming (perhaps erroneously) that it will be the same chemo drugs and thus will affect me in about the same way. My appetite was unreliable and certain things turned my stomach where other things tasted really good. I was sensitive to strong dyes and perfumes, but found that "natural" essential oils and such were fine, whereas artificial chemical-y scents (like conventional scented laundry soap) made me occasionally nauseous. I also learned the importance of vitamins.

Based on this—and more—that I have learned, I have been in preparation mode for the last few days. I cleaned out my fridge yesterday and have been washing everything I can think of -- blankets, dog beds, etc. Today I went shopping and spent a whopping $165 at the co-op on vitamins, etc. Last time around, organic food and vegetables are the only thing I could eat -- in everything else I could smell the chemicals. In that way, the cancer does give me unreliable super-powers, I have a glimmering of an idea of how sensitive a dog's sense of smell is.

It feels a little like packing for a trip. There is none of the excitement, but the same sense of anxiety that one gets, worrying whether they've remembered everything. Luckily, I have at least a week, but I'm starting to plan and act as if I'm on it already: I need to avoid sick people (the chemo drugs knock down a person's immune system) and plan ahead for things that I won't have the energy to take care of . I am a poor sickie, and tend to resent he need for care, so I am doing as much of the prep work as I can. Already, alcohol and meat don't sound good anymore.

Kaia (my 11 year old retired racing greyhound) is worried. Honestly, I think I have known that the cancer was back for a month or two. Kaia has been licking my hands, which she really hasn't done since I went through chemo before. Dogs can tell. She was a trooper before: extremely patient while I was going through the cycles. At the end, when I started to feel better, she expected (and deserved) more walks. Like all dogs, she is content to be with her owner/guardian no matter what, and in some ways that made me very sad, last time. Maybe its her mothering experience—she had 3 litters, 11 pups total, after she retired from racing. But last time around, I felt a swing from me taking care of her to her taking care of me. She stayed extra close, keeping a watchful eye. I wonder if I could get her officially registered as a service dog. If people can have "diabetes dogs", then I should get to have a "chemo dog".


Anonymous said...

I should say something here along the lines of how proud I am to be your father, which I am. But I'll also pass long something I saw today that is bound to buoy up anybody's spirits. I was in the car, stopped at a light. Facing me was a guy on a motorcycle with a sidecar. When he turned, I saw that he had his girlfriend up behind him on the seat, and in the sidecar was a Great Dane, wearing dark glasses and looking alertly ahead. Really made my day.


John Slade said...

Good dog! She's there for ya! And you'll be able to walk her with the cane if it ends up that way.

Like a trip you don't want to go on... good one...

Deborah in MN said...

You inspire me in my own health journey. I've watched you face this horror with grace and determination. I applaud you for taking the initiative to take of yourself and not getting paralyzed by fear or self-pity. I'm praying for your healing and many from my church are also.

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