Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chemo Update

My mom had her 3rd of four chemo treatments on June 9th. Her last treatment will be next Wednesday, and I cannot wait until this whole thing is over. (She feels the same, just a whole lot more!)

Chemo hasn't been as hard on her as I thought it would be, but I thought it would be a nightmare, so that's not saying much. In my mind, one of the worst things would be the endless vomiting. Surprisingly, that's the one aspect that they can treat pretty well with medication. What I didn't realize was just how much it would wipe her out. Two weeks after her last round, just walking down the hall of her building to drop her trash exhausts her. She did manage to go out to lunch with Michael and I the other day, but that was pretty much the whole day for her. At this point, being able to keep up with the dishes is a big accomplishment.

In addition to the sheer exhaustion, are all the small insults. Chemo can cause mouth sores, and my mom had one for a week that was an endless source of torment. Every time she'd try to eat, she would end up biting it once again. A constant painful reminder.

Another weird side effect was that her hands started to look sunburned. Since she hadn't been outside in a week, she knew that couldn't be it. After several days, the skin on her hands started itching and peeling. That lead her to call the doctor's office. The nurses reassured her that hot, peeling hands are normal.

Not any kind of normal I'd like, that's for sure.

Then, add in the neuropathy. At times, her hands go numb. Probably better than burning and itching, but it sure makes it hard to pick things up. At other times, especially when she's laying in bed trying to fall asleep, her hands tingle with the pins and needles feeling. I don't even have words for how much that sucks.

And of course, the most visible of all the side effects. The hair loss. Before my mom lost her hair, she said she wouldn't mind losing it. And, I don't think she did. She doesn't mind not having hair. However, what she does mind is going out in public where everyone can readily see that she's a cancer patient. She does not want people feeling sorry for her, so she simply stopped going out. And it made her very depressed for several weeks after her 2nd round.

Guys, this just tears me apart. It's so hard to stand by and watch as the treatment that is her best bet, makes her suffer. I hate it. HATE IT. And, I wish so badly that it were over and that she would at least be on the mend. But, she has one more round before she can finally start to recover. Even with an end in sight, it's hard to stomach.


LauraC said...

I am really sorry to hear this news. I am so glad it is over soon.

JenFen said...

Hugs Joanna. I know how hard it is to watch our loved ones suffer. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel - she is almost done and it wasn't as bad as you were expecting. Good motto is expect the worst and hope for the best. You are such a wonderful and supportive daughter and I am sure your mom appreciates all that you have done for her. I have so much respect for both of you for staying as strong as possible during this time.

Mel said...

Hugs. So glad the end is in sight, but I know it does not make it any easier to endure. I hope this chemo is kicking the cancer's butt! Let your mom know that your blog buddies are pulling for her.

Karen said...

I don't think anyone thinks about having to care for their parents when they are sick and that makes it suck even more. I am so glad to hear that the treatments are almost over. Your mom is lucky to have you!

Beth said...

Your poor mom. The whole situation just sucks . . . well, you know what it sucks. Hugs to you and your mom. She'll get through this and you'll both be glad when it's over--glad that it's over, and glad that she went through it. Is there anything special she wants to do once she is back to feeling good again? Anything on a bucket list? It sounds so lame, but hang in there.

Angela said...

Hugs. My friend Shelah is going through something very similar, her mom was diagnosed w Stage 4 colon cancer . . . and lmk if you want me to put you in touch with her just to have someone to talk to who's going through the same junk. Big hugs.