The Good Fight – Part 8
AC Treatment Cycles 1&2
I did not know what to expect for chemotherapy. I did not want to check or read up too much either. The internet has a subtle way of pushing horror stories. I wanted to guard my heart and mind jealously.
March 6, 2017 was my first of eight chemotherapy treatments. I remember waking up and trying to get it together. The kids woke up and my husband and I tried to get them ready for school. I juiced my carrots, made my smoothie, packed some food and we headed out. After dropping the kids, a great dark fear gripped me. My mind became a battle zone. Immediately I remembered Psalm 81:10 where God command us to open our mouth wide and He will fill it.
I opened my mouth and began to confess God’s goodness. I began to thank Him for early detection, I thanked Him for going ahead and preparing the nurses and the doctor. I thanked because this was a shadow of death and not death itself. The hot tears came gushing, my nose was running. I cursed the cancer cells to its roots. I commanded them to shrink and I commanded my spirit to rise up and fight! I decreed and declared that I would not be overpowered by the symptoms and side effects of chemotherapy. I kept speaking until the fear was lifted away. I called Apostle Ekoh and he kept reiterating that this was a fight of faith that was already won.
We made it to Weymouth in time and checked in for treatment. Before treatment could commence, vitals and blood samples were taken to be sure I could receive treatment. The results were sent to Dr. Chi who then released the orders (medications) for chemo. It was a 5-hour process of intravenous infusion. First the fluids to keep me hydrated, then the anti-emetics and steroids to prevent nausea. Then came the cancer medications. The nurse pushed the Adriamycin while the cyclophosphamide was infused. There were no immediate side reactions. As the cycle began to conclude, my stomach began to feel heavy – like I had swallowed a heavy metal. My body began to slow down and I started feeling tired. What a day! It started as early as 6 am, we left DCFI at 3 pm and headed to go get the children from the Sules.
One major side effect by evening was nausea. The nausea reminded me of Tami’s pregnancy. It was surreal. To prevent full blown vomiting and the misery that came with hyperemesis, I had to take Zofran, Compazine and Dexamethasone like clockwork.
By the next morning, my body knew something foreign had been introduced. Getting out of bed was a struggle. My throat felt very dry. The nausea was real. Everything was smelling, as in the days of Tami’s pregnancy. I could only eat tiny meals at a time. I ate at odd hours of the night to keep the nausea in check. Hydration is key but I could not drink water just like that. it had a metallic taste in my mouth. They only way I could drink water was if I had a small bit of bitter kola, then followed by water. The bitter kola helped quell the nausea till I could take the next course of anti-emetic.
In between, the meds, bitter kola and granny smith apples came to the rescue to help the metallic taste. The first week was very hard in terms of fatigue and nausea. By the 7th day, the symptoms had started to wear off and it felt like I did not go through chemo at all. it fell so good! Chemotherapy may not be bad after all. I continued to eat as well as I could, drink my smoothies and hydrate in preparation for the second AC treatment cycle.
I walked into my second treatment very confident and ready to conquer. My blood test results were excellent and I met the conditions for treatment. My sister friend, Elizabeth was there to support. She made me some delicious amala and spinach soup that I ate during treatment. Fatigue and nausea began to show up the next day. I also noticed discoloration in my fingers and my tongue was very sore. Swallowing became difficult. I had developed thrush. My tongue felt like it had been bruised. My premolars were feeling sensitive. 3 days after cycle 1, my hair began to fall off. I had held on to my hair hoping it would not be affected. I was actually praying it would not be affected. Unfortunately, chemo meds destroy fast reproducing cells in the body. Those cells are found in hair follicles and the gastrointestinal tract. Before it all fell off, I went to my hair stylist for the major shave. I had no hair by cycle 2.
There is something called the mucous membrane that lines and lubricates every part of the body. Chemo meds destroy those too leaving one dry all over. You are dried from the inside out. It did not matter how much I hydrated. My tongue always felt stuck to the roof of my mouth. My scalp felt like it was being pinched by needles all the time. I was dry all over; as in ALL over! There were times I would wake up in the middle of the nigh feeling very dehydrated and stuffy. The Adebiyis suggested I get a humidifier. It really came in handy and made sleeping much easier.
I continued to follow my nutrition, hydration and beauty regimen. By the 5th day after my second treatment, my body was still feeling week. Something was not right. Bitter kola was not working, the sour apples tasted sweet. I could not stand the sight of carrot juice, and I could not hydrate enough. The sight of the port was starting to hurt. The pain became unbearable by the day.