On Friday, April 16th, I spent my last day in the infusion lounge at Hoag Hospital receiving my final chemo treatment. Getting chemo isn’t uncomfortable or painful; it’s the knowing of the week-long (sometimes longer) side effects that lie ahead that I always dread, even with the final round. But this time knowing that a sweet spirited kitty would be awaiting me at the cottage helped to quell my anxiety.
Chemo side effects kick-in two days after all of the long acting premeds given before chemo subside. So when I get home from a chemo treatment, I feel peaceful and relaxed from the Benadryl buzz, and when that wears off by Saturday, I’m left with the lingering energizing effects from the steroid. Last Saturday after my final chemo, my kitten-like energy rivaled Samantha’s as we played “get-the-mousey,” “toss-the-pom-poms,” and hide-and-go-seek throughout the day. I asked Alexa to play some Sly and the Family Stone and danced my booty off as Samantha watched, saucer-eyed and intrigued with my movements until she joined in by prancing alongside me (no kidding). I organized my closet, vacuumed, did laundry, washed dishes, watered my garden then finally slowed down about sunset (oh to have that kind of energy everyday!). I got through Sunday with only mild nausea.
By Monday morning, intense nausea awoke me and by Tuesday, nausea was followed by fatigue, muscle aches and weakness, and thrush. Before my first chemo the nurse told me that chemo side effects feel like having the flu—excuse me—you mean the flu on steroids. Even the muscles in my feet became weak and achy.
For the remainder of the week I remained sofa-bound with the exception of random bouts of playtime with Samantha. As I would recline back on the sofa, completely worn out after playing get-the-mousey for five minutes, Samantha belted out sorrowful meows, begging for just one more round…
I awoke today almost side effect free, feeling somewhat celebratory in my chemotherapy treatment accomplishment. I’ve been called a warrior and have been praised for my perceived strength. But coping with cancer and chemo has been so debilitating that most of the time I’ve felt small and meek. I’ve just been riding out the storm, doing what I have to do until the clouds break and the rays of sunshine clear the darkness. I can see those rays now. I can feel them energize my spirit and reposition my outlook to better see the approaching end of this “long strange trip” I’ve been on.
I start radiation treatments in a few weeks, and will say that I’m anxious about it. I will be facing more side effects, but as I’m told, they are not as harsh as chemo. I hope that’s my case and that my renewed spirit can maintain its newfound power throughout radiation.
My gratitude for the love, support and understanding of dear friends, family and my beloved Bobcat (RIP) is never ending.
And now Samantha is here to help see me through the last leg of my journey.
I don’t envy you. I hope when all is over you will be well and back to a normal life.
So beautiful you have Samantha by your side to help you through this difficult times. Wishing you all the best, Pamela.
Thank you so much!
The cancer treatment road you’ve been on has been more than bumpy but with seemingly hidden benefits. You have dug down into yourself for strength and courage which you didn’t know you had and for that you can be grateful and proud. Love Mom
Good morning Pam. You look fabulous. Congratulations on getting to this exciting milestone. I hope you did a Happy Dance with the ladies at the chemo lab. The radiation is so easy and quick visits. To things to expect- you can not get in any chlorine- pools/spas, have to stay out of the sun as your skin is more vulnerable and it zaps your energy- so plan on some delicious naps in the shade of your beautiful yard. Hope you and Princess Samantha are growing closer every day.
YOU are a great inspiration to so many!
Sending you Big Hugs and Lots of Love,
Suzanne & John
Congrats, Pamela! XXOO
Purrayers to you as you weather this with the help of friends two-and four-legged !
I love you and your baby! Wishing both the very best!!!
Pam, very well put. With your new kitty and your circle of fantastic friends it will make the healing easier. I’m very proud of you. Dad
I’m so happy that you have Samantha with you. What a wonderful companion.