Monday, April 7, 2014

Phoning it in

The weekend bus rides went surprisingly well. In addition to the full larder I packed, I had also stowed away two cold packs, but forgot and so they never came into play. Fortunately, they didn't seem necessary. For the trip to Ithaca and back, I felt like I was eating constantly - snacking on chips (the salt was good), cereal, popcorn (again, the salt), sandwiches, fruit, cookies (less than worthwhile), yogurt, along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, plus water, gatorade, and coke (real, not diet - wow, now that is sweet). With any luck, I ate less than any of my athletes given the roughly zero calorie burn of the these 36 hours. This road trip is notorious for not allowing any coach recovery (read exercise) time due to its duration. My major withdrawal the past three days has been from exercise. To make sure I remain pleasant, I dragged walked Max around for a couple of miles today. He's snoozing now, and I think that I can feel the barest edge of an endorphin in my body.

But, as well things went Friday and Saturday, Sunday turned into a virtual screaming match with my stomach/upper GI tract. At times, it felt lined with active habanero peppers. Tums, rolaids, rice cakes, dry cereal, pasta, sipping gatorade - nothing was doing the trick. What else could I do? It seemed like there was no resource at hand, and I was out of options. Except, there was. The very nice Nurse Practitioner who walked me through my Chemo-Teach (What to Expect When You're Expecting Chemo) session had said if I ever, ever had a question about not feeling well (nausea and a number of critical emergency situations), then I should call and someone would call me right back. "Don't hesitate," were probably her exact words. What she didn't know is how much I hate making request-type phone calls. Hesitate would be my middle name. Don't ask me to call for a reservation, to see if something is in stock, or to place a take out order. I love talking on the phone, I just don't like asking (for help) on the phone. I have since called MGH twice. (Good, girl, Linda - lavish praise!) Yesterday, I called about what to do for the heartburn, and today I called about the nausea. And, both times, everyone was super nice and very helpful and provided the kind of advice I needed - it's all normal reactions you're experiencing, but why don't you try taking pepcid every day from now on, and try a compazine if you're nauseated. Duh. And, if that doesn't help, try a zofran. Duh, again. And, if you think you might throw up, try an ativan. Problem solved.

Two other milestones over the weekend, as well. I heard from a woman whom I have admired for many years. She went through the same thing 5 years ago, and though she doesn't know about the heroine-worship, she wrote and shared her thoughts from then and now with me and welcomed me to the club she didn't want to belong to. Hearing from her was particularly a timely boost for me. Another friend wrote having survived a different cancer, and also referred to being in the club. This friend has an even more irreverent sense of humor than I and made me laugh out loud by writing, "Welcome to the club. There's an initiation 'fee' of course, the membership hazing is a real treat, but after that you get free lifetime membership." Letters from or about survivors definitely hold a certain poignancy for me and lift my spirits.

Second milestone was the food brigade. Kate's food army has gone into effect. It sure was nice to not have to rouse myself and make dinner last night. Neither of us is picky eaters, but as I go more bland, or maybe food will just taste more bland soon, I know we are really appreciating this outpouring of care. Except Max - he will continue to enjoy his kibble.

Wrapping up - best news of the weekend is that my two racing boats both won. They stayed focused, persevered, and put in a full pull (100% effort). "Nothing can take the place of hard pulling," one oarsman was overheard to say. No "phoning-it-in" about that!

1 comment:

  1. I am SO psyched for you and your guys (oarsmen, that is), and I know they are psyched to have you as their coach - you are an amazing human being! As for the GI distress, these are potent and effective drugs, but intestinal cells, like cancer cells, turn over quickly, so are susceptible to chemo agents, too. For the time being, taking the other stuff to counteract the nausea is MANDATORY! Saltines and ginger are nice as well. XOXO