So it started on a Friday just over two weeks ago
Hello Beautiful Peoples. This has been an education for me.
Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) – also known as the red devil because of its colour – is one of the most powerful chemotherapy drugs ever invented. It can kill cancer cells at every point in their life cycle. Great news for cancer patients like me – however sadly, a characteristic feature of cancer cells is they are rapidly reproducing cells… and unfortunately Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) is not able to discriminate between cancer cells and other normal naturally rapidly reproducing cells in our bodies such as hair follicles, skin cells, bone marrow cells.
So my hair started falling out. I’ve cut it short like a bob cut, and I’ll be shaving it soon. Tomorrow I think, as I’m shedding hair like crazy. The hair follicles are dead. Once it diminishes there’s nothing to hold my hair in my head and that’s why I’m shedding. Oh well.
There’s no preparing for what’s going to happen next because for everyone it’s different. There are some common symptoms such as tiredness, however, there are subtle variations in how each person experiences it. I felt tired almost immediately after they started administering the chemo – I could not keep my eyes open, during the administration, nor in the car on my way home. My two friends who had chemo a few days later were both tired too but only a few hours later.
I was also famished. I really wasn’t expecting to be hungry as I pretty much lost my appetite over the past few weeks – even losing weight. But while chemo was being administered, I was so grateful that I had a few snacks in my bag and I also finished a 1 litre flask of tea! When I got home, I ate two plates of stew before going to bed and then I virtually stayed in bed for the next three days.
Now everyone says that the chemo makes one nauseas and I believe this is true…. however, because my oncologist ensured that I started taking three different anti-nausea meds before I started the chemo, I didn’t experience hardcore nausea. And on the fourth day after my chemo session, I was tired of being tired, so I stopped taking the anti-nausea meds just so that I could stay awake a while. The rest of the week was low-level nausea and fatigue. It’s a tired that I can’t explain. I just felt weak. But happily, as the days passed I felt stronger and stronger. One week after chemo I started feeling human again. Two weeks after chemo I’m feeling normal again.
And now just as I feel normal again, I’m about to start that all over again. My next chemo session is this Wednesday…. But the only way to get over this is to go through this. It’s just the way it is.
PS: In a weird way having cancer has increased my happiness levels in general in the past week. On the days that I woke up without feeling any pain, fatigue or nausea I can’t explain how happy I was. Deliriously happy. It’s happiness I haven’t felt in years.
PPS: I don’t know about my happiness in the next few days, though, knowing that I’m going to lose my hair. I’ve tried to be really brave but I’m starting to feel that nothing can really prepare one. I’ll let you all know on the flip side.