Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chemotherapy Leg Part 6

 After today I will have 10 more chemotherapy treatments. In order to avoid redundancy, I'm not going to grouse about side effects unless any really odd ones crop up, which I'm hoping will not.

So far, Taxol hasn't been as brutal as the stuff I was getting, but rest assured, it's no picnic. To feel like "myself" has become a foreign notion; I'm assuming that I will have to get used to a new normal going forward, and that makes me sad. I haven't felt the need to mourn the loss of my breasts or my hair, but I used to be someone with no chronic health issues, save for the occasional ache or pain associated with getting older. Now, I think that phase of my life has ended. Chemotherapy will leave an indelible mark on me, sort of like a tattoo, but one that only I will know is there.

Speaking of tattoos, I was watching LA Ink on Netflix before it was yanked off the Web site without warning. I've noticed that tends to happen. One thing that would improve the service would be to warn subscribers how long the content is available for. That way, chemo patients like myself can budget how much time we need to devote to binge-watching before our chosen programs up and disappear. Believe it or not, it's important, especially for someone like me. When your livelihood is compromised by cancer treatments, you need to find other ways to occupy your time. Netflix has been a godsend. In other circumstances, it would be a gross dereliction of duty to spend so much time watching old TV series, (notice how I didn't refer to it as "procrastination"), but right now, I've got nothing but time on my hands.

Back to the tattoos. While watching LA Ink, I noticed that many people get tattooed to commemorate survival of a cancer diagnosis. I've toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo for a long time, and I came really close to taking the plunge about 4 years ago when I was living in Toronto, but for various reasons, I never pulled the trigger. Now, I'm thinking seriously about it again because, as I said, I am a different person, both physically and emotionally.

The question is, what sort of tattoo do I want to get to commemorate my own journey? It will for sure not be a pink ribbon or anything to signify any awareness of breast cancer. I've been thinking about a symbol of transformation like a butterfly or a moth, or maybe something more spiritual like a Ganesha, the Hindu god of success, pictured above. I haven't quite worked out the details, but I'm certain I'll have plenty of time to think about it.

I've written this while undergoing treatment, and right now, I feel like I've had one too many during happy hour. It's not the poison, but the antihistamine I'm being given to prevent an allergic reaction to it. The one thing you always have to remember during chemotherapy is that it might be killing you, but it makes you sleep like a baby; at least for a few hours.


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