I've chosen an image of Niagara Falls this week, because apparently I am dehydrated, which is causing some annoying side effects like nose bleeds and vertigo. It seems that with each chemo treatment, the chemicals build up in my body to wreak more havoc, giving me the bed spins and causing torrents of blood to pour out of my nose. In response to these side effects, I am sitting here with a large bag of saline dripping into my body, in addition to the usual cocktail of medicines and poison. That made me think of Niagara Falls, mainly because I have good memories of visits there, and the thundering sound of water is a reminder that I need to hydrate in order to alleviate the latest round of maladies currently plaguing me.
When I was 35, I had a bout of kidney stones that I was told were caused by dehydration. At that point, it was the most serious ailment I'd ever experienced, save for when I was 14, when a fall from my bicycle left me with a broken wrist. I was lucky because I managed to drink those stones right out of my body, conveniently when I was stoned to the bejeezus bells on Vicodin. I must have drank two or three gallons of water over a period of several hours, and when the painkiller wore off, I no longer felt like I was about to give birth. Ironically, several female friends told me that the pain a woman experiences when she has kidney stones can be worse than labor. Since I've never had children, I can't compare the two experiences, but I will say that the pain was very intense.
The kidney stone experience stayed with me for a very long time, and I made a point of drinking at least two liters of water a day in order to avoid ever going through it again. Thankfully, I never have, but the experience scarred me for life; until now.
Before I started chemotherapy, I was told various things by people who have been through it, as well as by medical professionals who administer to people like me who must endure this ordeal. It's always good to be informed before embarking on anything new, but the problem with chemo is that everyone reacts differently to it. I like to think that I'm having harder time than some, but an easier time than others. Overall, though, this is never a pleasant thing to have to go through no matter how you react to it.
Speaking of reactions, my main activity through this ordeal has been food shopping. Under normal circumstances, a trip to the supermarket isn't my favorite activity, but I've come to relish it since I don't do much in the way of activities these days. Yesterday, as I filled my cart with necessities, I stopped cold in the soup aisle, and stood helpless as a wave of chemo brain washed over me. I stared mindlessly at boxes and cans of stock, thinking that I should put two boxes of chicken stock into my cart, but instead I walked away without the item I wanted and needed. This is a perfect example of what poison can do to your mind, since I generally use a lot of chicken stock this time of year.
So, what prevented me from plucking a couple of cartons of chicken stock off a supermarket shelf? I have no idea. I shared this because I wanted to give you some idea of what life has been like for the past few months. In the larger scheme of things, who hasn't forgotten to grab an item or two from the supermarket on occasion? I certainly have, and I'm sure you have, too. But when your entire body is reacting to poisons coursing through it, the act of forgetting tends to annoy you more than it normally would. Yes, these poisons are for my own good, but that doesn't mean I'm enjoying what they're doing to me.
I'm now a little more than an hour removed from my treatment. I had to regroup in order to finish this up. That, and I couldn't think of a suitable ending. Maybe I should go buy some chicken stock.