Friday, December 29, 2006

Rocky Road

After this last cycle of chemo, I didn't bounce back as well as I usually do. I never got my strength back. I don't go for walks, I can barely drag myself up the stairs. I'm depressed, I can't concentrate. My hands and feet are numb with neuropathy. I don't have the energy to socialize, to make small talk and play the social game so I'm alienating people right and left. I haven't felt well for over two weeks.

I've been taking Lortab almost every day for pain: mouth sores, heartburn, gastric cramps, aching joints, a back that's giving out. Last night I had such severe stomach cramps I couldn't stand up. I was bolting to the bathroom every five minutes. Finally I vomited twice and felt a bit better. I had to take two Phenergans to fall asleep. It's been rough.

And at the same time, the vultures are starting to circle around my house. Naturally people are eager to profit from my misfortune. I'm being pressured to "show" the house for realtors. But I don't have the energy to clean up, and I can't stand the thought of my privacy being invaded when I'm sick like this. I need my house to be my refuge right now.

I dread the looming inevitability of strangers trooping through my rooms with little warning, peering into my closets and at my belongings. My dogs and I will be forced to vacate the premises. Where will we go? I don't know, I guess we'll huddle in the car at the Wal-Mart parking lot, praying to the fickle Universe that neither they nor I have any urgent intestinal distress during our exile.

I'm probably going to cut my chemo short, from the recommended eight sessions down to six. I can't find any evidence that the benefits of eight outweigh the risks, or even that there are any benefits. There is some evidence that whatever cancer cells remain after six treatments are probably recalcitrant anyway. And if the vultures hone in any faster, I may be forced to cut back to five. Or even four.

You know, this isn't the direction I had hoped my life would take.

17 Comments:

Blogger Trasi said...

Lordy, I wish I could do something, I cannot even fathom how shit you must be feeling, on all fronts. I just hope the saying is true, that the darkest hour is just before dawn, and things WILL get better. I don't know that they will, but I sure hope so.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Celia said...

I'm so sorry. If it's any consolation -- though I can't think why it would be -- I think it's normal to bounce back slower with each succeeding chemo. So your reaction, while sucking mightily, is all just part of the deal.

Hang in there sweetie.

Oh? And tell the vultures to fuck off til you feel better. They can wait.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous patrizia said...

Elizabeth, throughout the winds that have ocassionally blown our lives together over many years (mandel, Psychotic X-Boyfriend), I have always considered you a role model of sorts, what a strong woman should be -- and never more than now.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Pony said...

Liz I suspect this may not be you (it certainly isn't me) but is there a support group you can meet with? A friend whom I thought would never do that did and surprised me (and herself I think) in eagerly using her group, in a very pragmatic way, not mooshy. But as I said, that may not be for you, there may not be such in rural area.

Thinking of you.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Cheri said...

What will it realistically take for you to be able to stay in your house, even for a little while longer? If you can, if you're willing, will you throw it out into the universe? Let's see what happens. You never know.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz, can you get a reverse mortgage and hold off there a little longer?

Or that being not possible, tell the fucking real estate agent that she will just have to show the house with you in in or not at all, dogs included.

I continue to stand in awe of you.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....what cheri said. I'll add a please.

from another susan...someone who is drawn to your eloquent and honest words day after day. You put my life in perspective and I am grateful for that. Your bravery and honesty are making multitudes of people be better, more compassionate, people. You are making a huge difference in the world everytime you put down your words. I wish you the best and hope you'll feel a little bit better today than you did yesterday.
another susan

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Ralph said...

Hi Dr. Leda; You are one tough,gutsy person just like my wife Rose who died 11-29-03 with emphysema after being on oxy. 24/7. She was 63in.Fighting Irish & not about to go down withouta fight. She had cancer twice & beat it but the emphysema destroyed her lungs. Took a yr. before she died. She suffered very much but not as hard as it is for you. I stayed home & cared for her the yr. she was dying (fighting). I am 77 & a retired Deacon. I have 18 roses planted this yr. & a 1yr.old toy Pom who gives me a lot of laughs(finally) plus frustration and is a 4 legged terrorist. You are in my prayers. Some say prayers don't work but HE answers them in His time and His way.--KEEP Fighting--Deacon Ralph

5:50 PM  
Anonymous nycme said...

I found my way here from another blog and wanted to say hello from NYC and let you know that you're in my prayers. I love your scarves - that's one thing I've never gotten the hang of - knitting! And I totally agree that you have an elegant cranium. Hope you're feeling better tomorrow.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Ya Looblue said...

it is unacceptable that people would DARE to bother you when you're not feeling well. arg that makes me so mad. they need to back the f*ck up until you are DONE with your treatment. not cutting it short for those %*($@*)!(@*$%ing vultureparasites that want to take your safe place away. screw 'em. you take your time. *hugs*

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Kimberli said...

Enough! You are needed in this world Leda so its time to fight to stay. If that means you have to bend a bit re the house thing, that's a helluva lot better than kicking the bucket TODAY. Don't bother cleaning it but do allow some showings. If you REALLY are going to have to sell to survive this then that's a proactive step to take now, and taking control of this is a mighty fine thing given all the stuff that you can't control right now. I've told you before, not that your pride will listen (mine wouldn't either) but I'm near and sorta helpful. Cancer's a bitch and you can't let her get an upper hand right now, get mad, get whatever, get help, but get in charge of things for yourself.

I realize I'm being stern, possibly out of place, if its mean I apologize, I just feel like you need a bit of a jolt because I KNOW you are stronger than letting this get you down, we can always dig a little deeper... its either that or give up, and your spirit has never shown that to me, even though your words may want to put that out there if only for a minute..

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to your house, ALSC (Acadiana Legal Services) is a private, non-profit law firm which provides free legal assistance in civil cases to low-income residents of most of southwest and central Louisiana. ALSC assists elderly residents regardless of income.

You don't have the strength to fight this yourself, but someone near you should contact the appropriate Legal Aid Society for help.

Try these phone numbers for a start:
1-800-256-1175 or (337) 237-4320

5:45 PM  
Anonymous leslie said...

Hoping today is better. and hoping you can stay put for a while longer at least. Horrible to have to even think about selling your home while you're going through this.

I have a good friend who has been going through the post-chemo end of neuropathy. It has taken longer than she hoped but it's finally fading. Right now I assume just getting through the nausea and pain would be a big improvement. wish I could help!

7:18 PM  
Blogger Hathor said...

Unless it affects you, such that you can't eat. Let everyone wait. Just say no, no, and no to the vultures. Take the advice of others here. You do need an advocate, if you haven't one.
Even with insurance during my medical crisis, I let everything slide. I couldn't deal and within weeks the calls came, making demands. I decided whatever was going to happen would happen; but myself was first priority. I not in anyway trying to compare myself to you.
I just want you to focus on yourself.

8:11 PM  
Blogger belledame222 said...

what they all said. peace and strength to you.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Professor Zero said...

Hi!!!!!

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Sara said...

Yeah, how do they decide on the number of treatments, anyway? It always seems so arbitrary. It also always seems to be an even number.

I have known people to quit chemo because it was killing them, after they'd already received just a little (in which case some tried switching to another kind first) or quite a bit of it, and several of them are alive and well. Several of them are not. There is an element of this which is still a crapshoot even if you do everything "right." I know you know this already.

I hope you get the amount you need, whatever that is, and that it works.

7:45 PM  

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