Okay, the dreaded chemo crash that I expected on Wednesday hasn’t really manifested itself. At least, not in any way that I expected. Considering the whole “wrapped in cotton” feeling my brain had on Wednesday, I expected to be counting myself fortunate to string together more than a few grunted syllables by Thursday, or Friday at the latest. But then I felt much better on Thursday. Not quite so tired, not so “foggy.” So Mark and I ran a few errands that needed to be done.
First off, I reckon I should mention that Mark convinced me to buy some masks at Wal-Mart back when we were doing The Great Chemotherapy Shopping Extravaganza. The idea came not from anything we were told officially by any medical person, but from a little old man who came into the treatment center with his wife and wanted a mask to protect himself from the rest of us. So, I looked at Mark and thought, “that’s probably not such a bad idea.” Mark, of course, was all for it. He is a germaphobe at heart. So, we got the masks but I have not put them in my purse and so have not actually used one while out in public. As logical and rational as it is – even smart – to protect myself from all those germs out there, I just haven’t quite been able to put myself into a frame of mind to go out in public looking like some paranoid Asian during the bird flu scare.
So, what have I gotten for my pride and hesitation? SICK! Yes, that’s right, I’m sick with some kind of pesky chest cold. I felt the beginnings of a sore throat Thursday night, then woke up feeling much worse on Friday morning. I had a temperature of about a degree, which isn’t much of course, but it was enough to worry me because I knew it meant I was really sick. The instructions we’re given as chemo patients is that if we get sick – as in running a fever – we are NOT to treat it with anything that will bring the fever down. No Tylenol, ibuprofen, Alieve, etc. This is because they will only mask the fever, lowering it artificially without doing anything at all for whatever is causing it. So we are to watch the fever, check it often, and if it hits 101, we go directly to the ER. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
My fever has never risen above a degree or so, which I am so very thankful for. I do not want to wind up in the hospital. I do not want to have to postpone any of my treatments while I try to fight off some bug. I called the Dr’s office Friday morning, just to give them a heads up about being sick, then started rummaging through the medicine cabinet looking for something to take. Everything – and I do mean EVERYTHING – was expired! I guess I haven’t been really sick for a while. I did have some NyQuil, but it contains Tylenol, plus alcohol, so I couldn’t use it. Plus, my chest was aching, leading me to conclude that what I really needed was an expectorant to break whatever was in there up. So we made a trip down to CVS, I paid way too much for something I could have gotten at half the price at Wal-Mart, and I started taking some Mucinex. I am also using my inhalers, which have at least helped to keep my chest from feeling so terribly tight.
I’ve been taking the Mucinex since Friday afternoon, and I can feel it finally working a bit. My chest still aches some, but I can tell that I need to start coughing this mess up and out. Not looking forward to that, seeing as how coughing is uncomfortable. But I gotta do what I gotta do.
The long and short of this whole thing is, I reckon I will be wearing a mask in public from now on. At least I’ll wear one any time I’m in a crowd of any size. I am already carrying around hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes, this will just be one more thing to add to the circus. That’s the funny thing about this whole process. Pride is one of the first things to have to get chucked out the window. The whole hair loss thing bothered me. Still does a little. But ultimately, I realize that I don’t much care what I look like so long as I feel half-way decent. I joked with Mark that I ought to shave my legs but I’m holding out for the chemo to finally kick in and save me from having to do that chore again for a while. My legs are hairy and I don’t care.
Hmmm…. sing with me (to the tune of Jimmy Crack Corn):
My legs are hairy and I don’t care,
my legs are hairy and I don’t care,
my legs are hairy and I don’t care!