Sunday, 13 September 2015

Chemo + Vacation

Every year my mom and I head to Vegas, but this year we decided to go for her birthday. I feel as though I've been tolerating this chemo pretty well, and I was excited to get way to the heat and sunshine!!

Once again we stayed out in Lake Las Vegas and I'm glad we did!! It's completely quiet out there, and there were days where we essentially had the pool all to ourselves!! The first few days I felt great and I'm glad we accomplished our shopping trip within those days. I wish I could say I felt that way the entire trip, but I'd be straight up lying. Don't get me wrong as I feel so lucky to have had this trip away with my mom, but it was also one of those trips where I was ready to come home by the end.

To start with, my hands and feet have taken a complete beating!!! I'm probably at that point where they would tell me to stop, BUT I want this to work and until I know if it's kicking cancer's butt I refuse to stop. I completed my third round a couple days ago, and have all sorts of scans next week, so here's hoping!!!! Secondly, I had periods of complete and utter exhaustion, and I'm not talking the simply "I'm tired," but more like, "if I don't lay down now my body will make me lie down, as in I will pass out!" At that point I realized that although I was on vacation, I really didn't have control over my schedule because my body was going to tell me if it had had enough. Sure enough, I had enough. I ended up napping for a couple hours on one day just to make it through. Then the newest side effect, and one of the ones I dread terribly, were stomach cramps. I'm talking keeled over in pain type of cramps where they would appear for no real rhyme or reason, and then simply disappear and I felt completely normal. The unpredictability of it all bothered me. The worst was when we got ready to go out, but they came on, and I ended up instead spending my evening in the bath soaking in Epsom salt! I felt awful because I knew my mom had energy to go and I really felt like I was holding her back. After I mentioned it to her, she told me she could care less and just wanted me to feel better, but It was still something that bothered me immensely. We didn't go on vacation to sit in our room, and yet I knew unless I wanted to end up in some American Hospital, I needed to simply listen to what my body was telling me.

My hands and feet at this point are bothering me. A LOT. I knew hand/foot syndrome was a side effect, and I kind of thought no problem I can manage this. However, the days of walking outside in 40 degree heat made it exponentially worse!! My thumb is completely split open and my fingertips feel like caluses, and I essentially can't feel the tips anymore. Trying to open a child proof pill box became next to impossible. Opening anything with my hands is both incredibly difficult and incredibly painful. Any form of pressure or friction makes this condition worse which is hard when we require our hands for everything and our feet to get around. I got a blister from simply wearing a watch...apparently that created too much friction!! My fingertips look like fat sausages. My feet ache and burn. I was starting to get an ingrown toenail which they warned me about, but being who I am I suppose I took this on like a DIY (do it yourself) project, lol. Well...I don't know about that damn toe anymore...I cut it out (the nail NOT the toe, I'm not that ambitious), and I don't even know if it's getting better as I feel at this point that's really the least of my problems. Seriously, couldnt I just have 10 days with none of this crap??!!!

This hand/foot syndrome has really gotten to me the last few days, and I don't just mean in the physical sense, but mentally. I like to push through things like pain, but I feel like I just can't!! Trying to walk is a chore and I probably look like an Oompa Loompa when I'm walking around! By the time we were ready to come back home I was kind of relieved. I longed for my big, comfy bed. Never thought I'd be saying I was happy to be leaving Vegas but it was time. The entire process of flying was something I was dreading too for obvious reasons such as having difficulty walking, difficulty lifting my suitcase (which also resulted in a blood blister on my finger from simply lifting the damn thing), and having no clue if my stomach was going to cooperate. Long story short, we obviously made it back, and I was sooooo happy that one would have thought I landed in Disneyland!! After making the ridiculously long walk to customs I was so ready for bed. As the custom agent waved me to come forward I handed him my declaration form. He handed it back and told me to tear off a portion of the form. Seems simple enough, and I never would have questioned it but as I tried to tear it I couldn't feel my fingertips and I essentially ended up tearing the form in half. He just looked at me. I felt completely helpless, useless, and humiliated. I just blurted out at him, "I'm sorry can you just do it because I can't feel my fingertips."At that point I just looked at the floor and felt my eyes well up. It took every ounce of me to not start completely crying like a crazy person in front of him. He kind of looked at me puzzled, and asked me why I couldn't feel my fingertips. Seriously, now I need to explain this shit! I simply stated it was due to a side effect from chemo. He stamped the paper, gave it to me, and told me to have a nice day. As I grabbed the paper and walked off I felt a tear run down my face and I felt completely pathetic. I couldn't tear a piece of paper along a DOTTED line. This wasn't a hard task (it wasn't laminated), or at least before chemo it wouldn't have been. This is basic and simple to do, and yet it seemed like an impossible task. As much as it's hard to admit it I need a dose reduction. I don't think I can live this way. I mean if there was an end date with "X" amount of treatments I know I would tough if out, but it's indefinite. Quality of life has never been more important to me, and if I have little use of my hands and feet then what good is this drug in terms of maintaining my quality of life??

Now I'll just cross my fingers and toes that it destroys these pesky cancer cells, especially in my brain because it's definitely destroying everything else as well, along with a bit of my sanity! Oh, and I've also had 3 mouth sores, just to add the cherry on top, and my lips almost turn a purple colour when I'm on my week off from chemo. One more week to go, and then I'll know how effective Xeloda has been!!! I swear it better work because I have sacrificed more than I'm willing to keep sacrificing going forward.
                      Happy Birthday to my mom!! Sorry the next 3 pics are basically our "bobbleheads!!"

This dragonfly kept landing on my toe.. the only living insect that I allow to land on me without me screaming and running like a mad woman!!
I LOVE palm trees:)
Don't worry this will be the most skin I show close up, but this was the hand/foot getting worse!! The pain is extreme!! The Band-Aid was my DIY project, lol.
That's me standing like a flamingo cause my damn feet hurt so bad!!!! Yes I'm wearing flats... I even bought Sketchers with memory foam to see if it would help and I got a darn blister...who knew my lil flats would be my go-to footwear...happy to maintain my style I suppose!!
I was so happy to have been able to get ready...but it was more like a dress rehearsal for another day as I ended up feeling like crap, staying in, and watching Big Brother. I know the more pics you read the subtitle under the less you want to keep going, I apologize for my less then thrilling life, lol
This is one reason I love Vegas. This sign is in the middle of the desert and it's the Dr. Seuss quote: "I do not like cancer here or there I do not like cancer anywhere." Oh Vegas you never cease to amaze me!
Ok...the more I write about these pics the more I realize I am probably very "different" in terms of activities I engage in while in Vegas. Every year we check out some show homes, and I take pics in the tub..Yes, I love a nice, deep soaker tub!!
Ok, I felt like I was the queen of this castle...the view was unreal and the floor to ceiling glass sliding doors had me sold. Now the question is: can adults have a "Make A Wish?" Is this a smidgen too much to ask for?
Tub #1
Tub #2: I liked the view on this one better:)

Tub #3: Yup my favorite.. maybe because the entire house was perfect!! That's a mediocre thumbs up because that's about how well I felt physically there. I told my mom we should hide in the walk-in and we could spend the night!

Honestly...Does this not look like a view from outer space??? I sent this to my hubby all excited saying this and his response was: "Ummm...are you high right now?? It looks like clouds in the sky." Talk about not being a creative cat babes, lol!!
Leaving the glittering lights. It honestly gives you the sense that you really are such a tiny part of this world. Till next time..