Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Cancer Day

Another sleepless night on the couch. As much as I long for my warm, comfy bed, if I am to hope for any sort of rest, warm and comfy are no longer parts of the equation. Besides, it would not be fair to the Wife to subject her to a night of twitching and jerks, especially since she just drifted off watching ‘The Walking Dead’.

So Nakita and I curl up in the living room with the heat turned off and a bucket of cold water on the floor. Usually around three or four the Husky gives up and goes downstairs where it’s warmer, or where she at least doesn’t have to put up with me stepping over her head every hour.

The bucket of water is for my feet when the cramps start up. After about five minutes of soaking, if I’m lucky, the water works, the cramps fade and I’ll drift off again, only to spasm awake an hour later as blood flow returns with a vengeance and my feet instantly feel like they’ve been clamped in a vice.

It happens in my hands too, but it’s easier to ignore and I can sometimes massage the cramps out. Other times, it means stumbling to the bathroom to stick them under the sink, or if I can’t be bothered, just sitting hunched over with all four extremities in the bucket.

So combine all that with the normal perils of sleeping on a couch just few inches short of comfortable stretching out length and as the sun rises I’m usually wide awake and watching the Canada AM hosts begin their daily death march across five and a half time zones.

Throughout the day, my skin feels like it has shrunk three sizes making it tight and painful to move, especially around major joints or in my face. Where it isn’t tight, it feels like someone turned the sensitivity of every nerve ending up to 11 which can cause waves of unpleasant, prickling sensation from even the lightest touch. When they happen together, I twitch like I’ve just been zapped with a taser.

I eat something small, mostly to cushion the blow of the dozen pills I’ve got to swallow, and then begin the morning rituals of wife and animal care. Once everyone is taken care off, the steroids are about due to kick in, giving me my most productive, if manic hours of the day. My goal right now is to get at least one major chore done a day and hopefully have enough strength left to let Nakita drag me down the street.

By the time we get back I’m usually completely hobbled by foot cramps, which means sitting in a tub of cold water, psyching myself up and numbing myself out as much as I can before attempting to have a shower. What happen next is probably the most unpleasant ten minutes of my day.

Utterly defeated and jerking around like Joe Cocker, I crawl into bed for a nap. Though I’ve only got an hour or two before the cramps wake me up again, with the steroid high wearing off and the rigours of the morning, this will be the most intense sleep I get all day.

The rest of the afternoon and evenings pass by in a gradually thickening fog filled with whatever bouts of productivity I can squeeze in between the spasms, crawling skin, cramps, nosebleeds and general discomfort.

The thing is that I actually think I'm starting to feel a little better. It’s been a week and a day since I got out of hospital, with about ten days to go until I go back in for round two and it finally feels like some of the chemo kickback is starting to clear. I’m looking forward to the next few days, and utterly terrified at how bad I’m going to feel in a month.

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