You may have noticed a bit more cynicism and negativity from me in recent posts. Trying to get my mind around my recent diagnosis of ovarian cancer and the upcoming "rough" course of chemotherapy has made me a bit cranky. I did not much feel like celebrating the new year given that I have five to six months of discomfort ahead of me in 2010.
At this time I am less concerned about or focussed on surviving than I am on how bad the side effects of the chemo will be. My prognosis is good if I make it through the chemo--a protocol that includes Taxol via IV and cis-platinum delivered intraperitoneal (IP) which means that they inject it into my abdominal cavity through a port that my onc-gyn installed during my surgery last week. The protocol consists of six 21 day cycles of chemo delivery. I get the chemo over the course of 3 full days (i.e 8 hours each day of infusion) on Days 1, 2 and 8 and I need to be hydrated for 4 hours/ day on Days 3, 4 and 5 in each 21 day cycle. That's a lot of time being hooked up to an IV or IP. I am not sure how I will spend the rest of the time because I do not know how debilitating the side effects will be. I am assured of having fatigue, hair loss and anorexia. I probably will have some abdominal bloating and digestive problems as well as nausea for which I will be given medication to ease the severity.
I am trying to prepare for the hair loss which is probably the only side effect for which I can plan. I am cutting my hair very short rather than shaving it because I need to ease into its loss. Even though I wear my hair relatively short, I am very fond of it. I have also been lucky to have thick eyebrows and eyelashes all my life so I am dreading their loss. I expect my hair will grow back in gray rather than the blonde streaks I have sported for so many years. It will be another "scarlet letter" for me, announcing to the world that I have cancer. My son has, however, come up with an idea for a slogan for me to go on a hat or t-shirt (preferably in teal, the apparent marketing color for ovarian cancer). "It's not fair. Not my hair!" I love this slogan!
I am working up the strength for this ordeal but reserve the right to be crabby and negative. I hope you all understand and accept that I am the one making this journey and will do whatever I need to do to get through it. Please bear with me.