Chemo Day 2

Technically, they call it Day 8 because they count from the first day of chemo. But today was mom’s second treatment day, another long (9:30 AM to 5:30 PM) day of pre-hydration, gemzar, cisplatin, post-hydration and electrolytes.

In between, I did some light housekeeping, laundry, and some grocery shopping.

We got home and I raced to the kitchen to prepare something for her to eat, considering the sum total of her intake today has been 1/4 piece of English muffin with cream cheese, one jar of Ensure, one Ry-Krisp cracker and two prunes. She went straight to bed when we got home, without changing into bed clothes, and there she lies, two hours later.

So dinner is packaged up for another day and I’m letting her sleep, fielding a couple phone calls from her friends. At least most of them have the decency to keep their distance on therapy days. I’m so glad I turned the ringer off in her bedroom and turned the volume down in the living room.

Of the long list of side effects, I suppose fatigue is not the worst. Low red or white blood cell counts are the worst, as they increase the likelihood of infection and sometimes can cancel a chemo session if it’s bad enough. Her labs came back within normal ranges.

I would probably list nausea/vomiting as the second worst because nothing can make you feel “sick” like that. We had enough of that yesterday. But it’s also not a new phenomenon with my mother, Queen Vomitus Maximus. Never have I known someone with more stomach-gut issues as she, throughout my life.

But the fatigue. The debilitating, can’t-move-my-body, can’t-keep-my-head-up, I’m-sinking-into-the-couch fatigue. I can’t imagine it. And it is the most disturbing to those of us on the outside watching. Because you can’t tell if it’s just need-a-nap fatigue, or if it’s I-have-a-raging-infection and getting septic fatigue.

So the vigilance. The hyper-vigilance. The helpless vigilance. The hold-your-breath vigilance as you wait for even the slightest spark, the sarcastic comment, the light snort at a joke, the rolling of the eyes at some silliness. The sign that my mom, the firebrand, is still in that body.

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