Thursday, May 18, 2006

what i need

It turns out that sometimes what I need to do is exactly the opposite of what I think I need.

Today, the only thing I wanted to do (and felt I could do) was stay in bed with a pillow covering my head, such was my fatigue and the blackness of my mood. I told my spouse this morning that I was "unfit for human consumption." (I meant to say, "unfit for human company," but my brain is in a chemo induced muddle. However, the statement I did make is pretty accurate, given the toxicity of my chemotherapy regimen.)

I had definitely been fighting a losing battle with the funk I have described in previous posts. I felt so overwhelmed by anxiety and despair last night and this morning, that 'just two more to go' had been wiped out by 'I can't do two more.'

I'm not sure why these first days when I start to improve physically are so much harder than the trough of the first few days after treatment. I know that impatience to feel better has something to do with it. Also, I feel pretty stoned during much of the trough period (this is a good thing) so it is hard to muster up the energy to feel sorry for myself.

Then, when I regain a degree of physical energy, I am so happy to be out in the world that it becomes pretty easy to keep the dark thoughts at bay.

During these in between days, though, it is a struggle not to dwell on the hard parts and the scary questions. How will I get through this? What if the cancer comes back? Why me?

Busy mind. Idle body. Bad combination.

And so my instinct this morning was to go up into the attic, never to emerge. Instead, I called a friend, had a vent and a laugh at the outrageousness of the world. I feel infinitely better.

It would seem that, sometimes, I just need to get out of my own head.

On another note, the results of a study released today provide further evidence that women who over-express the protein HER2 (also called HER2/neu) benefit from more agressive drug treatments (the lovely Red Devil, described in a previous post), while (and a whole host of other factors need to be taken into consideration) women who are HER2 negative may not. As someone who is HER2 positive, I found this oddly satisfying. I think it would have pissed me off (especially today) to find out near the end of treatment that I might have done as well on an easier regimen.

You can get more info on the study at .

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