A telephone conversation with my sister last night reminded me that it's probably important for me to let you, my support group, know something about me. As she put it, "I know that, with you, no news is NOT good news." She's right. When there is good news I will broadcast it far and wide and as soon as possible. The same is true with really bad news, as you will all recall from last March. However, when the news is only modestly bad I withdraw. When I am stressed but not fighting for my life I pull arms, legs, head and tail into the turtle shell and hunker down for the long haul. Right now is definitely one of those times and really has been since at least early December. So just this once I'm going to lay out all the petty little complaints. I'm going to whine and let you know why I'm safely pulled into my shell.
First is pain. This is something I have struggled with to greater and lesser degrees for the last couple of years. When I went for my physical in November 2007 I told the doctor that everything hurt. My left thumb was the first problem but has been pain-free since it was injected almost a year ago. My right shoulder pain was the very worst of it until my third injection in July and has not bothered me significantly since. Then came the neck pain starting in September. That finally started to ease off with the radiation therapy last month. Now, with nothing at all for pain since last Friday, it's a mild, niggling thing that makes me keep repositioning my head to try to find a comfortable spot. The throat pain that came on midway through the radiation therapy is no longer awful, but has not resolved completely and hurts to swallow anything. This morning I woke up with nasty low back pain - probably because I gave up and went to bed with some Alka Seltzer Night cold medicine, which gave me a wonderful night's sleep, but nine hours in bed is just too much for my back. So my pain inventory today is neck 3/10, right shoulder 2/10, throat 2/10 except when I swallow and then it's 5/10 and low back 7/10. I just called my doctor and told him that I really need to be able to take something besides oxycodone (which makes me drowsy, dizzy and nauseated) and we compromised on a little bit of Tylenol.
Second is fatigue. Self explanatory, really, but just so much not me. My anemia is worse since the Alimta and I'm sure that is contributing. It's not so bad that I can't get out of bed but I have to force myself to get up and move and nothing sounds interesting or exciting to me. In addition to fatigue, I just flat out have the blahs.
The last thing I'm currently struggling with is Alimta side effects. My white count is dangerously low as of Monday night so I received a Neupogen injection yesterday (watch me hit myself in the head realizing that that's probably the major contributor to the back pain) and started an antibiotic. I'm once again avoiding raw foods and trying to stay away from sick people (interesting proscription for a doctor, right?).
Basically, I spend pretty much every day putting one foot in front of the other and hoping tomorrow will be better. And being dissapointed when it is not. I was thrilled when I woke up this morning after a full and restful night's sleep. Then the back pain made itself known. They told me three weeks on the throat - it's been three weeks and five days. A little cold may be contributing to that and my voice is a little better today. Maybe by next week? I would still say that I'm operating at about 75% of my best, a four cylinder engine running on three. I really hope I can at least look forward to some glimpses of 90-95%.
So anyway, I warned Robert about the withdrawal at the very beginning of this process. I become terse (and everyone knows THAT is not my normal state) and just do what I have to do to get through the day. I hope it doesn't reach the point of incivility. I hope I haven't offended anyone. There's really not anything anyone can do to help me and so I don't reach out and ask. But please know that your thoughts, prayers, emails, blog comments, cards, and letters help, even if I don't get around to thanking you for them. Thank you all for sticking with me.