Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jan. 22

Jan. 22
Originally uploaded by Cancer Boy
Okay, this might be a long one.

Might as well start with the big one. I'm not handling things too well. The fact that I've just gone through the last crap-tacular round of chemo does put me onto the safe side of a small bump along the road, but the increasingly difficult chemotherapy sessions are starting to worry me. I'm exhausted. My arm is starting to feel better, but it still hurts somewhat, and I can't lift things, still. The fact that it's my dominant arm, it causes issues. All this, coupled with all the crap that I went through with my port (which they still used for chemotherapy on Tuesday), as well as some shaky self-perceptions, and I'm heading for some intense personal dread and despair.

Thus, I've done what I can only hope can be counted as a sensible and responsible choice... I'm getting my ass into some sort of makeshift therapy. The hospital offers all sorts of counseling services, including group therapy and one on one bitch-fests. The former does not appeal to me. Hearing that other people are also miserable just makes me more depressed. The latter... Well, at least I feel qualified to attend that. I do bitch a lot, so, I should have no problem. So, tomorrow, I get to see the wonderful social worker assigned to my case, and... who knows.

Monday I start in the Well-Fit program at the University. One of the perks of getting cancer in this town, it seems, is that I have access to a gym and sort of a personal trainer at the University. I need the exercise, and it's free. Therefore, I'm happy. Also in exercise land, as I mentioned before, I got a pair of track spikes. I'll at least start walking at the Rec Centre track, and hopefully when my port fully heals, I'll start running.

I need to cut my hair. It's doing that thing where it flattens on the sides, and makes me look like a giant rooster. Yes, I am neurotic.

Migraine last night was pretty damned bad. Probably the worst I've ever had. Took one of the leftover tylenol 3s, and one of the nausea meds. Somehow I got to sleep, and slept for 14 hours. It's not even 11, and I'm exhausted.

I've put on more weight. I'm approximately 178 now. Still lighter than before I got sick, but now 20lbs heavier than when I was at my worst. Body image = in shambles.

I think my hair is thinning. Might be chemo. Might be stress. Might be male pattern baldness. Probably all three. Oh well.

Still waiting to have girls' night with Melissa. We've been too bloody busy...

Funny, now that I think about it... "girls' night"... because face masks and the such are girly, right? I mean, the hospital offers a seminar called "Look good, feel great" or something of the sort. Maybe it's the other way around... It's offered to women only, however. It's all about makeup and skin care, etc. Now, I don't much care about the makeup component, but the skin care? Let me tell you, my skin has gone to hell over the last two months. .... It's only been two months. Ugh. Anyway...

My skin's always been pretty good. I drink copious amounts of water, so I guess it flushes everything out. but since I started chemotherapy, it's dry and prone to irritation. I've started washing with an alpha hydroxy face wash, and moisturizing. Girly/metrosexual? Yes. Is it keeping me from feeling like a fucking freak every time I look in the mirror? Also yes.

To best describe the effects of chemotherapy on body image, I will use this example from Penny Arcade, but herein, Gabe (the dude with the black hair) is me, and chemotherapy is wonderfully portrayed by Tycho (the ... er... other dude!)

Moral of the rambly story: Cancer patients! Take care of yourselves! Your body is a withering husk!!

Addendum: The nausea meds are called Stemetil.


Tori said...

Fuzzy lumpy bag of milk? ;)

I'm glad you're seeing a counselor. You put up a good front, but I've been sort of worried about how you're actually handling everything since this started (dare I say I know you well enough to see through the 'front'?! :P).

So, I'm glad you're taking care of yourself, my dear. Physically and mentally/emotionally. You're very important to a lot of people... hooboy, alright, I'll stop before this gets any cheesier or I make myself cry or something, and trust that you get the idea.

Nico said...

Sure, NOW I get a comment box.

As I translate responses from the latest CIS survey, I says to myself, I says, "Hey, does Armand know about CIS?"

The Canadian Cancer Society has a free information line for any questions, concerns, queries or whatever you may have. 1 888 939-3333.

Don't know if that'll help any or not... but figured I'd mention it in any event. You may now continue to raise your middle digit.

deborah d. lattimore said...

metrosexuals rock. my oldest son is a valiant, proud metrosexual in los angeles! you can ask him anything about skin and hair products. he's always telling me, "it's all about product, mom."

yay for therapy. i still remember my therapist's shoes. i rarely looked up at her. i stared at her shoes and kept on talking. money well spent.

i'm here for you in any way i can be of use. you just let me know. xoxox

Deltcho said...

So, I'm going to let you in on my little secret that has all the ladies jealous of my smooth skin (I'm not kidding). Shea butter soft soap. Find it, rub it all over yourself, and don't tell me the details... And let's um, keep this between us, shall we?

Armand said...

Tori: Front or not, I stand by the whole "I'll keep laughing, 'cause once I stop, I'll start crying..." And nobody wants to see that... You are sweet, though. Thank you :)

Nick: Thanks. I'll give it a look-see. Competent resources would be a valued change, right about now.

Deborah: Yeah, I'm currently proselytizing the virtues of Zirh face products. Now if only I had enough hair to style... As for therapists... Most of them are very, very bad at their jobs. Between personal and anecdotal experience, it seems to me that some of the people who should least be in a health care position are offering the most advice. Scary.

Deltcho: Hehe, excellent. I was using a really kickin' soap with olive oil, but I ran out, and it all went to hell. But I'll try your magical lotions.