I'm writing this post sat in bed, which is where I've been for the majority of the last three days. The docetaxel, along with the G-CSF injections I am giving myself to stimulate my white blood cell production have floored me. I don't normally write moany posts, however this one is. So there. I think I'm allowed it. I want to share exactly how bad I've been feeling with the world. I'm ill and feeling sorry for myself and I want everyone to know about it.
Those of you who know me will know that I've coped quite well with chemotherapy so far. The worst of the side effects for me have been feeling quite tired and a little bit 'poisoned'. So the side effects I've experienced from tax so far are a whole new world for me.
After having my first tax on Tuesday I felt fine - better than I normally do after FEC. Then on Wednesday I had the worst stomach pains - think sweating, writhing and moaning - which eventually went off but left me with a tender tum which has steadily got worse. I feel like my insides must be tied in knots. I want to reach in to my abdomen and massage my intestines. Every time I eat or drink anything my stomach protests with placards and a march and leaves me doubled over in pain.
To go with the sore stomach are the bone and muscle pains. A combination of side effects from both the tax and the GCSF injections. Tax is known to cause this type of pain and because the injections are causing my bone marrow to produce more white blood cells it's a double whammy. I feel like I've been in one of these:
Everything hurts. My back, my thighs, my arms, my ribs, hips, shins, neck - even my jaw. My eyeballs hurt. Constant aching and intermittent stabbing pain. The last few days has consisted of me mostly lying horizontal and counting the minutes until I can take more very strong painkillers. I can't stand up straight. Occasionally I've moved to the bathroom to lie in a hot bath, which provides a little temporary relief.
There's also the icky mouth and sore throat. My mouth has that feeling like when you've had that first mouthful of a too hot cup of tea - sore, sensitive and burnt. And a constant horrid taste that when combined with awful stomach pains makes eating really not fun at all.
As someone who has remained quite active during treatment so far, this is all hitting me quite hard. I hate feeling like an invalid. Its like a massive reminder of how ill I am and how huge this all is. I'll admit I've cried - both with the pain and out of total frustration. I'm 32 years old and currently bedridden. I'm fed up and I feel like shit. I'm pissed off too. I'm feeling incredibly irrational and angry at the world. Angry at people who think having breast cancer is 'not the end of the world these days' - that its pink and fluffy and not as serious as other cancers. I'd like to invite them to feel like I have for the last few days and then tell me it's 'not that big a deal'. Pissed off with people just going about their cancer free lives whilst I'm feeling so utterly shite (yes, I said I was irrational). I'm angry at my body for letting me down in the most monumental way. But I have to keep reminding myself that this is temporary, a means to an end, for the greater good blah blah blah.....
So there we have it - treatment for breast cancer. It's definitely big and definately clever. But one thing it isn't is pleasant. Not in the slightest.