Monday, 13 June 2011

Tired, Sore And Itchy

There was a time when child number one would insist that child number two was "zero". We tried desperately to explain the whole month-age-thing. There is an understanding now but it was pretty funny. Well, I guess I'll need to explain that once chemo is given you speak in terms of days: days one and two are the toughest; days three to six you will feel tired; days seven through to ten are low immune days and days eleven and until the next treatment your body is recovering and likely to be the "healthiest" in the cycle. With the first two days clear, I was approaching the days of lethargy.

I definitely felt tired. And for me, that meant I watched the children play, I moved around the house slowly and I lazed about while my children...I cringe as I type this...watched movies (How can I call myself a mother? Yeah, yeah. I'm dealing with this. I'm ok with it, really). Wow! If this was my chemo experience I'm sweet as.

It was then that my mouth started to get sore. I wasn't even far in and I was getting so sick and tired of rinsing my mouth. After breakfast, after lunch, after dinner and before bed I rinsed my mouth out alternately with water and bi-carb soda, and water and salt. I had noticed that my mouth was becoming quite sensitive, and acidic and spicy food were just no longer worth it. My lips were very dry and the sides of my mouth sore enough that it was uncomfortable to open. For this reason, the old vaseline bottle has remained close by for continual application. The yuckiest thing though is that my electronic toothbrush has remained untouched. It did such a a great job of cleaning. Now, I have been reduced to a soft-bristled toothbrush and it really is not the same.

Clearly the most embarrassing of all my experiences so far began to unfold at the start of my low immune days. If I type this really quickly, please promise that you will read it quickly. Let's get it out of the way...ummm...well...I had an itchy bottom. Born a lady, raised a lady and maintaining my ladyship has always been important to me. So, with that in mind, there was no way I was going to scratch. I applied nappy rash cream and found that sitting down alleviated the problem. It was only temporary though. One cannot sleep sitting up. I was so grossed out to think that it might be worms (although chemo was likely to kill anything living) and far too embarrassed to see a doctor (it may just go away). Obviously shameless though because I have decided to publicise the condition on the World Wide Web... I did eventually raise the issue with the Cancer Care Co-ordinator from the hospital who had a great laugh. I kid you not. She had a hearty laugh on the phone and recommended that I apply rectinol (could the product have a more conspicuous name?). And, for those of you that are familiar with this cream, I was only using it because I had an itch NOTHING else! Fortunately, the mother-in-love (a term for the mother-in-law that you love) made the purchase. After a few days, I recovered. So what was all that about? Just another, one of the more glamourous, side effects of chemo.

I really don't want to come across as a whinger. The side effects that I have mentioned were not debilitating and I certainly could have had a lot worse. But, that has been my experience so far. I can't complain.

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