So here goes. First, I'm starting this post with the lesson on world domination, because for me at least, it is the key to understanding the good news/bad news.
|This is my new 'do. Or at least, until it all falls out. Hopefully that will happen within the next week so I can quit clogging the drain in the shower every day!|
Now, I'm not saying the British had a genetic mutation that made them go rogue, but the people of the United Kingdom were told by their leaders that they were doing their good Christian duty as they went forth and subjugated all sorts of peoples in Africa and Asia, and tried to teach them British customs and religious practices.
Never mind that the leaders may have been more interested in gaining resources and creating markets for their mass-produced goods.
Similarly, cancer cells create a little group, a tumor where they don't really belong, and they keep replicating because that's what cells do. Unfortunately, cancer cells don't see the big picture because they are so focused on that one task of replicating. They use up resources, and for my type of cancer, if they are lucky, they then go off to colonize other organs and the bones if they can catch a ride in the blood stream.
Just like an empire-building nation.
The British believed they were supposed to go out and teach Indians how to dress, talk, act British. Cancer cells are on much the same mission: they see how "wrong" regular cells are in their behavior, and they try to replace them with more cancer cells. Unfortunately, they use up resources faster than regular cells do. And because they're into the short-term goal (hello, British plantation farming in Africa where the land isn't sustainable with the cash crops introduced), cancer cells don't grasp that they are actually destroying the very being that provides them with the resources that keep them alive.
|I sort of feel like I'm channeling Lawrence of Arabia here. Fabulous fabric sent to me by my sister, so I can be bald in style. I'm digging all the headwear, and sort of wish we lived in an era where it was more prevalent.|
Hey, I have cancer so indulge me. ;)
Now that you've got all that under your belts, I can talk about how it relates to me.
Since cancer cells are working faster to create more of themselves, one of the most effective ways to slow them down is to pump the body full of chemicals that are toxic to them. Their cycle gets interrupted and they can't carry on the way they were before if chemotherapy is effective.
Unfortunately, cancer cells aren't the only cells that reproduce rapidly. The mouth, the small and large intestines, hair follicles, and blood (bone marrow) also have cells with faster production rates, and their cycle gets interrupted, too. That's why my hair is falling out and why food tastes really bad to me the first week and a half after treatment. It's also why I have been eating almost NO fiber -- no veggies, few fruits, less wheat bread, and so on -- and why I have to get a Neulasta shot 24-72 hours after each chemo treatment. It forces my bone marrow to up the output of white blood cells, but I still have to be extremely careful to avoid any type of infection.
|If you happen to be a fan of Dr. Who, then you already know that fezzes are cool. If not, then this photo will surely convince you.|
To sum up, you've had the lesson (cancer doesn't know it's bad, because it's been convinced that it is supposed to take over the body), and you've gotten the bad news (water and most foods taste bad to me, I can't eat a normal "healthy" diet right now, and my stomach gets terribly crampy like I've eaten too many sugar free chocolates the first week or so after treatment). I'm also going to mention here that I'm borderline anemic, because it could mean I have to get a blood transfusion at some point. Neulasta doesn't affect red blood cell counts or hemoglobin, and even with this shot, my white blood cell count is pretty low during the middle week of each cycle. Sick people of the world, be thoughtful about taking care of yourself and anyone you may come into contact with.
|I know the quality of the photos here leaves a lot to be desired, but I wanted to get the good news out as quickly as possible, rather than waiting around for awesome photos. Love the skulls of this head scarf -- made for me by my grandmother!|
I think I can bear the upset stomach for the remaining cycles. So far, I seem to have only one day of feeling really awful, and a week of feeling meh after each treatment. If that means that the surgeon can take fewer lymph nodes and reduce the chance of damaging the nerve that runs along the back of my right arm, I can deal with these short-lived side effects.
Now, you may all open your test booklets to the first page for the practice question. Do not skip ahead, do not mark outside the bubbles, and do not speak to your neighbors . . .