The dark, mournful figure of Grief has been elbowed to the side of the stage today by stark Fear, who clutches at me with chilly, grey fingers. Or maybe it's the cold rain outside. Today, it's not the sorrow at the thought of dying and leaving my family to cope without me that washes over me; it's the terrifying idea of how much pain and destruction my body is in for as I embark on this course of radiation and chemotherapy. It's the idea of laying waste to my body with drugs that sound like weed killers. Drugs that will give me nausea and mouth sores. Drugs that will rob me of my energy and my white blood cells and my hair.
I dreamed last night that I started chemo without knowing anything about my treatment plan. I just swallowed a couple of big, white pills in the doctor's office and waited to see what would happen. I kept asking for the plan, and a nurse finally handed me a piece of legal pad paper with a hand-written schedule on it. I found out I'd be taking a very toxic double-drug combination every day ... until November. Six months! I freaked out. It turned out the pills were just the less-toxic half of the combo, and I asked if I could just do that one and not the other. In fact, I think I demanded it. I woke up feeling desolate and afraid.
I wore a new, green, cashmere sweater to my appointment with Dr. S. this morning. Somehow, I feel I should be wearing bright, life-filled colors right now, not black. Maybe the rainy day influenced that choice, too. It looks like I'm going to have two weeks of moderate-level radiation on my hip to alleviate some of the pain before starting chemo. So at least I have a little more time to prepare myself emotionally and mentally (if not physically) for what's ahead. Dr. S. said that he would recommend starting me on a combination of Doxil and Ifosfamide, which, indeed, is a fairly toxic combination. Thinking about it makes me want to throw up. It sounds like I could probably just start with Doxil, too (like in my dream); we'll probably discuss it further as we go along.
On the plus side, Dr. S. signed off on the form for me to get a handicapped parking sticker. So at least I've got that going for me. (Well, that, and tons of people who are coming forward, so generously, to help us.)