Today the log sheets came back out, and the hated Decadron has started, for the last time. On Tuesday I will have my sixth and final chemo infusion. This is certainly a cause for celebration, and I’m doing my best to look forward to it.
But of course, the infusion day is the start of the chemo cycle, not the end. Each successive cycle has been worse than the last (except for cycle number one, when I was jet-lagged), which means cycle six will be the worst one. So although I’m excited that there is only one more infusion left, I’m also quite seriously dreading it. I know it will be awful.
I’ve been trying not to think about it too much. I have heard of cancer patients who get anticipatory nausea before their chemo infusions. Since I have not really been prone to nausea, that is fortunately not happening to me; but the ill/malaise feeling is seared on my memory. I’m keeping busy, and that keeps the anxiety at bay.
So, since the infusion day itself makes for a bad end-of-chemo milestone, I have been thinking about how to mark the end of this ordeal. It could be the hydration appointment on Friday – that’s the end of the worst of it. But I’m still enduring most of the side effects then. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve heard through the survivors’ grapevine that my taste buds may take six months to come back; and some symptoms such as neuropathy may never completely go away.
I’ve decided to allow myself to mentally celebrate all the little milestones along the way. First, Infusion Day itself; then Hydration Day, “I Pooped” Day, Kinda Feeling Normal Day, Going Back to Work Day, No More Daily Naps Day, and Ready to Have a Drink Day.
But the big milestone that I’m really holding out for, that for me will truly mark the final stop on this shit train, is New Hair Growth Day. My hair first started to fall out a little more than two weeks after my first infusion, so I assume it’ll be at least that long – and probably a few weeks longer – before there is any evidence of new growth.