I'm still feeling pretty good. Relative term, of course, but I figure things could be a lot worse. My counts aren't coming back anytime soon, which is to be expected, but antibiotics and platelets can work wonders.
Most mornings I'll shuffle over to my bathroom. An old family friend asked me what I'd really wanted while I was in the hospital; I figured since I'd be spending the vast majority of my time in bed, and I usually just slept in shorts and a tee-shirt, that some nice pajamas would be good. She bought three or four pairs of these really comfortable cotton pajamas. Pants and a button-up top. Classic. White, with thin blue stripes. I'll shuffle out of bed most mornings with my comfortable pajamas and my bare feet on the cool floor and I'll get my first puke of the day done and over with. I'm not eating much. Haven't been eating much. It's one of the gradual things that you don't notice when it's happening -- your appetite slowly vanishing, replaced with a constant uneasy emptiness and this taste like sucking on keys. It's no big deal, I figure, just part of the package.
Sometimes I'll exacerbate my first morning puke by drinking cold apple juice. We all know what it does to my stomach. The juice is cold and I slam it down. I know that I'll be puking in half an hour, if that. It doesn't matter: I'm not going to throw anything up anyway, so when my second puke comes a little while later, I'll just excuse myself and close the bathroom door. It's a routine. The chemo drips. It drips constantly. My appetite vanishes. These things are expected. The nausea is, of course, textbook. I'm hungry but I'm not and when I'm not I'll just throw up again anyway. It doesn't even occur to me that I've stopped eating completely. Those rare times that I am hungry, my throat rebels, a gag reflex with almost anything I try to swallow.
We have the requisite discussions with my nutritionist. A new bag, bright yellow, is introduced at the top of my little buddy. "Bacon and eggs" is the joke. All the nutrients that I'm unable to get down my throat will now slide in through my handy, multi-purpose Hickman. They won't make the nausea go away. No, no. The chemo is all about kicking my stomach around six ways from Sunday. Now that I'm not eating, though, this bag will ensure that I'm not skin and bones when I finally get out of the hospital.
I'm not trying to be glib about these things. When I say "it's no big deal," of course I don't mean that it's perfectly normal to wake up and vomit, then make your way to the bathroom every few hours to just kneel over the toilet again and again, dry heaving because you haven't been able to eat for days or weeks or whatever. Yes, that part of it absolutely sucks. But put it in context. I'm not at home, nor am I would one would necessarily consider in the best of health. Everybody and their brother knows that when you're getting chemotherapy there will be some nausea. It's not as if the vomiting is somehow unexpected or out of the ordinary.
We're trying to stay big picture here. I'm not really worried about all of these side effects. Some of them I don't even mind terribly much. Chemo makes me puke. It creates this kind of metallic taste in my mouth. So what? It also gets rid of the leukemia. Sounds like a fair trade to me.