Three Years Later and I Still Got Cancer Sh*t To Deal With

Sorry about my extended absence. Despite having managed to complete my fourth cycle of ICE for the T-cell Lymphoma, I ended up being hospitalized afterwards due to shockingly low blood counts all across the board.

It was a struggle since my body did not want to trespond to any of the treatments (and I got plenty of transfusions – whole blood, platelets, fresh frozen plasma – still it didn’t take too well). A week later I finally was released and just been recovering at home…and been a butt about it.

But now that May is here and I am going in for my autologous stem cell transplant, decided I should blog a bit more earnestly about all of this.

So here we go, back on the blogging saddle again.

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Diet, Exercise, and Showering…

So I am back from the third round of my ICE therapy for this annoyingly “low-grade” T-Cell lymphoma.

(if it’s so low grade, why the hell is my chemo kicking my ass?)

The thing about chemo is that you shouldn’t let it throw you off of your regular activities – namely, eating, moving, and taking a shower once in a while.

Chemo drugs are essentially poison, ’cause, let’s face it, the whole point of chemo is to try and poison all the crap cells (which are still YOUR cells) before the healthy stuff gets taken in as well (this is obviously simplifying the shit out of the whole process).

Food is the big thing you have to take care of, not only eating things you like (thanks to chemo my mouth only likes things that are slightly sweet, but that causes problems ’cause desserts still don’t carry enough nutrition in them to sustain the body through the recovery.) With healthy enough food (here healthy means it has to be nutritious, I don’t care if you do it via biryani or via broccoli, when you are recovering from chemo, almost everything is fair game to be consumed).

The other thing is, you gotta keep moving. Chemo has you feeling like crap and too tired to do anything else either, so you gotta force yourself out of bed, just walk to the living room, take in some sunlight from a different window, the body needs the movement.

Then there is showering, yeah, don’t forget to shower, you might not realize it, but your body is most likely exuding the smell of medicines as your body is filtering that shit out.

Medicines don’t smell good, believe me, they smell like you are one step away from mummification.

So yeah, that’s my quick and quiet advice on how to deal with shitty chemotherapy, ’cause I didn’t follow any of this advice and had to spend an extra week at the crappy hospital (my hospital is legit crap, but what can you do?).

Til later folks!

Preparation by Proxy (Part 2)

Sorry for the delay between posts folks, whenever I have good days I kind of just enjoy myself, but now that I have a couple of days before I do my next round of chemo, it’s time to get some posts up, I know you all have been dying to read more of my thoughts.

So I previously talked about how my aunt had cancer and how she dealt with it basically prepared me for this pain in the ass problem (the nerve damage though was a bonus that I didn’t account for).

So my aunt was kind of a grump with the cancer (in retrospect, I feel like I was overly harsh towards her, though to be fair, I am considerably less grumpy than she is…but mainly because of how she was).

My aunt’s cancer was terrible, and it wore her down physically, and she was a person who always needed to work, so being weak and shackled with tiredness and all this pain in the ass stuff that comes with being a cancer patient must have been beyond torturous for her (I realize that now, back then, her constant complaining got a bit wearying after a while).

So when I finally got my diagnosis of cancer (it was a long and arduous diagnosis, will tell you about it one day), I strengthened my resolve…’cause no one needs to hear my whine and complain as I go through chemo. Instead I decided to face this problem like I faced a lot of things, with sheer “fuck-you-let’s-grin-and-bear-it” attitude.

It’s difficult and I can totally see not everyone able to do it. But if you can, go for it…it makes for talking so much easier. When you are the goofy one and laughing and showing things aren’t as bad as they seem (in fact it was terrible, I was stressed out all the time, but having people laughing at my general weirdness really helped…rather than them being worried all the time) your brain sometimes just goes with the flow and makes you think that it isn’t that bad either.

So yeah, I wanted to approach my cancer (and related troubles) in exactly the opposite way my aunt did…it’s why I do it head on and smiling all the time.

(I kind of wish I hadn’t run out of money though, but being unemployed for three years does that to you…)

Even now, gotta keep smiling, being goofy, and don’t let it get you down. That’s my advice.

Though if you need to cry, go for it too, crying feels good (but don’t cry all the time, you are going to get dehydrated).

Mentality

The thing about cancer is that it is a mental game.

Your body is crapping out on you, no matter how healthy you were, your body is now rebelling and it’s decided to take your brain with you.

Don’t let the bastard win.

The only thing you can do is prep to fight. This may sound cheesy (’cause it is) but letting yourself fall into despair is not really worth it (this of course doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get sad or depressed or miserable even).

But in the end what’s the point?

Being miserable, being sad, being depressed only makes you feel worse and just make people pity you more and just make the whole situation more dour.

So fuck it

Take a big step, greet the damn cancer or what have you with a bear hug…and squeeze the life out of that asshole.

There is another good thing about being positive…you see, I am not a very positive guy by nature (I tend to overthink things), but the face that I show is one of positivity, ’cause it keeps people from saying stupid things (“be strong”, “life is full of battles”…ugh) and they actually respond to you and make you feel like a regular human being.

So if all else fails, take that with you, you get better conversations with a positive face!

Hope and Starlight

I hate visitors at the hospital.

I know people mean well, but there is this awkwardness as people try to figure out a comfortable place to sit and I lay there like a living corpse, turning my head to show that I am happy that they have come to visit.

Then there is the “talk” – which basically comes in two flavors, where they ask me questions that make me wish my doctors were so concerned (the doctors in Bangladesh are…fucking shitty, but that’s a different blog post) or the other type of conversation…the inane small talk as I can hear the clock in their heads count down to when they have done enough visiting.

My mom tells me that they are being kind, which, yeah, I know, but really, I am okay with no one visiting – it might have to do with me being used to being alone most of my life (mentally, I of course have wonderful friends, but I have a solitary, selfish headspace).

I don’t want to deal with the awkward pauses and uhmms and ahhhs as people try and figure out what to say as I pray that I don’t crap myself in front of them. I don’t like seeing my mother trying to pretend that they are guests in our home and be congenial (we are at a hospital, my white blood count is through the floor, I really shouldn’t be exposed to anyone, so yeah, you not being here would be better actually) to them when in fact she just wants to sit and pray and hope that I don’t collapse again.

The worst question is when they ask, “are you getting better?”

That manic, wild look of hope in their eyes, it’s kind of frightening. I have to get better, ’cause if I don’t, then if they ever get sick, they don’t have a hope of surviving it. I don’t want to be your beacon of hope, I just want to get through my day, unannoyed, and somewhat functional.

I sometimes find myself comparing myself (’cause I got a literary mind, I like writing stories, even if it is about myself) to starlight. Alone, in the darkness, shining, just for myself (exoplanets be damned).

I am not your hope, I am your starlight – I don’t guide you, you just have to follow after and figure out the path on your own…

 

It’s All About Prep Work

I kept putting off updating the blog, mainly because been depressed lately.

It’s hard to keep being depressed, especially when things were on the up and up for the most part – I had started a job, I was socializing (okay that was hellish…so was the job too ’cause my schedule sucked, but what the hell, I am freakishly powerful so it didn’t matter that much…well, except for the fact that the job itself was terrible, but the state of teaching and students in Bangladesh these days is a whole different rant), and I finally had money in my pocket.

Now, I got pretty much one of that.

*sigh*

Anyways, will complain about those things a bit more, but at a later time and probably more vociferously.

Despite shaving my head, my hair stubble keeps falling out – it’s kind of annoying.

Anyways, so tomorrow is round two of my chemotherapy and I have a better game plan in place. Got my diet ready (food is ridiculously important since the chemo last time wiped out virtually every bit of my blood [I exaggerate of course, I had some blood left, but it wasn’t enough to keep my body running well enough] and so a good diet from the beginning should go a long way (when I first did R-CHOP for what was then B-Cell Lymphoma [currently am doing ICE] I had terrible stomach upset, to the point that not eating was preferable…it didn’t help much, but mentally felt better at least – I thought I could head all that off by going with a simple diet that didn’t affect my stomach, it just kind of made things worse ’cause my body wasn’t getting the right nutrients and so I crashed two days later).

Anyways, food! Gotta have a good variety of protein a nice range of veggies (sweet potatoes are a godsend) and just not stress about it.

Reminds me, I should put up some recipes on this blog, even for those without cancer might enjoy them.

Finally Feeling It…

Yesterday started off alright, I was getting together materials that I need to start a fund-raising campaign, ’cause am seriously broke and this treatment is draining all of the cash my parents have and it is just weighing down on me.

But that’s for a different time.

So yeah, the day was going okay, but then a mundane moment led to my world falling away.

I took a shower.

As I shampooed my hair, it started coming out in clumps – that was a moment that I had to hold back on freaking out on. Sure I was experiencing hairfall, I was going to shave my head anyway, but seeing it come out in fist fulls…it got to me, it all hit me, I have cancer.

And the chemotherapy is kicking my ass.

I shaved my head (I think I did it badly, but really, just wanted to stop seeing it falling out in clumps).

Shaving my head the first time was me taking charge, getting ahead of what was coming. This time, with it striking first, for the first time I felt that I had cancer.

And I am utterly alone.

How much can I tell my friends, “hey holy shit do I feel like crap?” Either they won’t be able to give me the comfort I am looking for or they will stress over thinking about how to comfort me.

I don’t want to be more of a burden than I already am.

So yeah, I have cancer, and right now, my life is the shittiest thing I can think of that isn’t actual shit.