I was supposed to get treatment yesterday, but after getting a message to my doctor, he agreed that I should hold off treatment for this cycle. So, I'm getting a little "mini-break" until May 9th. I'm currently on antibiotics to fight off an infection after having a tooth extracted last week. Many people don't talk about a lot of the devastating side effects of chemotherapy. Often cancer patients and the medical community only talk about nausea and hair loss. What they don't tell you is that there are a ton of other side effects. Two that I am dealing with right now are devastating to me.
The first is damage to my vocal cords. From the time I was very young until I was in my mid-twenties, I was in a variety of dancing-singing ensembles, choirs, vocal solo competitions, and even the California Honor Choir. I won many competitions and singing was such a huge part of my life. Now, I just want to cry. I was a first soprano and now I am lucky if I can sing Alto at best and even then I sound strained. This may not seem like a big deal to some people and believe me I am thankful to even be alive, but it makes me so angry that it is just one more thing that cancer has robbed from me.
The second is that after almost three years of continued treatment, chemotherapy is destroying my teeth. Chemotherapy not only works to kill the bad cells in your body, but it destroys the good ones too. Coupled with that knowledge and the side-effect of dry-mouth, I am dealing with some very serious dental issues. It's hard not to be angry and of course sad that I seem to be dealing with one thing after the other. I'm only 37 years old - how did I get to this place in my life?
Of course, there is also the mental aspects of treatment. If is wearing on me both physically and emotionally. I'm heartbroken that many people that I thought would stand by me have truly abandoned me. Cancer really defines your relationships and tells you who are your "true" family and friends. I have also been a very strong person and have a very high tolerance for pain. I do not complain much and I push myself to the absolute limit. I do everything that a person that is not sick does. Its to the point now that I think many people forget that I am actually sick. In many ways, I am grateful for that. I like things to be done a certain way and I have a hard time believing that anyone can do things the way I like them done.
So, I guess it is a good thing that I am getting this "mini-break". I need to the time to get myself together both mentally and physically. To let go of the things that I can not control. To go through the grieving process of the things that I have lost and then move on. It's all I can do.
So, a huge thank you to all of my friends and family that have stood by me when I needed it the most. As always, I thank those that have kept me in their thoughts and prayers. I consider myself to be a very lucky person and so thankful for each and every day.
Until next time,
Stage 4 Colon Cancer: The Great Isolator
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