Side Effects

I am not feeling well. I was fine until Friday after my infusion, when non-stop stomach cramps and bloating made it painful to eat or drink almost anything. In seven days I have lost nine lbs., a dangerous diet which can lead to organ failure even in the healthiest of circumstances. I sleep 13-16 hours a day.

I should have called Kaiser after 48 hours no food/drink, but I’m macho and stubborn and stupidly optimistic and I think I can tough out anything.

On the seventh day after chemo, I finally spoke to a nurse who said I should haul ass to Urgent Care ASAP.

Urgent Care means ninety minutes in a waiting room with way too many screaming children and a cornucopia of infectious diseases when my immune system is at its lowest. No thank you.

The next three days, two Kaiser nurses and the chemo pharmacist phoned to ask if I was feeling better, and why didn’t I go to Urgent care?

Thank you for calling, I’m eating and drinking now and feeling much better.

This chemo is hitting a lot harder than chemo in 1998, possibly because of the drugs themselves, but also because I’m eighteen years older and my body doesn’t bounce back as fast.

I’m not a good patient. It’s difficult for me to ask for help. However, this is cancer, this is chemotherapy, and I really need to ditch the machismo before something serious happens.