Local friends brought dinner regularly during "chemo weeks", and those dinners were a kind of life-line for us. From a practical standpoint, having meals provided meant no menu-planning, grocery trips, or food-prep for us, and minimal cleanup--all of which was tremendously helpful. From a spiritual view though, the meals were concrete evidence that we were not alone in our struggle. If you've ever wondered, "Can a meatloaf really do all that?" I'm here to tell you that it can.
My treatment schedule was always: Week A, chemo for 3 days; Week B, recover. This 2-week pattern would repeat for 12 cycles lasting six months total. Side-effects changed and worsened during the course of treatment, but as bad as it sometimes got, there was always at least one strange event that I wanted to share with friends. This time the strange event was dinner.
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 3:22 PM
Monday's dinner was delivered by a dear friend, J. She is an awesome, awesome cook and unknowingly gave my whole family a huge surprise that we will remember for a long time.
Food wasn't seeming like a great idea, but...I was hungry. So I tried the main dish. OK. I'm eating a little bit! This is going to be fine. The salad looked most wonderfully appealing to me. It had red peppers, strawberries, cucumbers, candied walnuts, and lettuce...and something else. I munched away at the salad, thankful for all the fresh, healthy ingredients. I was only half-aware that one of the "red peppers" in my mouth was softer than I expected. "No matter. It is delicious," is what my brain told me. And then it hit me: I just ate a tomato!
O-M-G! I don't eat tomatoes. I don't even buy tomatoes. My children barely know what a tomato is. My disgust for raw tomatoes is so deep, and so wide that I refer to the tomato as a "tool of the devil" as a matter of course. No reward on earth would entice me to eat a raw tomato. None. Ever.
So when I announced to my five children and loving husband, "Hey. I think I just ate a tomato," there may have been forks dropped onto plates, and jaws hanging open in disbelief. Someone asked, "Who are you, and what have you done with my mother?" My husband whispered, "I don't believe it," and stared blankly in my general direction. I stabbed another piece, in full knowledge this time, with all six family members watching. It was yummy. What in the world? The aliens have invaded my taste-buds. I'm considering haggis next. (Kidding! Do not send haggis.)
. . .
Other weird things are happening... One freakish thing that happened was that my right thumb apparently decided it was DONE being an active member of the hand, and so stopped working. No warning, it just up and "died" during the simplest task. I was merely handing a piece of bread to a kid at the dinner table. Was that too much to ask? The thumb was barely involved! Thankfully, it reconsidered after a minute and began functioning as normal. It does make me wonder what OTHER body parts might decide to do just that very thing in the future. We'll find out, eh?
How any given patient will respond to chemotherapy is unpredictable from one cycle to the next. My thumb "dying" that night was probably the work of Oxaliplatin, which is used for colon and rectal cancers. It is an impish drug; one that would pester me in many ways through the course of treatment and beyond.
* * *
In those early days of revelation, my urologist checked in to advise me on another health matter. I blasted about that, too:
In Other News
My urologist gave me a call. He was all about not forgetting to have lithotripsy on the pesky kidney stone when chemo is over.
Him: We can get it done whenever it's a good time for you.
Me: But really. When you think about it, when IS a good time for lithotripsy?
Him: Oh, I think Monday, Tuesday...
Me: Yeah, yeah. You'll have to catch me first.
Now we're settling in for a long six months. Looking forward to a peaceful October of adjustment and getting well. Enjoying "normal" whenever I find it! Thankful as always, for your love and prayers.
It's now been eighteen months since I broadcast the message above. I'm not too worried about the kidney stone yet.