Here I am one day away from entering a new phase of my new reality---the start of my chemotherapy regimen to rid myself of Hodgkin’s Disease. I must admit, I’m eager to start because once I do, I will be that much closer to healing and getting rid of cancer. Once I start, there will be no turning back, only looking ahead to getting to the other side of the this disease. However, I do some anxieties around facing potential horrid side effects from the chemo. Naturally, I will enter my treatment with a positive attitude, but I am only human. It wouldn’t be normal if I didn’t experience any anxiety.
I’ve already nipped one potential side effect in the bud---hair loss. Well, sort of. I did shave my locs off because I didn’t want to give the chemo a chance to rob me of them. But there is still the potential for facial hair loss; eyebrows, eyelashes, mustache, beard, everything. Again, I’m staying positive, but I also have to be realistic about the possibilities. Other side effects of chemotherapy may include nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite/taste buds, peripheral neuropathy and others I won’t get into. Just know that while my chemo treatment is effective in killing off the cancer cells, it also kills off healthy cells, hence all the side effects.
The treatment being administered to me intravenously (3-4 hour infusions) every two weeks for six months is a combination of four chemo drugs (ABVD) Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine, and Dacarbazine. Almost since it was first established in 1975, the ABVD regimen has been considered the 'gold standard' for the treatment of virtually all stages of Hodgkins lymphoma. My prognosis is good and I just have to go through the treatment, side effects and all, like any other medication for any other ailment.
Disturbingly enough, one of the chemo drugs, Bleomycin is on national back-order! But I have such a great doc that he was able to call the director of a pharmacy and have it available to me. Since I brought the medication home, I’ve studied the little clear bottle (pictured below) and its contents--the harmless looking white powder, but revered its power in helping to kill such a powerful and dreadful disease.
I don’t know what the days, weeks and months ahead will bring but I will fight this with every fiber of my being with dignity and grace. What I know is true is that I have an overwhelmingly loving partner, friends (both real and virtual), family and even total strangers on various internet Lymphoma support groups. The support I’ve received has been like nothing I have ever experienced before. It feels good to know I have so many rooting for me and my full recovery. I feel truly blessed.
Tomorrow will be a new day, but I will hold my head up high and look towards the sky and all the beauty that surrounds me. I’ll get through it, and soon enough this will all be in my past but I will be armed with many life lessons given to me along the way as a result of this experience, thereby making me a better and more enlightened human being.
I WILL get to the other side of this dis-ease!