What a Chemotion… by Babette Labuschagne.
The type of cancer I have can only be treated with chemotherapy. There is no other way… yet.
All I knew about chemo therapy was what I’ve seen in the movies.
Hair loss, weight loss, fatigue, nausea…
“Babette, are you getting the Red Devil?”
“You’re probably getting that red devil one.”
Red Devil? What is the Red Devil?
I always thought Chemo was just… you know… Chemo.
But it’s not… there are different types of chemo that treat different types of cancer… and with my luck… I got one of the worst ones… this Red Devil everyone kept telling me about and to add to my already worrying mind… remove weight loss as a side effect and please add weight gain, just to piss me off a little bit more, thank you.
4 Rounds Red Devil.
12 Rounds Taxol.
That was my treatment plan. 6 months.
This red thing is so bad, I had to get an operation where they implanted a chemo port under my collar bone because they don’t want my arteries to burn and collapse.
There is nowhere you can turn to when you hear you’re going to get chemo.
“I can’t say… everybody reacts differently”
And please don’t Dr Google!
Also, I found that in some support groups, people can just end up scaring you…
So you just have to live through it.
So there I was, in the middle of Level 5 lockdown, on my own, getting my first ever Red Devil. Crying… crying… crying.
I am sure the chemo nurse (whom I truly now see as one of my besties) thought I was a little overreacting.
For me chemo felt like a really bad hangover… like I drank everything from white wine to downing a bottle of Jägermeister. And yes, you also only realize you poisoned yourself the next morning.
My scalp really hurt… then…
My hair fell out. (ALL of it… More on that, later)
I was nauseous but I never got sick.
Loss of appetite.
My body ached.
I was really tired.
My nails hurt and discolored a little.
My gums started bleeding once or twice.
I lost my period.
And oh my… those hot flushes. (I once had to run out of Dischem to Woolworths to go and stand next to the fridge)
My skin dried out.
I got a rash on my arm.
Tired. Tired. Tired.
But oh yes, I will do it again. If I have to. Probably…