Wednesday, April 3, 2013

First Chemo Anniversary & First Flu Since Cancer

Exactly one year ago today I was sitting in the chemo chair for the first time. It feels like yesterday that I was tasting the nastiness of the 'Red Devil' drug as it was being pumped into my veins. I remember it like it was last week. How terrified I was. The nausea before I even had my IV put in. The panic I had. My chemo nurse Allison giving me Ativan. The smells of the drugs and that room. My Mum looking shell-shocked. Mike, white as a sheet. Tanis trying to find things to keep me distracted. I remember so much and yet I have forgotten a ton of it too. Because a lot of it was like one big drugged up hazy hangover. But magnified and worse multiplied by a thousand.

The days following that first infusion were a blur. Day 2 is missing because I spent the entire day crying on the couch. Then I took these photos of myself every day after that to track my progress... to capture my current state and monitor how rough I was feeling. And to see if the amount of shit I felt like was viewable in pictures. This first round I was fortunate to feel much more human again by day 9... slowly as the treatment rounds went on, it would take longer. 

I don't know if it's sympathy sickness for what I was going through a year ago... or just pure coincidence that I am under the weather this week... All I know is this is the first time I have gotten any kind of flu or cold in over 16 months. 

It's ironic to think that I had cancer, but never did I feel sick (excluding chemo obviously) And never did I catch a cold or any of the nasty flus that went around. I was spared until now. I like to think it was because I had already had my fair share of feeling rotten, but I think a lot of it had to do with how I have taken care of myself since I was diagnosed. 

But today I feel like absolute crap. It started out as a sore throat Monday... then achy shoulders and a sore collarbone area (paranoia settling in with that one)... and it has progressed into a full blown fever, chills, body aches and overall soreness. Even my skin hurts. I haven't felt anything like this since Taxol (my last chemo drug) and even then, it definitely doesn't come close to the pain I had during that time. I have obviously seen worse times, in other words.

But unfortunately, thanks to cancer, I am having a hard time not worrying or having fear about how I am feeling. Gone are the days where a sore throat was just a sore throat... or when body aches were just body aches. Now it's "What if it's cancer? ...What if it's presenting itself again?" And the ever dramatic... "What if I am actually dying?"

Luckily I have Mike to take care of me and talk some sense into my wild and anxious imagination. He has been green juicing me up and making soups. I'm popping reishi mushroom capsules, oscillococcinum, the occasional Advil and a shit load of vitamin C and D.

It's just a flu bug. It's just my body telling me I was doing too much. It's from running myself dry and it's now catching up to me. It's eating shitty sugary easter junk and me falling off the nutritious food wagon for three days. It's being in the city with too many things to do. It's just what happens when people are exposed to germs. It's just an innocent sick spell.

It's just the flu. Nothing more. And I have definitely seen worse days.


  1. I think you are so wonderful, I think you are a beautiful woman, I think you are so smart, I think you are a crazy fool! Yet I totally feel your craziness. Can a hang nail make cancer come back?

  2. Ashley I SOOO remember how I felt with my kick ass cold I got the week before I went for my PET scan to Vancouver..........and how scared I was that the prescription medication ...would effect the pet scan..( WHICH of course it didnt)
    You are certainly a breath of fresh air.......Thank you for this website....... Thank you for being supportive to us all........
    I am praying you get rid of the nasty flu bug soon,............. Take care my friend <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you Natalie :) I could tell it was you by the .......'s :)

  3. Feel better soon Ashley. I had a similar experience ~ 2 weeks ago and it felt like being in chemo all over again. But that feeling passed, and I hope you also recover ASAP. Someone told me it was good for the immune system to get sick occasionally . . . whatever! If it was a choice, I'd choose health foooooorrrrrever. :)

    Get well soon.

    1. I am with you! Long live healthy days for life! Hugs xo