Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Friend, Red

We go about this the wrong way. We hear the word cancer and think that is the worst thing we could ever hear. Until we hear the word chemo. That actually has a worse rap that cancer does.

Five years ago, I was convinced my oncologist was trying to murder me...drip by drip....

I looked at my chemo as the death sentence and cancer didn't seem so bad compared to it. It doesn't help that cancer doesn't make you feel sick. In fact, with the exception of a lump or two, you feel fine. Until they start pumping toxic chemicals into your body. THEN you feel sick. OY do you feel sick! At least, five years ago you did. That was before Emmend and Aloxi and all the other agents that have been developed by chemo's new PR firm. They are working hard to improve its image. They have a long way to go - too much bad press to overcome.

In these five years since then, however, I have grown to hate cancer. I hate it with such an intensity that it burns in me. I have lost too many friends to it. I have seen young kids go without mothers because of it. I have seen the suffering. And I want revenge. I want to make cancer hurt as much as it has hurt those I love.

With that knowledge and basal gut instinct, how in hell could I hate chemo? Chemo is cancer's worst enemy. It is what I can use to get "revenge." It will disguise itself in my blood stream, slip between the DNA and take out each and every one of the Beast's terror cells.

I love chemo.

Tomorrow I start Adriamycin. It is an anthracycline type chemotherapeutic drug and it is one of the strongest made. It is also red in color. So it has acquired names from cancer patent's over the years such as, "the red devil", "hi-test Hawaiian punch", etc. It has many side effects, and I may get all of them. Tomorrow at this time I may be overcome by them. But I will still love it. Because no matter how bad I feel, the cancer will be feeling worse- because it is DEAD.

Me and my friend, Red, are going to kick some cancer ass tomorrow. We intend on winning.

Cancer hates that.


Jacqniel said...

I like your attitude, girl! Go kick ass, it deserves it!
Prayers for little side effects and quick recovery.

Jenster said...

You continue to be such an inspiration! I'll be praying for you and keeping you in my thoughts.

danahollis said...

Hope you are doing ok. ;)

The effects from my Adriamycin/Cytoxin cocktail started on the evening of the third day and lasted for about 5-6 days. Then I crawled out of bed and felt fine until the next go around.

Thinking of you!!!

Gina Maisano said...

THANK YOU Jacqniel, Jen, and Dana!

It went ok! I took the big tube of the Adriamycin and held it up to my mouth and told it to get in there and kill every cancer cell it could find!

Today I go for a shot- Nuelasta or Nuepogen- I can't remember. I get one every day after treatement day.

I am more afraid of that because I am scared of needles! have been since I was a kid!


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to check on you and how you are feeling after your chemo.

I found you through breastcancerorg but I refuse to be a part of it anymore.

You have been an inspiration to hundreds of women. You helped me the first day I posted and pulled me through chemo one step at a time and gave me my life back.

There are unkind, jealous women there who hate the fact that you are so well admired and loved. They are outnumbered by 200 to 1. But the fact that they kept that phsycotic vitriol up for so long has made me see that you seem to be the only one who cares about the rest of us.

I will follow you here and if it is ok, I will post my questions and concerns here to you directly.

You are my hero.


Kelly said...

oh, the red devil. i had that in combo with cytoxan the first time around. every time i see red punch, i think of that nasty stuff.

chemo shots for everyone!!!

did you get a mugascan done beforehand?

i've heard from others that the neulasta/neupogen can cause some bone achiness.

thank goodness for all the anti-meds we've got to help us through.

too bad they can't come up with an anti-hair loss one.

hope you're feeling as well as you can and have a great weekend!

Gina Maisano said...

Hi Val, I am glad you could find me here. I am here for you wherever and whenever you want. Don't blame BC.org though, they really are a wonderful organization and give so much to all of us. There are just a few bad apples that are unhappy with their lives and have nothing better to do than cause a fuss. That is a reflection on themselves, not BC.org.

I am happy you are here, but don't totally give up the 'hood- the women there are wonderful sisters.

To answer your question- yes! Please ask whatever you like. I am happy to answer and all the other gals who come here will probably join in too! Just think what will happen if I actually knew how to run this thing! LOL!- love, g


The Nuelasta is kicking my butt. The bone pain is like lightening bolts in my chest and back. I won't be drinking any red punch ever again either!

Yesterday was my last day on the decadron so only God knows what will happen today!

How are you feeling?


Kelly said...

As much as I hate the Decadron (and I DESPISE it), I hate the crash that occurs once I stop taking it. They've let me lower my dose from 6 days to 3, so that's cool...but then the crash happens quicker and harder.

I am feeling better and better every day. I am constantly tired, but not feeling sick right now.

Hang in there, girl...the first time always sucks the worst as you figure it all out.


Gina Maisano said...

So I will just take it that the shakes I am having is the crash? It is funny, I do not remember this from five years ago... probably because I was non-stop puking for the first three days and nights.

I also am red! I look like I have been sunbathing and got a bad burn.

I couldn't get the MUGA because of my port being messed up but they did an echo. He couldn't see much through the construction site of my tissue expanders but we decided to go for it!

So glad you are feeling better!

If I am up to it later I will make an updated post... something like Red is still my friend or something!


Kelly said...

The 'shakes' as is you're shivering or as is all shaky from the inside out?

I get that shaky from the inside out feeling as I am crashing. Feels a little like a really bad hangover. Only different. And worse since you didn't get to have fun to feel that way.

Does the redness itch or feel hot? I get a weird redness too. Sometimes I itch from the inside out (nothing there to itch on the outside). Benadryl helps with that.

Hope the yuckiness passes soon...glad you're not puking this time!


Gina Maisano said...

It is just as you describe!
The shakes, etc.

I do look like a lobster though- which is kind of healthy looking in a way! Better red than green!

But I am putting Neulasta on my list of drugs I hate!


Anonymous said...

By now, your first red devil infusion is behind you. I hope your SEs are minimal to none. I finished A+C about three weeks ago and have moved on to Taxotere.
Keep yourself hydrated.