Ok, so as you read in Part I, Air Cancer Flight 101 came in for a perfect landing. Chemo #1 was complete, and I made the short drive home with a sense of pride, an admitted sense of relief and a continuing feeling of euphoria.
When first I tried to sleep that night, sleep wouldn’t come. Not surprising, since the KH is a long-time insomniac. I would eventually drift off early Thursday morning for a long, restful sleep of … 1.5 hours. Awakening at 7:30 AM, I felt better than I had in four months ! I was at once refreshed, energized, and excited to think that chemo could have such an effect !
My energy was boundless and I felt my euphoria increasing ! I completed several unfinished chores including cleaning out a closet (a chore which I usually accomplish begrudgingly every Leap Year), made a pot of soup from scratch, then stayed for a full 4 hours at an event I had feared I’d be unable to attend ! “Surely,” I thought, upon arriving home at 10:30 PM, “I should get a good night’s sleep tonight.”
The most sleep time I could muster that night was another 1.5 hours, between 5:30 and 7:00 AM. And yet … although the body by now was beginning to drag, the damned euphoria just wouldn’t stop. I have one or two friends who are diagnosed with Manic Depression, and I was beginning to feel like their descriptions of the Manic phase of their illnesses !
Post-chemo morning 2 found me awake at 7:00 AM, perky and ready to take on a cage of tigers ! Now, those who know me well will be the first to tell you that I never have been a morning person and I am most certainly never perky in the morning !!
I craved a cup of coffee, so off I went to Dunkin’ Donuts for a cup of decaf (I had not taken complete leave of my senses and I wanted the taste of coffee, not the caffeine), did a week’s worth of shopping at the adjacent Publix, then arrived home and spent 2 hours on the telephone, with first my sister-in-law, then a writer friend. This despite the fact that I don’t like talking on the telephone !!!!
By now, it was 11:45 AM and my girlfriend called to remind me that we were supposed to meet at a mutual friend’s house for lunch by the pool. Well, of course I went ! I politely refused her offer of a ride. “I’ll probably be kinda tired after an hour or so and I wouldn’t want you to have to leave. I’ll drive myself, thanks. Seeya there!”
I sat myself down poolside in the shade of Gail’s screened patio, ever-mindful of the pre-chemo instructions to not go out in the sun and to wear protective sunglasses. With my new sunglasses perched jauntily on my nose, I slathered SPF 30 all over my exposed body parts.
I dug into my Publix roast beef sub as though I hadn’t eaten in years. And I gnawed my way through 1/3 of a bag of Sun Chips and several dill pickle wedges. My appetite knew no bounds !!!!
So, we girls ate and yakked and ate some more and neither Celeste nor Gail mentioned how much I was talking … and talking … and talking…. To me, it felt as though I had a major case of motor-mouth ! Of course, the 2 of them were having cocktails with their lunch, so they weren’t exactly quiet 😉
As for me, I just couldn’t shut up. Stinking euphoria ! At around 3:45 PM, I actually thought I felt sleep coming on, hugged and kissed the girls goodbye and excused myself to go home.
At home, I slipped into a comfortable nightgown, darkened the room, tuned my TV to Xfinity’s Classical Music station and eased under the covers to sleep.
Freakin’ damned euphoria !!!!
Morpheus was having nothing of it. He didn’t want me in his arms. He refused to help me drift off to mortal Sleep. “To sleep, perchance to dream … ?” “Hell, no!” said Willy Shakespeare. “Not a chance.”
What to do. Well, there’s always eating. So eat I did. A lot. Then, thank God, there’s the computer. So, my gut full and my euphoria still in overdrive, I logged onto Facebook and annoyed everyone there for awhile then began meandering the Internet.
The body was weakening, but the spirit was unwilling to shut down. Sleep would not come and I was determined to find out WHY. I re-read the label on the now-empty 10-pill pre-med bottle: Dexamethasone. Per Google, “a potent synthetic member of the glucocortisoid class of steroid drugs. Among the known side effects are: euphoria … ”
I suppose I should consider myself lucky, because another known, albeit more rare, side effect is “psychosis.”
And a third lovely side effect is “increased appetite.”
Well, no wonder !!!! I had been tricked into taking performance-enhancing drugs !! If the International Olympic Committee came through town, I’d be accused of doping !! Fine upstanding citizen that I am, I was under the influence of drugs !!!!
Finally, I understood what Nurse Carrie had said when I mentioned to her at the end of Chemo #1 that I was “still euphoric and feeling fine.” With a sweet Mona Lisa smiled, she replied, “Just you wait.”
It was finally around noon on Saturday — some 3-1/2 days after my chemo had ended !! — that I was able to get more than 1.5 hours of sleep. I crashed and slept for 5 hours and awoke feeling wonderfully refreshed.
But, I’ll guarantee you one thing: When next I saw my beloved Oncologist, I had just a little bone to pick with him. Regarding the Hippocratic Oath. And Full Disclosure. And his Secret Ingredient Dexamethasone.
I’d been hoping that he’d tell me that the next round of chemo, scheduled for September 7, wouldn’t carry the boatload of Big D that the first had. No such luck.
So, in the meanwhile, I’ve let my household chores go straight to hell because I assure you I will have plenty of time to do them after chemo. Send me any loads of laundry you need done. Or ironing. Or filing. Bring me your car so I can detail it. Let me scrub your toilets !!
And if you should be fortunate enough to have a social engagement with the KH on or after the 7th … just consider yourself forewarned ! I’ll be expecting a large meal and I promise you not to shut up 🙂