Brita Corradini: Paying the Piper
There are many honeymoon periods throughout life. I was privy to a treatment-free-new-baby honeymoon phase. After my fourth round of chemo, I happily anticipated six weeks of home-bound happiness. And I thoroughly enjoyed each day. My forth round came a little too quickly, but I met it with a strong resolve to power through the next four treatments as I had with the first four. Upon inspection before I was hooked up, my oncologist joyfully exclaimed that she was unable to find the tumor. My body had obviously put the medicine to good use, and I’m feeling certain lifestyle changes playing a role as well. This post-birth cycle of chemo was a new cocktail and the side effects were unknown. My sit-down time chalked up to five hours for this first round, and I have to admit, it wasn’t so bad. I was able to take a nap, eat my lunch in peace and respond to emails from months (and years) ago. I ended feeling rested and ready to take on the world… or at least take on my household, cats and kids!
Turns out I got a little help from the steroids I had been taking. I actually had an insane amount of energy, and was cooking and cleaning like it was going out of style. I was so excited that I was once again beating the odds of the side effects. Then the pied piper came to collect. I’m not sure if it was the chemo or the injection they gave me to increase my white blood cell count, but I hit an extreme low point. About three days after treatment, I woke up feeling like a tractor hit me. The kind of tractor that has all those spikes to break up the hard earth. I had flu-like achiness and felt like my energy had bottomed out. I refused to be bed-bound, so I still got up every morning and put on a decent outfit. Granted, I didn’t leave the house that often, but I felt like it sent my body a message that I could if I wanted to. I did succumb to popping a few Advil around 5:00 pm. Since drinking isn’t really an option, and 5:00 is the witching hour for both babies, I needed something to see me through to the other side. The other side being when everyone is in bed and I can lay on the couch like a corpse without having to play peek-a-boo or read “Biscuit and the Baby.”
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that my streak came to a halt. My nights are stretched between two babies and their dinners and baths and bedtimes, and now included feeling nasty. So, once again, I searched high and low for that pesky silver lining. What I found was that the other two weeks feel even better. There is a powerful spirit inside pushing me to get through each day when I’m under the weather. Then, just when I think I will need to check into an institution for lack of sanity, my body is back to normal and my happy temperament along with it. And now I look ahead at the three remaining rounds and it all seems pretty doable. The piper will be paid and I will be free to write about other things, like unicorns and hot fudge sundaes!