What a chemo weekend really looks like

by Lesley on May 29, 2012 · 4 comments

in cancer

You’ve wondered what happens on a chemo weekend, but you’ve been afraid to ask.

It’s okay. I would be too.

Since it’s Jonathan’s very last chemo weekend, I suppose it’s time for an inside peak.

There is a lot of sitting around on chemo weekends. He takes his anti-nausea meds about four times each day. In between, he drinks only blue Gatorade or boxed apple juice. He does not drink water. Very occasionally he’ll have a coffee or iced tea.

Thanks to Zophran there is no barfing, at least, there hasn’t been since that one awful week in December where all three of us got taken down—him by chemo, me with the stomach flu, and her with typical infant reflux.

The spitting starts as soon as we get home on Friday afternoon. He keeps a cup close by. For the first few treatments I’d give him a really hard time about the spitting until I realized I was being completely NOT supportive. Now I just close my eyes, take a deep breath, and think of cuddly puppies. Works every time.

The TV goes on and stays on for a lot of the weekend.

On Fridays his face is pale. On Saturdays he is flushed . On Mondays he gets a fever that we worry about until it goes away, usually around 10:00pm.

He has the appetite of a pregnant woman. On Fridays, it’s like the first trimester. Nothing sounds appetizing, and nothing really gets eaten. On Saturdays and Sundays, it’s hit or miss too. On those days he complains about Trader Joe’s pizzas and Taco Bell, telling me he will never eat either again because it makes him nauseous to even think about them. By Monday the cravings kick in. He says things like, “You know what sounds amazing right now? A McDonalds’ cheeseburger, or maybe a pop tart!” and then he’ll see an item I’ve ordered and say, “Mmmmm….that looks really good. That looks better than what I got. We should trade. I have cancer.”

Let it be known: I don’t ever rarely fall for the cancer card.

On chemo weekends I am often lonely, especially at 6:30am when it’s just Anna and I. We will try to run errands to let him sleep. She is a harder baby on chemo weekends. I haven’t determined if she really is more difficult, or if I see her through a different lens.

For example, last night, for the first time, she pooped in the bath.

I heard the whole thing go down, and then of course I saw it too. Shrieking and laughing soon followed. Jonathan came into the bathroom and then immediately walked out to avoid gagging.

When she fell asleep, after I’d bleached the entire tub, I took a bubble bath. I figured the tub was extremely clean by that point so I consumed four slices of a frozen pizza from Trader Joe’s while sitting in there.

Today is Tuesday. He’s usually back at work by now, tired but happy to resume his everyday life. Today though he is home with us for one last day of recovery.

To say he is exhausted would be an understatement.

Today, this day of chirping birds and springtime sunshine and tomato plants blooming, holds both relief and hope. We’re at the beginning of the season I’ve been waiting for….a season where we create another new normal.

Everyday from here on out, he will feel better and look better.

There will be no more chemo weekends at this house.

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4 comments
Beth
Beth

One of the best lines you have written (in content, not style): "There will be no more chemo weekends in this house." Love, Beth

Tamara Powell
Tamara Powell

You made it friend. Well done. I feel sad that we weren't home when you stopped by. Wish I could have seen you during the last chemo weekend. Oh well, I'd rather celebrate with you on non-chemo weekends :) Hip hip, hooray!

Katie
Katie

Hurray for the last chemo weekend!! It sounds quite shitty (pun intended) so I can only imagine how excited you both must be to have it be done! Thanks for sharing the details, Les. Blue gatorade? Really? Who knew. Also, pizza in the tub? Now this I have to try. And lastly, Jonathan is such a stud!!!

Laura Doyle
Laura Doyle

Thank you for sharing! My MIL endured chemo a few times.. she had to paint the whole house when her treatments were done because the old colors made her nauseous. I'm so happy for all 3 of you that you are done with chemo weekends. Once Ellie discovered pooping in the bath tub, she's done it quite a few times. Little stinkers.