Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Quitting Chemo

I'm a quitter and happy that I am. Probably the hardest decision I've ever had to make after deciding to have it is to end it. Sleepless nights went into the process, the decision made on the last second before meeting the oncology team at the hospital. I walked out of the chemo ward given another week to think about it, but I knew I was through. I was contemplating on maybe one more, but when I picture myself heading out to the ward, getting my bloods taken, all the cannula, the needles, the hospital smell, I cringe.
The past three months I've been suffering with insomnia which apparently is a Permetrexed side effect, I'm already coping with chemo brain so not having sleep is not ideal. The worst time was about two weeks of only sleeping every other day, felt like a zombie, which aptly relates to my sleepless nights companion, back episodes of The Walking Dead. I've also recently discovered the Kardashians, and Fashion Police, lol. In healthier days I would have probably taken advantage and take the time to reorganise, maybe work on a project, read, do something productive. Unfortunately because of the lack of sleep, I lack energy too, and my lungs don't really let me go far so I was pretty much stuck to the tele and couch, my brain was foggy so I hardly did research, and this blog post is long overdue.
I didn't think insomnia can be this debilitating. It is hard to keep track of daily routine. I tried guided meditation, relaxing music, massage, essential oils, nothing worked. It was worse around chemo time and as it wears off I find I sleep better. I take Skullcap, Passion flower, and Valerian root in a tincture to help but I find myself groggy in the morning. It doesn't help that my mind is always racing with thoughts and ideas, I can't shut it off. I have taken four full cycles of Cisplatin and Permetrexed and 18 maintenance Permetrexed, I have two chemotherapy record books in my name, what I have done is a feat for anyone. My oncologist mentioned one other girl who's had about as much chemo as me, she quit and the tumour grew back. Now, I don't know her but she did quit because her side effects were outweighed by the benefits of the treatment, and we probably take different supplements anyway so I didn't think the comparison is justified. However, he did bring up a good point, I can handle the chemo better than what he's seen, so why not keep doing it. I know chemo has done its job , it saved my life. I understand where they are coming from, after all they don't know I have a plan B. They don't know that I am doing something else aside from chemo, I was not fortunate enough to find an integrated oncology team so my team is made up of professionals I had picked personally, specializing in a particular field that I think will help me move forward. Acupuncture is certainly helping with sleep and energy. The last two scans I had, had very minute difference, meaning, no major reductions in tumour size. I think it's time to help get the toxins out from more than a year of chemo and continue on the healing path the natural way. I know a lot of people disagree with me and I hope they're wrong.