Dancing with the Red Devil

Dancing with the Red Devil

Dancing with the Red Devil

The chemo tsunami hit. The Red Devil kicked my butt! Every day for the first six days after receiving the Red Devil (Adriamycin chemo) and his cohort Procytox into my blood stream I woke up extremely nauseous and fatigued. Some of those days I’m not sure how I made it down the stairs from my bed to the couch. There, I would subsist until about 1pm, at which time I would stabilize for about three or four glorious hours. Nausea makes you unable to think straight, unable to focus, unable to do much really. It is important to eat – even throughout the nausea – so it was a challenge throughout the week to figure out what to eat and in what order, so that the food didn’t bring on more nausea. Most of my daily intake was soups and protein smoothies (filled with veggies and other nutrients) – as bland as they could be. Thankfully I’ve managed to not lose any more weight! The short reprieve from nausea on the fourth day after receiving the naturopathic intravenous Vitamin C (IVC) treatment was a pleasant surprise for sure! Fatigue was also a major factor during those days, as I had little to no energy for longer than about a ten-minute stretch throughout the day and by around 6pm, I was on my way back down the spiral pole again.

Nine days post chemo treatment, I actually feel ‘human’ again. I started feeling better on Thursday, but still took anti-nausea pills in the mornings and never left the house up until yesterday. Visitors were kept to a minimum, and only short, 10-minute visits could be tolerated at best. Yesterday however, I went for a short walk around the block in the late afternoon and still felt good afterwards!  Today I woke up after a good sleep, feel pretty normal with no anti-nausea pills needed, and am looking forward to seeing how I’m going to spend my day :-). I know the fatigue factor will still be in the background, so will not overdo it by any means. The best part to all of this though, is that it appears that I’ll be up to going to my daughter’s graduation in Toronto on Wednesday – with hair still in tact hopefully (cross your fingers for me)!

It is an interesting thing, human behaviour. When I first found the lump and pondered whether it was cancerous, my thoughts were to ignore it and it will go away – or perhaps I’ll die quietly over a long period, without anyone knowing. But then it kept growing and actually became visible! When I dug up the courage to have it checked and was told that I had breast cancer, my first thought was to have the surgery done to remove it and then treat C holistically.  However, when I was then told I had a much rarer type of breast cancer called Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), I knew I had to make more unpleasant and harsher decisions.  This is a fast-growing, fast-spreading cancer and needs hard-core artillery to defeat it. This is when I knew I had to ‘dance with the devil’, which in my mind, was the chemo and radiation routes. Then I learned about the Red Devil and its comrades – the other chemo types. My decision to attack TNBC via traditional chemo therapy simultaneously with holistic methods was still the best one in my mind. Both methodologies have done their research on my behalf and for that I’m grateful. In Peterborough, neither ‘team’ necessarily wants to acknowledge the other team, which is okay with me. It is my body that will benefit from mixing with both teams.

Dancing with the Red Devil is not fun, but it is one I feel I must do. Recently, it has even come under fire because studies show it can have a toxic effect on the heart muscle, leading to the possibility of heart failure. These are the chances we take in hopes of having a ‘normal life’ ahead. Amazing isn’t it, the risks we are willing to take with our lives? It does suck some days and I do question my willingness to participate in this barbaric side of medicine.  However, I just have to BELIEVE. Believe in the life I have ahead of me; believe in the knowledge behind traditional medicine; believe in the knowledge behind holistic methods; believe in the power of my healing mind through positive thoughts; believe in ME. I’m oh-so-grateful for these good days, with the sun shining and some vitality returning to this body that will allow me to enjoy these days :-)! I know there are many more days, weeks, months and years ahead – of more-than-good days – and I am simply biding my time, doing my ‘work’ and awaiting real living again!

About denisemacdonald

I am a Canadian entrepreneur who has been spending the majority of my time between Canada and Panama, Central America. Living oceanfront, I am an 'investment consultant', predominantly in the area of real estate in the beaches areas. Photography is my hobby. In April, 2014 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I will be sharing my journey here on these 'pages'. If you would like to learn more about "Triple Negative" breast cancer, please click onto http://www.tnbcfoundation.org/.
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4 Responses to Dancing with the Red Devil

  1. John July says:

    Your positive attitude is what will get you the gold medal here. Keep stress away …. keep sharing and we’ll keep cheering !!!

  2. Cindy and Paul says:

    I understand every word of your blog.. I understand every feeling you express. Thank you for sharing so well what many of us have experienced. Reading this helps us all in our healing journeys. You rock Denise!

    • Thanks Cynthia. It seems that so much is left untold and unless you are by someone’s side during an experience like this, it is very difficult to grasp what they are really going through. I share because it needs to come out of me. It’s like photography for me – therapeutic. It is a really good way for me to express myself – better than verbal words actually. I’m SO glad that it also appears to be helping others in their own personal journeys in some small way :-). Love you gf and hopefully I’ll see you this week! xo

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