Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chemo Psychology

All of us on chemo count down to when it ends. We celebrate our halfway marks and rejoice when it's over. Even those of us on herceptin, and who still have 9 more months of infusions feel the same way about our chemo dates - we set them as mile-markers on the road to the end of our treatment. Each one is a step closer to being done with cancer and getting back to our lives.

Three weeks ago, I had reached the halfway point. Three chemos down, three to go! I'm halfway home! At least one thing will be completely finished in this cancer game. I knew that the last three would be more physically disabling then the first three - but after the third, I would be over the hump. The finish line was ahead of me.

Then, neuropathy got bad enough, early enough in treatment so that the doctor didn't want to push through. My chemo regimen changed. Instead of having chemo every three weeks, I'll get a weekly dose for nine more weeks.

Instead of having three chemos to go, I now have nine.

I'm not halfway there after all.

Intellectually, I know it all comes out the same in the end. My end date will be the same, likely March 31. The lower doses more often may even be physically easier on me. I go in weekly for herceptin anyway, so it won't change my plans for Wednesdays.

But the fact remains that I am no longer halfway done with chemo. Instead of spending three more six hour days in the infusion room, I now have nine more five hour days. Not quite the trade-off I'd hoped for.

Plus, this new regimen means extra steroids, extra nausea meds, extra sleeping meds, lots more water drinking/high fiber foods, etc. Instead of every three weeks, I have to do this weekly.

Today as I get ready to leave, I should be saying, "Only two more left after today" but instead, I am saying, "I have 9 more treatments to go."

Psychologically, the road seems to have gotten a little longer. I'll have to reset my markers.

After today, I'll only have 8 treatments left. After next week, I'll be halfway there.


  1. I went 12 weeks straight, and yes because you go every week, you don't get the major ups and downs. Hang in there. You will get through this.

  2. So sorry that your treatment schedule has changed. Maybe it will be easier on your body. We do what we gotta do...
    Take care of yourself.

  3. My last 4 cycles (out of 8) required 2 treatments per cycle so I was getting chemo 2 consecutive weeks, off 1 week, then start again. So I had 12 chemo infusions in total. You can do it - you just have to pscyh yourself up for it and trust your body. Think of all the things that are going right - like the fact that there was a viable alternative to prevent irreversible nerve damage - that's a huge win because not so long ago there probably weren't multiple treatment options. I remember moments when I felt disappointment about something and I remembered a friend of mine who had cancer in the late 90's and how he didn't have the benefit of the anti-nausea meds we get now and he was horrifically sick all the way through treatment (among other issues he encountered that we no longer have to suffer through due to new/better drugs). Hang in there!

  4. oops, I meant psych (not pscyh) LOL :)

  5. Its a much easier cycle done weekly but the pain in the butt factor is higher because you get to go every week. I had four rounds every two weeks and then I had twelve weekly rounds so I had sixteen rounds over 4.5 months. So at my halfway point, I had only had six infusions and had 9 more to go but I was 9 weeks into an 18 week regimen. Regardless chemo sucks (as does cancer) but you can do it.

  6. bummer!
    I will say the people I have spoken with who did it this way said the SE's were easier. Good luck!


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