Since the re-evaluation, today was my third time of having a Chemo treatment only once a week, combined with having a blood transfusion last Saturday, which went well, my side effects in general have been somewhat reduced. The weakness and lightheaded-ness is not as bad. I can stand to prepare food and do most light chores around the house now. The nausea still happens for about 3 days after chemo, but most of all the emotional roller coaster has slowed significantly. It gives me a chance to be me for a couple of days each week and not a drug induced zombie stumbling around, subject to however the latest drug combo affects my body and mind.
I realized that in my list of side effects there is mention of “feelings of anxiety” and because it was getting pretty bad, I started to see a Counselor at the clinic, who referred me to a Psychiatrist to be evaluated for depression and a recommendation of anti-depressants to be added to the list of drugs I am already taking. (So far they are not working out due to, Surprise!, more side effects, so I quit taking them, will follow up with the psychiatrist in a few days).
My Doctor then also called attention to the fact that some of the drugs I am on cause emotional swings but more importantly increased anxiety, along with sleep deprivation… so besides all the physical side effects I have discussed in previous posts, here I was feeling more anxious than ever, having tormented dreams of things long forgotten with restless, broken sleep on some nights, getting up in frustration after 3 or 4 hours or possibly no sleep at all, then toss and turn for 14 hours on other nights, followed by a 3 hour nap the following afternoon.
Combined with the stress caused by a load of government bureaucracy surrounding my poor financial circumstances, (which are very poor indeed, even before I was forced to stop working due to this disease and it’s treatment), causing more and more worry as time went by and it wasn’t getting resolved. I spent hours on the phone talking to social workers and gov representatives of one form or another, but mostly in the maze of answering phone trees and waiting to talk with a real person, without losing my cool. I have always paid my bills on time, I don’t like owing money and when I do, I take this responsibility very seriously. I had real concerns another rent was going to be due and not be able to pay it, so was going to face a 10 day eviction notice to move. Moving again is not something I want to do when I am this ill right now. I had very intense feelings that everything in my life is falling apart. This was not good nor did the stress of all this help my health.
Well, I must say things are comparably better today than this time last month. After waiting 9 weeks, (Yeah, you read that right, 9 weeks to process my claim), some government funds came through, (Yup, only a portion of the funds but it’s better than nothing), enough to pay a few bills, put food in the fridge and pay the rent at least. I still can’t afford to buy migraine meds, but the migraines have let up, so cross your fingers that continues to be the case, as I only have 1 of those pills left. And with the knowledge that some of the anxiety is caused by the chemo treatment drugs, then I can try to not give in to those feelings as much or at least recognize them for what they aren’t… they aren’t me.