Friday, May 27, 2016

The Perfect Brazilian

So the fourth cycle of AC chemo has pretty much officially kicked my ass.

I spent most of the day at the hospital yesterday. I've been experiencing a lot of breathlessness lately - even doing tasks as minor as walking upstairs to go to bed - and my heart has been racing a lot. I was concerned because I had not experienced this with previous cycles. So I went in to have a CBC done to check my hemoglobin level. It was low, but not low enough to account for my symptoms. So the doctor wanted to rule out a pulmonary embolism and heart damage (Adriamycin - one of the chemo drugs I am getting - can cause heart damage in some people). I had an EKG done and a CT scan of my lungs. Both came back normal. I am still going to have a echocardiogram done next week to make certain my heart is fine, but I suspect that will come back normal, as well. We have pretty strong tickers in my family.

With all catastrophic causes ruled out, the doctor believes that the breathlessness and elevated pulse are simply a byproduct of four rounds of AC chemo compounded one on top of the other. She said the fourth round is typically pretty hellish - which I can certainly attest to. My doctor explained that AC chemo completely deconditions your body, meaning that it strips your body of any tolerance for exercise you have had in the past. So walking up stairs will feel like the first time you've ever walked up stairs in your life - exhausting.

I would describe the feeling like this:
  1. Imagine yourself the fattest you have ever been in your life. 
  2. Now imagine yourself that fat, and it is Thanksgiving day. You have just inhaled 3 helpings of mashed potatoes, a mound of stuffing, and enough tryptophan to sink a beluga whale. 
  3. Just as you are settling down for a well-earned nap in front of the telly, Jillian Michaels busts in on your delightful family Thanksgiving and forces you (because there's not way to say no to her when she is screaming in your face) to do 100 jumping jacks post-nosh. 
  4. Afterwards, you collapse on the couch - distended and drained and deflated.
That moment of collapse is exactly how chemo has made me feel this time around. Bulky and bloated and breathless and beaten. Needless to say, it's not been a pleasant couple of weeks.

That said, I am starting to feel a tiny bit more energized today. I was able to go out to breakfast with my wife and my mother (my two rocks, by the way) this morning and had a wonderful time laughing and eating. I am finally starting to come out of the fog (though I did stop for an inordinately long time at a stop sign this morning waiting for it to turn green). It's a bit of a late fog emergence, but it is welcome.

That is not to say, though the fog is lifting, that I do not have additional complaints. And, as usual, I am more than willing to share my TMI complaints on this blog.

You've been warned. 

So today I want to share an especially personal and annoying effect of chemotherapy with you. In addition to complete loss of the hair on your head, chemo causes hair loss in other areas. I have no complaints about no longer shaving my legs. It's pretty sweet, actually, since shorts season is quickly approaching. And smooth armpits are definitely a silver lining. But hair loss, ahem, down under is something with which I am not exactly cool.

Initially, I was somewhat excited about this impending inevitability. I thought, People pay big money for Brazilian waxes and here I am, getting one for free! Silver lining! I thought it would be an interesting experiment in extreme grooming.

I was wrong. 

Without hair in certain areas to provide a layer of friction control as God intended, thing chafe. They chafe badly. Now it may be because I am plus-sized down there (yes, I have a fat vagina and I am totally okay with it), but there is some serious chafing going on from underwear friction. And chafing leads to itching. Rather extreme itching in places you simply can't scratch in civilized circles. Just last night, I was laying in bed and I had a serious need to scratch my nether regions. Since I don't consider my bed "civilized circles," I went for it. Ruanita thought I was doing yoga poses in bed. I didn't correct her.  

At breakfast this morning (as proof of how my conversational skills have devolved in recent months), my wife and mother and I came up with a possible solution to my problem. Prosthetic pubes! I am pretty sure someone, somewhere has come up with this idea and is working diligently to fill the public demand. I think I might have even seen it on Shark Tank. If any of you are out and about (at Wal-mart, perhaps?) and see some prosthetic pubes in a size XXL, can you please pick them up for me? Chestnut brown would be the preferable shade, but I will settle for anything that is not white. I am good for the money. Oh, and please make sure they are brand new. No factory refurbished models, please.

Thanks, I really appreciate it!


Virginia said...

Bwahahhahahhahaha! Not that your suffering amuses me, but... well this one particular instance of your suffering amuses me. And I feel like I'm allowed to laugh because pregnancy has caused me to itch in all kinds of unwelcome places and lately I've joined you in itchy vag land. Regardless, I do hope you find some relief soon. I recommend body glide (totally serious, it's available in most sporting good stores) to reduce the chaffing and consequently the itching. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I love your ability to share.

Tanya Dodd-Hise said...

Ohmygosh I SO needed this laugh this morning! (You saw the video...things haven't been all that happy in my house this week). But ohmygod I remember when ALL the hair fell out I was SO excited not to be shaving anymore (I get razor bumps in my bikini line terribly, no matter how old the blade is, too). And for about the past 3-4 months or so, I have been going to my waxing place (the ones who do my eyebrows) for bikini waxing. I don't do full Brazilian, but I do everything except a landing strip. The other day when we got the news, I told the wife that I will save a ton of money for a while since no waxing will be necessary! Silver lining! But seriously...remember don't put baby powder down there for chafing, since it is supposedly bad news and problematic. I wonder what you CAN put there to avoid that?!

Craig said...

You need a merkin. Maybe something in Fashion blue heart shape?

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