Chemotherapy: the aftermath

The day after my first chemotherapy, I began to understand why cancer treatment can be so grueling.

My job after chemo, according to Michelle, my main chemotherapy nurse at Tri-Cities Cancer Center in Kennewick, was to rest, drink plenty of fluids and pee. Let's just say I did these jobs well. As she explained it, all the chemo drugs that had just been pumped into my body now were looking for ways to escape. She didn't want them to hang around in my kidneys or bladder, so I was to drink about 100 ounces of water per day and go to the bathroom several times.

I'd just been through a really rough few days, so when I got up Dec. 13, I headed downstairs and parked myself in my chair with a good view of the television set. My wife, Melissa, made sure I took the handful of pills that had been prescribed. I watched a couple of shows I'd been saving on our DVR in between our 4-year-old daughter demanding equal time for Little Einsteins and Imagination Movers.

I was exhausted and drifted off at least 10 times for 15 to 30 minutes each. Whenever I awoke, I drank water and made one of the dozen or so trips to the bathroom. I am determined to be the best cancer patient that ever was, so I told Melissa that if Michelle wanted me to drink 100 ounces of water, then I would drink 130 ounces. And that's what I did.

Though I didn't feel any nausea to speak of (thanks to those wonderful pills I took), I did not have much of an appetite. Melissa fixed me some chicken noodle soup, but it smelled terrible to me, so I stuck with eating carrots and apple slices all day.

By Sunday, I was feeling less tired and regained my appetite, even eating the soup from Saturday. I never drifted off, and some friends stopped by to check up on us. After four really tough days, I began to feel somewhat normal again.

I had survived the first of eight chemotherapy treatments for lymphoma. According to Nurse Michelle, this would be the worst one. Here's hoping she's right.