I'm one of those people who really takes their birthday too seriously. I have a birthweek and a birthmonth that are almost as big as the birthday itself. Anyway, I turned 32 last Monday and I had been feeling pretty good. It was the week after chemo which is when my white blood count tends to be low, but I'm bouncing back after the nausea and achy joints from the drugs.
The thing that happens with chemo is, you get "premeds" which are steroids and tylenol that will help you take the chemo better and not get as nauseated. I really just get tired and sleep the whole time. Then they give you the chemo. I get two different kinds and it takes a total of around 4 hours for the whole thing. Then I get a bunch of steriods (two different pills to take several times daily, and one to take on the onset of nausea). I also get a lot of drugs to help with the side effects of chemo and the side effects of the drugs that help those side effects, like hydrocodone or Lortab for my achy joints. The Lortab and chemo make my, uh, "plumbing" malfunction, so I have to take Colase which is a stool softener. TMI, I know.
Well, to make a long story short, most everything I take has it's own side effect that I can go ahead and take another pill for until I get to a side effect I can deal with. This last time I ended up just having too many problems with the plumbing issue and a lot of vomiting. If you're not on chemo I don't think it's a big deal, but since I am, I had to head to the hospital at 6:00 am the day of my birthday. Now, I'm not wallowing in self-pity (well....not really). I had a really great nap, some good drugs in the hospital, and I even got a little cupcake that said "Happy Birthday" on it from the hospital cafeteria.
The point is, sh*t happens. I felt like crap from the chemo anyway. It's not like I was going to go on a bender and hit the strip clubs anyway. I have to admit I was pretty down on myself while in the hospital. I finally got out in the afternoon. Dan and I walked down the hall of the cancer ward and some people had their doors open. I looked in at a few patients and realized how freakin' lucky I am to be having a birthday for goodness sakes. At least one of those people I looked in at was on their death bed and would not live to see another birthday, but they all peered out at me and smiled. So from here on out, my birthday will still be a fabulous day that I celebrate endlessly, but for a different reason: because I AM ALIVE.