I have been wondering, considering how well I've been feeling, whether I should ask the doctor to pull back on the meds. It just can't be good for you to take such huge whacks of narcotic painkillers for such a long time. It's been nine months, so I thought maybe things were getting better. I was going to ask the doctor to reduce the dose so we could see how things were progressing.
The trouble with the meds is that they work really well, masking nearly all the neuropathy symptoms so I can't tell if I'm getting better on my own. But it's OK, because it turns out I'm not, which is good to know. Everything else is great, better than it's been in ages, but the peripheral neuropathy is still there, reminding me that no, Dorothy, it really wasn't all a dream. Oh, and we've learned something new: neuropathy can totally aggravate menopause symptoms.
How do I know? Well, it helps to be really dumb.
The other day, I ran dry, and it wasn't convenient to get to the doc's office. The office is first-come, first-served and the only day I had free to go when I wasn't either working or in class was last Tuesday, and by the time I got in there, five minutes after opening, there were already 15 people ahead of me, which meant over two hours waiting.
So I thought, Meh, bag this; and went home thinking I would go later... or call ... or... something. So yesterday morning, I took my last dose, and was going to call the doc later that day to ask for him to fill the prescription form, so I could pick it up on the way home and have the evening dose on time. It was a great plan that completely failed to take into account how incredibly stupid I am.
So, this morning, having forgotten to call the doctor the day before, I realised I had missed last night's dose, and had none this morning. What was even more fun, was that tomorrow is a public holiday, and the doctor isn't around today. Then, and of course only then, I remembered that if I let the level get too low, the drug has to build up in my system for about 12 hours to get to the point where it actually works. I wasn't able to fill the prescription until five this evening, and I've got about 10 hours now to wait until the pain subsides and I can think straight again. I started feeling it about mid-way through my class this morning, reminding me that yes, I had cancer treatments last year and yes, I'm still dealing with it, and yes, I am still stupid.
So, I called, and he said, go to the farmacia and they will call me and give you enough for a few days until you come to see me on Thursday, and next time, please be less dumb. So I get the stuff, go home and take the pill, and remember that now I have to wait. During which, I get to remember exactly what neuropathy is like: the paresthesia in the fingers and toes, the pain on touching anything hard (like the keyboard) the aching legs and, my very favourite, the unexpected little rockets of pain that shoot through like I've stepped on a nail.
The lack of coordination is fun too. Typing words backwards is something I normally can't do even if I concentrate.
So, now I know. Chemo wasn't just surreal, it was actually real. I really had it. And it's still sort of happening.
Good to know.