I had chemo on Tuesday and, as usual, started vomiting even before the show got started. As usual, they administered IV anti-nausea drugs and knocked me out. Typically, once I get home, I continue to feel crappy until Thursday, when my chemo pump is done and I return to Dana Farber to have it disconnected. Then I return home, shower and rest and recuperate.
However, this week, once home on Tuesday, I couldn’t stop vomiting. I couldn’t take a sip of water without it coming back up. I couldn’t take any meds by mouth (because the water triggered vomiting). There is one pill that I could put under my tongue, but simply looking at it made me vomit. I could barely (and only sometimes) hold down small amounts of ice chips.
This continued throughout Wednesday, day and night. My skin smelled like chemo and, no matter how much I brushed, my teeth felt gross. I needed a change of scenery so, on Thursday morning went downstairs, only to get sick again in the closest bathroom. Unfortunately, that bathroom is used by the boys and their friends. Being on that bathroom floor was enough to trigger more vomiting, so I headed back upstairs.
I figured that I would feel better once I got disconnected from chemo later that day, but no. I vomited at Dana Farber before the disconnect as well as after, then continued after I arrived home. I showered, changed the sheets and aired out the bedroom. I tried moving around. Nothing made a difference.
I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do with all this suffering. I didn’t understand the reason or the purpose. I considered stopping chemo for good, but I also know that I will just be in a different kind of pain if I do that. No road ahead looked good. I prayed for someone to come and shoot me dead.
On Friday, the vomit-fest continued. I couldn’t get through my shower without getting sick and then spent most of the day in bed. I was so tired of living in my bedroom.
By now, vomiting was all I could think about. It felt like I was drowning in thoughts of what triggered it, trying to avoid it happening, and having it actually happen. These thoughts consumed every minute. I tried to be grateful that I was able to do chemo at all. I tried to be grateful that I was at home and not in the hospital. I tried to think of something other than chemo and sickness, but this now appeared to be my entire reality.
One of my coping mechanisms is to focus on the present, so late on Friday night, I practiced that. I wanted to focus on something outside of myself, outside of my room. I could hear, through my open window, the crickets chirping and, beyond that, the cars on the busy road near our house. I focused on those cars – were they a continuous stream? Were there breaks in between? Did I hear any trucks?
Suddenly I was about 8 years old, spending the night at my grandparents’ home. I slept in the front bedroom facing the busy street on which they lived. When I woke in the middle of the night, I loved seeing the glow of the streetlights and hearing the pattern of cars as they drove by. Sometimes, I would scramble to the foot of the bed and look out the window, watching the cars as they passed. At that time of night, there were only one, two, or maybe three cars at the same time, and I got to witness it.
This memory brought back all the wonderful feelings I had about staying with my grandparents and made me feel better. Throughout the night, each time I got nauseous, I would focus on the moment, listen to the cars and before long, find myself back at my grandparents’ home. Did it work every time? No. But it worked enough so that I could find some moments of peace.
Eventually, I felt well enough to page through Facebook. Friends of mine posted that they were in Gethsemane, and they both posted this photo:
I don’t want to walk this path. Not at all. But I suppose this is the path in front of me. I don’t have to be happy about it, but I do need to follow it.
I hope that, if you are mired in something that you cannot see or feel your way out of, that you can find an island of peace in your heart, and that a message comes to you from somewhere, somehow, to provide support and a little opening for the light to get in.
You are so totally amazing.
Sent from my iPhone >
Molly, you are such light in my life!
Tracy, I want to do hearts back at you but I don’t know how!
Oh, wait, cut and paste works!
It does!!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️ Right back at you!
I am laughing out loud! Thanks Tracy!
Discouraging to think that we texted a couple times Thursday morning then I went on my merry way tending to my trivial matters leaving a friend suffering for another 24 or more hours. Thank you for sharing, Marie. This is a great reminder of how prescious life is.
Oh Jeff, of COURSE you went about your merry way! That is what we all should do! Thanks for the prayers and for being there. Because you always are.
Oh Marie. I am so so sorry this is your path!
Sent from my iPad
Thanks for helping me to walk it, Janet. You have been in my life forever and through so so much, and you really brighten every step.
I was very moved by your experience and wish it were different. I did think of a Winston Churchill quote, “if you’re going through hell, keep going!” I hope you can keep going in a less hellacious way!!
Oh Marie, So sorry you’re having to bear this. I wish there were something I could do to lighten (or brighten) the load! Know that our hearts and prayers are with you. Conveniently, we’ll be in temple most of the weekend, and can “bring you” with us!
Thanks for bringing me with you to temple, Charmi! I love it there. So great to see you last week, too.
Hot damn, Marie. You hit it out of the park for me EVERY.FREAKIN.TIME. I am so sorry you spent the last week puking. That sucks. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Thank you for letting me into your life. And as much as I love lemonade, sometimes too much is just too much.
I love you. Jaime
On Sun, Sep 28, 2014 at 9:30 PM, Adventures in Spiritual Living wrote:
> Marie Colantoni Pechet posted: “I had chemo on Tuesday and, as usual, > started vomiting even before the show got started. As usual, they > administered IV anti-nausea drugs and knocked me out. Typically, once I get > home, I continue to feel crappy until Thursday, when my chemo pump is done > “
Jaime, you make me laugh and you touch my heart. Every time. I love having you in my life and love you too.
I’m thinking of you.
Whenever anyone asks me how I am feeling, my answer is “I have good days and bad days.” If I am standing there talking to them and not taking up residence in a bathroom, it is a good day. Enjoy those good days and make the most of them. The bad ones do pass even when they seem as if they will last forever. Keep hanging in there!
Thanks – and you too!
I’m so sorry this was your week last week, Marie, and I’m sending good thoughts and prayers for this week. Thank you for sharing the beauty you found in the small moments of respite, and a reminder to us all not to miss those moments. Sending you love and hugs. xo
Marie – so sorry that it has been so hard for you lately. I just read your other post about visiting St John of Omega retreat and I hope that you are feeling better now. Glad the childhood memory was there to help bring you back to better times. For some reason I haven’t been getting your posts again lately, so have to remind myself to check back in and see how you are going. Hugs to you. X
Thinking of you and sending up a prayer for this week to be better that the awful time you had last week, Marie. I, too, ask why “this cup” is yours to drink. I so appreciate that you are turning your pain into inspiration for me and so many others. Thank you for being so open and vulnerable in your postings. Much love to you, as always. Don
Thinking of you and sending up a prayer for this week to be better than the awful time you had last week, Marie. I, too, ask why “this cup” is yours to drink. I so appreciate that you are turning your pain into inspiration for me and so many others. Thank you for being so open and vulnerable in your postings. Much love to you, as always. Don