‘Red Death’

It’s about time to wrap up this unintentional multi-part story so tomorrow I’ll end it with Part 6…as an FYI for those who care

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Ask Google this question: ‘What is the harshest chemotherapy drug?

…and you will get this answer: Doxorubicin (Adriamycin)

Also called ‘The Red Devil’, Doxorubicin is “one of the most powerful chemotherapy drugs ever invented”-consumer.health.day.com. Besides having a strikingly identifiable vibrant red colour, it’s nickname is credited to the awful side-effects it produces.

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After I was all set with the PICC, white blood cell count results back and a thumbs-up to get going with the chemo, up to floor eight I went.

I’ve explained a bit about the chemo day before but to re-cap on this blog- basically you arrive at the reception desk, wait in the little waiting area, grab a cookie and some juice (if you want) then before your very first treatment you watch two VHS movies on a roll-away TV with built-in video player that provide information about the process you are about to experience.

After that, you get weighed, get your height checked, go pee, have a mini consult where the doc goes over your blood work or you do it again there. The nurses remind you or ask if you’ve taken or get your pre-chemo steroids and anti-nausea drugs (which I declined after my first time because I didn’t feel they worked and like I said…I’d rather feel ill than spaced-out), then you walk down the hall past the rest of the people hooked up to bags and find your place.

Thankfully the cancer floor of the hospital was sponsored for a renovation years ago and it’s bright and airy. It’s too bad, though, that most of the other floors in the hospital aren’t that inviting…even the children’s floor. But that’s something Luke and I hope to help change one day soon.

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During chemo, you’re allowed to have a support person with you or you can read, listen to an iPod or just do nothing.

The ‘Red Devil’ has to go through a port/PICC because it’s so harsh that it will burn your veins and do other tissue damage. Usually that way you don’t feel it going in. They tell you your pee will be reddish for a couple of days after and it starts when you’re at your appointment. Your urine post-Red Death/Devil is red and extremely toxic because of the chemicals. They even instruct you to wash your hands really well and not touch anything until you do because of how poisonous it is.

Total time of each treatment, provided it went super smoothly, was about 4 hours- never less and many times more.

The approximate time I went in for chemo was usually late morning/early afternoon and like clockwork, at 19:00, is when IT hit.

The sick from the Red Death doesn’t compare to getting sick from rotten food or the worst flu out both ends. It doesn’t compare to a 26'er Cuervo hangover or to the Gravitron or Salt And Pepper Shaker on a hot summer day after a bag of mini donuts.

It’s your body fully and totally being poisoned in every single cell but having no remedy. Every cell rejects what is happening to it at that time. The Red Death kills good and bad cells but thankfully it’s supposed to mainly kill the bad ones that grow fast. It’s a full body pain and sickness like no other.

Another reality was Luke was a one of those cells that was ‘grow[ing] fast’ and no one really knew what the outcome would be. But that was my choice and I had to go with it.

I’d say probably the hardest thing that I hated the most was that when I felt the chemo sickness kick in- so did unborn Luke.

He would kick, squirm and move uncontrollably. He was probably in so much pain, agony and no doubt it felt retched.

Then, he would get very still…almost eerily motionless.

I suspect he was exhausted from trying to escape the burning red liquid, he was lifeless after fighting off that dreadful chemical and, he too, inevitably fell ill.

Knowing what would happen to my unborn son every time I had to have a round, I began to loathe the Red Death more and more. As babies do, each month with him growing bigger and bigger inside of me so would his movements increase.

Over the course of my treatment, Luke would have endured every round of chemotherapy in utero. And it thoroughly kicked his ass each and every time.

Still, I had to choose trust. Still, I choose faith.

Still, parts of me chose to cope by ignoring parts what was actually happening.

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To be continued…




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Becky Boughton - 'SOME STUFF TO CONSIDER...'

Becky Boughton - 'SOME STUFF TO CONSIDER...'

Helping people connect-the-dots by showing them where to find answers for life. The Bible - it's all in there.