The greatest wealth is health.

Chemo.

What is the first thought that comes to mind when you hear the word? For me, it was cancer. I think of woman especially with no hair, looking thin and gaunt – did I mention the no hair bit? 

What I have learned over the past few weeks is that chemo is used to treat a variety of illnesses, not just cancer. I have Ankylosing spondylitis – a delightful chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease-causing inflammation of the joints, followed by the bones fusing together over time. The illness is not curable, but managed. Sounds dead sexy hey?

The medication I am on, is prescribed to treats breast, skin and lung cancers , lupus, arthritis, the inflammation of blood vessels as well as being a disease-modifying drug.  It can take 8 weeks to 12 weeks or even 6 months of treatment for full benefit to be realized. I’m on week 10.

You may or may not vomit, you may or may not lose your hair, you may or may not get ulcers in your mouth, you may or may not get flu like symptoms constantly, you may or may see a change in your weight, you may or may not feel exhausted beyond belief, you may or may not a million things it seems… and so the list of side effects continue.

The medication can cause serious or life-threatening side effects on your liver, lungs, kidneys, and bone marrow (immune system) and therefore, regular organ testing, especially kidney and liver tests are very important. Becoming pregnant is a complete HUGE NO, so lucky Noid had the vasectomy as I am not giving up sex as well!!! – especially not now that I am not allowed any alcohol whatsoever,  not even a Strawberry Daiquiri!

 On a huge positive, my blood tests have shown no damage to my organs, I do have less pain but still have specific areas that hurt more than others (like my right hand, my left hip etc) – it is getting better and more manageable however, so I do feel the medication is doing its thing…… although it is a VERY slow process as the doctor warned me it would be.  

I still have hair and I hope I have done enough good in my life that the universe at large will conspire to let me keep it… besides the hair and the smile… what would Wenchy be?

PS. Kinda pisses me off that I am not gaunt looking and thin. Dammit. Just thin then.

10 thoughts on “The greatest wealth is health.

  1. Julia says:

    I love can do/will do attitude about all of this. I love that you haven’t lost your humour. I love that despite everything you still try to live a good life. And did I mention that I LOVE your hair??

    ps…that whole thin thing would piss me off too.

    All the best.xx

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  2. Gina says:

    Hectic lady!
    Glad you are starting to feel better!!!

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  3. I hope you feel better (and keep that hair – I know, I once lost all mine at age 15 it was hectic). My mom has Rhumatoid Arthritis and has over the years used many many chemical cocktails including chemo drugs and after all these years (about 30) she still has no organ damage, never lost her hair. The flu symptoms, yes, nausea, yes, extreme tiredness, yes. She did have eye problems but that is more due to the disease than the treatment. So there’s a bit of positive for you.

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  4. Annie says:

    Hi Wenchy,
    I came across your site. Hope u dont mind me commenting? I have Rheumatoid Arthritus, which was only diagnosed last year. I just wondered if we were on the same drug? mtx?? iv been taking it for a year now.
    xxxx

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  5. blackhuff says:

    I feel sorry for you or anyone else who need to go through this type of thing with chemo. I do agree that the greatest wealthy is health. I realise that every day when I see how others around me get sick instead of me and since I started with my exercising, I get less and less sick which I truly see as a blessing thanks to God.
    I do feel really sorry for you – I AM SORRY :(

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  6. SirNoid says:

    You are doing great despite the nausea and the flu like symptoms.

    Glad the pain is slowly getting better.

    Love You

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  7. Jen says:

    Thanks for the biscuits and coffee ;)!
    Oh yes, and enjoy your birthday weekend!

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  8. C says:

    Happpppppppppppppppppppppppy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!

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  9. only a movie says:

    Why oh why does your blog not show up in my google reader? I am so sorry that you are sick and that you have to have such a toxic treatment.

    I’m glad the universe is letting you keep your hair, because it’s some seriously great hair.

    There’s no way I will get socks in the mail soon enough for them to get to S. Africa in time. I truly intended to mail your socks. :-) I am done teaching school next week and will have time to do such luxurious things as pick out socks and mail them across the globe.

    Happy birthday!!

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