Last Tuesday I received my final infusion of Taxol, and though it's still coursing through me, wreaking havoc with my nerves and sending my liver into a low-level panic, I'm pissing it out as fast as I can. I hope to "progress" soon to the ingestion of friendlier poisons. On Thursday Pete and I celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of our unlikely union (if you hadn't noticed, he was much too handsome and good-hearted for me even before I got kerfuffled), but I couldn't toast his perseverance with anything stronger than steamed milk, alas.
Oh, I do look forward to a good old-fashioned Old Fashioned! Like my mother before me, I'm a Maker's gal, but like her I'll happily drink from the well. When I last tasted alcohol - back in April before my liver swooned - red wine and beer were bitter as rue, while white wine had but one blaring note: GRAPEFRUIT. Not a bad note, only a monotonous one. I needed bourbon to remind me that I still had a palate, a palette, a sleeping world of color on my tongue. Two fingers in one cocktail at a belated birthday dinner delivered a potent dose of nostalgic bliss, but any further indulgence became verboten when my next blood test returned an alanine aminotransferase number almost seven times what it had been. ("Up I goes like a skyrocket!") It slowly descended over my weeks on Taxol but hovered just above the high end of normal when last checked, so I'm giving my liver a bit of a rest. Though it's a workhorse, it gets twitchy when spooked - best not to apply the spurs just now.
Life must be good if I'm bitching about my unslaked thirst for bourbon! And it is - better every day. I had intended to write a happy "All done!" post immediately upon finishing treatment, but the days following that last infusion uncovered deep reserves of exhaustion and inspired a strong inclination toward solitude, away from language. Fortunately for a lover of fútbol, my small but growing collection of expressive grunts, groans, and expletives remains intact - yesterday's match between Mexico and the Netherlands furnished conclusive evidence of this. By contrast, words of ordinary charge still come hard. When trying the other night to describe to a friend the neuropathy that's the worst of my after-effects, I found myself asking, "There's a word for the palms of the feet, isn't there?" I was only a little reassured by her momentary failure to come up with the answer: We got soles, baby!
So my mind and my feet are all uncomfortably tingly and half-asleep, but in the absence of further chemical assault they should gradually return to something like their former state of wakefulness. The best news from here is all in the negative: I won't be going in today for a blood test. I won't be going in tomorrow for chemo. Fan-freaking-tastic.