Last week I finished Cycle 5 Week 4. Each week I take dexamethasone (steroid) (10 pills) and cyclophosphamide (chemotherapy) (13 pills). As last week was my 24th week in total, the pills are shaped into a 24. Daily I take a baby aspirin to minimise the likelihood of a stroke and Valdrex (Valacyclovir) to reduce the chance of an infection.
As I battle with cancer and my chemo treatment, I’m reflecting more on my life with cancer. I can say without a doubt that life has become progressively worse since my 2006 diagnosis. That doesn’t mean that I’ve been unhappy everyday, it more means that how cancer affects you really depends on your particular circumstances.
As I’m unemployed, single, and a student, it means that I fall through the cracks regarding possible social help. I’m unable to receive unemployment insurance, disability insurance doesn’t exist, and any sort of social assistance such as housing is only available for families. It is unfortunate that dealing with a terminal illness also involves alot of stress about finances, wondering when I will be homeless, and restricting my diet (dinner = spaghetti every night). Cancer makes life really rough, I never thought it would be this difficult when I was diagnosed – so many challenges, so many permanent changes to my life.
In any case, I’m trying to stay positive, and I know there is someway to turn my life around, I just need to find it.
To recap, I am living with Multiple Myeloma (blood cancer). Since February 2013, I have been on my 4th chemo treatment called Velcade, which are weekly in-hospital injections, in addition to a variety of other pills I take to supplement my chemo treatment. You can read the background on my diagnosis and previous treatments on my blog.
Last Friday I had my final Velcade chemo injection for this cycle. The 1.4 mg and 1.5 mg injections were injected into the right side of my stomach as it was Week 4 (I alternate each week). The process was quick and painless and I was glad when it was over.
Afterwards I walked past a Freemasons volunteer car, which I have used in the past to get to my chemo treatment. It is a free service that I really appreciated, especially when I had severe back pain and was bedridden.
You can view my self-portrait project on flickr.
You can view photos related to my ongoing treatment here.