The Methotrexate days

30 01 2012

I remember practicing my “teacher voice.”  I was going to speak to my doctor…doctor to doctor.  I would be firm.  I would be insistent.  I would get immediate treatment–a shot, a pill, anything–to get this thing under control.

My doctor is a very kind man.  Very patient.  Almost sociopathically so.  He let me finish all of what I had to say.  He smiled.  And then he agreed.  “It sounds like you’re ready for biologics.”  I assumed this was a pill.  My situation turned out to be a little complex.  I couldn’t take the first two recommended drugs, so he recommended, firmly, methotrexate.

Fine, I said.  Equally firmly.  and we both seemed happy with that outcome.  Shortly afterwards, I figured out that methotrexate is that mild form of chemotherapy, used to treat among other things, cancer.  The “C” word.  I’m sure he actually said this.  In fact, I know he did.  I just don’t remember hearing or understanding that.

Swoosh.  My head went into a swirl, and I was pretty much no good for anyone after that.  Now, I have to admit that when it comes to being a hypochondriac, I’m right up there.  Unfortunately, I’m also one of those people who just get sick a lot.  If there’s a rare blood rash, or a series of inexplicable symptoms, you can bet I’ve got ’em.  And you can also bet that after about 20 tests, a very relieved doctor has found the source to be some rare blood anemia or some such.

So, when my doctor said things like “liver failure”, “kidney failure”, etc.  I pretty much presumed that this would be my fate.  Add to this that everyone, and I mean everyone in my family has had some sort of cancer.  So, I’ve seen a lot of chemo.  And you can image how unsettled I was.

I’m lucky.  God has given me exactly who I need.  And it has never been so true as in these past few weeks.  My husband (big surprise) is a cancer survivor.  And he’s taken methotrexate.  He knew what my symptoms would be, and stocked up on what we might need–and I might add, he did so without telling me, so as not to frighten me even more.

And then there’s my business partner.  She refuses, I mean refuses to let me have my pity parties.  “You don’t have time to go there.  All of your energy needs to be thinking positive.  You don’t have cancer.”  She’s right.  I don’t.

So, I’ve made it through the first week of methotrexate.  I’m on a low dose, so the side effects aren’t so bad.  Not bad at all.  If I eat a normal sized meal, forget about it.  It comes straight up and I’m ruined for the rest of the day.  I get cold.  My bones and muscles ache.  I get headaches.  The weirdest thing:  my breasts tingle, like they did back when I was nursing.  I think it makes me cranky, but that also might just be my personality (!)

But, if I drink lots of water, eat in small amounts throughout the day, and just pace myself, I’m okay.

I’m going to be okay.