“I Can’t!” (Caution… whining enclosed)

Today is day 6 of cycle 5.  It’s sort of that bridge day before the first set of chemotherapy symptoms, like the nausea, get better… but after the later symptoms, like the mouth sores and the bone pain have started. 

I can’t sleep.


The steroids just make me too jumpy to rest…. even in the perfect nest with my Lambie…

And I can’t read. 


Part of it’s a concentration issue, part of is that the chemotherapy (and the steroids) mess up the lenses in my eyes and mess up my ability to focus.  Book club tonight was rescheduled, however, so perhaps by next week I’ll be seeing right again.  Thank goodness for my book club friends.  But anyway, this vision trouble, that’s one of the reasons my dad is here, to do all the driving…  Like to Target, where

I can’t believe


… that they don’t have unflavored toothpaste.  Even the fancy toothpaste for sensitive teeth is mint or cinnamon.  The kids ones are all flavored, too.  Flavored toothpaste and “Chemo-mouth” are a bad combination.

My dad’s going to drive the kids to violin this afternoon, too. 

I just can’t go.


I’m just really tired and really hurting.  You see, there’s this magic drug called Neulasta.  Neulasta makes bone marrow create new white blood cells.  This is a good thing – despite 5 cycles of chemotherapy, I’ve not been in the hospital and I’ve not had a fever and my chemo hasn’t had to be decreased or delayed due to insufficient white blood cells.  But when Neulasta is causing your bone marrow to crank out these cells, it really hurts, deep in your chest, legs, lower back…. there are quite a few people who get chemo when I do who have decided to risk skipping the Neulasta…. maybe today I don’t think they’re quite so crazy.

But sitting at home while my kids are making beautiful music at violin, it would be nice if I could spin or something….


But I can’t spin. 

The fiber just gets caught up in my lymphedema sleeve.  And I didn’t wear my sleeve yesterday, just because it was annoying me, and today there’s swelling.  So I can’t skip it again.  I shouldn’t have been irresponsible yesterday, but maybe I can blame the steroids for that, too?

What else can I whine about?  Oh, here’s one.  Everything tastes awful.  Even water.


I can’t understand

 how our usually perfectly fine city water becomes so icky on day 4 or 5 of chemo.  And I can’t find many other beverages that don’t burn once my mouth gets bad. 

I can’t even knit

what I want to.  Here’s a little project I was saving for a day when I wanted something fun to do to distract me:


Not.  Too hard to concentrate on the tiny stitches, the charts in the pattern are too hard to read and I can’t sit still anyway.

I really am grateful for so many things, like my kids’ good attitudes, and everyone who’s helping us out, and the cooler fairy, and that I’m more than half done with this part of my cancer treatment journey… but gosh, the

I can’t

bug has hit me today….

13 thoughts on ““I Can’t!” (Caution… whining enclosed)

  1. Dear Elizabeth,

    Whine away, my dear woman. I’m so glad that you feel free to share your whining with us. Most of us have not experienced chemo firsthand, just struggled through it with those who have. I want to know that you are feeling out of sorts and how this is changing your life.

    You are blessed with wonderful family and friends who would take the pain in your place if it were possible.

    I wish you feeling at ease in your own skin, rest, and joy in the music, Nancy

  2. Dear Elizabeth, look at the wonderful things you wrote while telling us what you can’t do. You should have “I can and I did” written in twinkly Christmas lights all over our house as an example to us all.
    Have you tried blueberry tea, lukewarm? It sounds hideous but is very soothing and full of antioxidants and all that good stuff and doesn’t taste of much (unless you leave the bag in for too long). It might help your mouth …..
    Thinkiing of you and praying for you.

  3. Oops, the sticky “y” key on my keyboard has made it look as if you should have twinkly lights on my house, not on your house. Duh!

  4. Elizabeth, I found your blog quite unexpectedly by way of Elizabeth Foss’… not long after enjoying your beautiful column about baby George in the Catholic News & Herald. Our paths haven’t crossed in years, but know that you are in my prayers. I’m sorry for what you are going through. God bless you. Hang in there. Jeannie DeSena

  5. Well, I do have to say that you did a mighty fine job of whining, with pictures, explanations and everything! See, you did get something accomplished yesterday – you did concentrate long enough to articulate all of that, you did get it all out in the open, and you did include visuals with all that whining too. Wow!

    Maybe on the days you can’t concentrate and you can’t do anything you want to do, maybe you could dust, fold clothes, or do something really boring like that – or not! – so when you do feel better you can skip those really boring things we women do at home.

    Peace, healing thoughts, and patience to you.

  6. You are daily in my prayers, my friend. Blessings to you today-may He bring little spots of joy to you throughout your day.

  7. Hugs, love, and prayers. Yesterday I didn’t get to read this. I was “I can’t”-ing myself, holding an ice pack to my face for the majority of the day. I hope today is better. You are non-stop on my mind, heart, and praying lips.

  8. ps re the knitting. Find plain yarn, a size 10 16″ circ, and do a knit-a-cap.
    When you get to the decreases at the very tippy top, someone else can
    do that part for you. I don’t think I could do that baby cap even on the
    best of days. I don’t have that kind of brain power, nor patience! me

  9. Elizabeth,
    you are not whining, just informing, there is a difference.
    As for the toothpaste, it is not commercially made in a flavorless variety for any age.
    The only one that is flavorless is by Biosis, and it is a tooth powder.
    They may have it at whole foods.
    we will keep you in our prayers!

  10. Dear Elizabeth,
    Remember when you used to write me when I was little? Well it’s my turn now!! I (and the whole family) have been thinking about you. A little worried, and very hopeful!! Your kids are very cute!! Have you looked into anything holistic to help you through?? I have been doing massage therapy, going on my 4th year. I tend to look for more than just medicine sometimes. Other times it seems easier to just take a pill!! I try though, maybe it’d work for you, essential oils have a lot of good properties, I don’t know how they may help, but it’s a thought. You can smoke marajuana in MI now for medical reasons. Haha, I am sure your situation is included! I’m only kidding. You need anything, let us know, I’ll try to help as much as I can.
    Love you,

  11. Elizabeth…It’s taken me so long to write even though you and Dixon and the kids are in my prayers every day. Lots of excuses…none you need to hear.
    I am touched by your courage and determination in the face of so many tough days. The kids sound wonderful too. Lots of love and support from them.
    Tim and I will be thinking of you and holding you in prayer especially on Wednesday. I trust you will come through this with the amazing grace that has gotten you this far.

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