Don't Drink & Chemo: Side Effects of Drinking After Chemo
I get home from my first round of chemo and within a few hours, my first side effect is like, hey girl hey! The metallic taste that I’d read about on the internet has taken over my taste buds. Well if this is the worst that can happen I’ll take it. It is recommended to drink lots and lots of water to flush out all the ”cocktails”. So I'm doing what I’d wished id done every Friday and Saturday night in college, HYDRATING. I am drinking what seems to be enough water to drown myself in. I have ordered myself to lay down in preparation for whatever is to come. I’m going from the bed to the couch and back again. I'm bracing myself. What's gonna happen next? Am I in the clear? Is my hair falling out yet? Nope. Nausea? Nope.
I go to bed that night like a kid afraid of seeing their bully at school the next day. Will the bully notice me or pass me by and pick on someone else? Maybe they’ll see me and only push me around a little bit. Enough to scare me a little but not embarrass me or make me cry. Maybe they will have pity on me and not be too rough with me tomorrow. I pray this bully doesn’t see me at all. I add this to my list of prayers for the night and close my eyes.
Around 3am my eyes open and I’m suddenly wide awake like some meth head up in the middle of the night. It’s not that I woke up and can just fall back to sleep. Nah. I AM UP. I forgot the nurse told me that this could happen. Side effect? Damn straight. This will become the routine for all the chemo sessions to follow. Well if acting like I’m strung out on Adderall is the worst of the side effects, I’ll take this one too. Besides, tomorrow is Saturday. I’ll have all day to sleep when I come crashing down from these drugs. I watch TV and scroll through IG until I fall asleep.
The next morning I open my eyes and before moving an inch I lay there giving myself a silent evaluation. Well, I don’t feel any nausea. Check. Hair is still on my head? Check. The metallic taste in my mouth is gone. Check. I don’t think I feel bad at all. In fact, I feel perfectly fine. Holy crap! The nurses were right! I’ve got youth on my side, bitches! That’s right! This cancer bully has finally given up! That’s what I thought! She clearly didn’t know that I’m from Oakland. Haaa!
MJ and I have plans to go to a Jack Daniels event called Art, Beats, Lyrics. I’ve been before and it is a gooood time. Free booze, great music, dope art and I’m sure I’ll run into a ton of friends. This is going to be a lituation and if I’m feeling good by this evening, I am taking my ass to DC to get lit. Buuuut, just in case this bully decides to pop up, I need to be rested. I lay in bed until early evening waiting patiently for this bully to show up. But she must have decided to pick on someone else and that is fine with me.
I hop on the Marc train and meet MJ in DC. It’s a warm September day and MJ has the top down on his new toy. This feels so good. I feel so free. Driving through the busy streets of DC makes me feel so alive and like nothing has changed. The past few months have been me constantly wrapping my mind around all of what has changed and what will change. But this moment I’m in right now feels good and carefree. Something I haven’t felt since the day of my diagnosis.
We head over to the venue and are some of the first people in line. Pressed, party of two, right this way.
Upon entry, we each receive free drink tickets. MJ and I are like two kids whose parents have just released them inside an amusement park. We head straight to the bar, then to a photo booth because have you met me? We walk around and check out the dope art, running into old friends along the way. We find an empty couch on the balcony that has a great view of everything happening below. Our friends have crowded around and we partying to the music being played. Mannie Fresh. Ahhh. This is so fun.
The next morning I wake up. Oh shit. Regret!!! What is this? What is this?! Water! I need water! Is this a chemo hangover or a hangover, hangover?! Fuck! I think it’s both!
I’m exhausted. My body feels weak. It feels like I just got hit by a bus. This is not just a regular hangover. This is more. I feel this vibration going through my body as if I’ve been electrocuted. It’s like I had some sort of potion that has caused my body to feel electrified. My body buzzes from the potion that I wish was the magical potion I’ve seen in the movies. Then I might not have to deal with this at all. This is not the same potion. This potion is supposed to heal me but instead, I feel the worst I ever have in my life. I’ve suffered from many hangovers in my youth. This tops all of my nights of rookie drinking. As the day progresses I feel worse and worse. There is no amount of ginger or alkaline water to fix this. I am curled in a ball. I am nauseated, weak, exhausted, freezing cold one minute and fine the next. At one point I have MJ grab every blanket in the house and put it over me. The bully is here and she is kicking my ass for my lunch money and giving me a wedgie. And there is nothing my mama or husband can do to help me.