Chemo – hibernation – therapy!

This has probably been the worst week so far! It is now Wednesday afternoon and the first time I have really emerged from my cocoon since Monday. I haven’t even showered since Sunday. I started a new round of high dose chemo last Wednesday evening and continued through Sunday evening – 5 consecutive days and it felt like the strength of the poison was killing me as much as the cancer – maybe more so. I have had no motivation, no energy, little appetite, have been queasy…. I stayed at home (on Fire Island) and am still just sitting on the sofa after mostly being in bed, in spite of a beautiful beach being a mere 5 minute walk away and with the weather being absolutely perfect… But my body and mind just could not rally beyond the house. I had visitors on Monday (Eduardo and Marc), Tuesday (Cyrus who did a Reiki session and Eric) and today (Alex and Matt from Australia and Peter from NY). Eric, Matt and Alex were all UNAIDS colleagues/friends.


Last week, Andrea and Seth come for an overnight visit from Rome and that gave me a real boost of energy. It was the day after they left that the chemo effects hit hard.


I either slept or chatted briefly on the phone to Antonio who is in Las Vegas for work, my Dad and Katia. Rob came by to water the garden. Don was here being an amazing friend and support by doing gardening, gave me a massage, used Himalayan bowls to balance my energy field, helped me on and off the beach before the chemo really hit, cleaned the kitchen… He was simply amazing!


So I had all of the support I could have hoped for. Thanks to all of you who helped or who offered to do so.

Yesterday, I had a long conversation with Sandra who has been undergoing her own cancer treatment and she told me that what I am going through has been very much her own experience. She said that she dealt with it by telling herself that her job each day was to get a little better. This meant that she realized that her body was working so hard on the INSIDE to process the harsh chemo that her OUTSIDE needed to take a break. She would lie on her couch pretty much all day and try to keep hydrated by drinking Alkaline water and eating a bit, even if nauseous, to make sure her body had energy to fight on. She would occasionally walk to the front door to take a walk but for a number of days would just turn around and head back to the sofa, not ready to face the walk. I really know the meaning now of “one day at a time.” Even more: “one hour at a time.”


Antonio will be coming home tomorrow – he is cutting his trip short to be with me.


Hoda sent me a picture of the 2 of us dancing in Rwanda just last year. Hard to believe that was me the way I feel right now!




And on Friday, back to the city – this time by Zipcar. It will be much easier than having to take the train back to the city.

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16 thoughts on “Chemo – hibernation – therapy!

  1. Dearest Alan, I read your posts every time and wish there was some way to help with your struggle. It is such hard work to do what you are doing so be very very good to yourself and take whatever help is offered. It's all given with much love. When you get down, remember how very much you are loved

  2. Alan, you are so brave !
    i focus on sending some energy to you / hope the atlantic ocean will pass it on.. /.great picture from Rwanda / relax and think you dance on the beach !
    best wishes, db

  3. Dear Alan, I just read your post and I think I probably expected you to go through this after knowing you were doing the 5 nights chemo last week. Andrea told me that he found you in an amazing shape during his and Seth's visit last weekend. We agreed that you are partly, if not mostly I would say, able to be very close to your normal self during chemo because you took such good care of yourself for so many years. I imagine this is now the hardest part - and it is a part that none could avoid after chemo - but this will also pass. Concentrate always on being kind to yourself and what Sandra has been doing seems the best way to cope. One day at the time. I keep you in my thoughts and send you much love. xxxp PS: The Rwanda picture really put a bug smile on my face - think of more of those days to come 🙂

  4. If you think of anything you need from me or want me to do please let me know. My only plan now is one day at a time .
    Lots of love and positive thoughts

  5. Alan
    Thanks a million for finding the time and energy to share what you are going through . Irene and I send our best vibes your way for a complete recovery. Tu es dans nos pensees quotidian es.

  6. My dear Alan,
    In spite of the ordeal, you are still managing to write this blog and I am amazed at your courage and stamina. Thinking of you and sending you all the distant Reiki I can harness. Love you

  7. your blog with much anger and sorrow. It pains me to know what you are going through. Believe it or not this shall pass and you will begin to feel like you.
    It can't come soon enough. Love you and have you in my thoughts 24 hours a day.

    1. your blog with much anger and sorrow. It pains me to know what you are going through. Believe it or not this shall pass and you will begin to feel like you. It come soon enough. Love you and have you in my thoughts 23 hours a day.

  8. Alan - Andrea and I were so impressed by your strength and determination and grit. To be able to prepare (and then sit at the table and eat and chat over) a three course meal while in the middle of chemo is impressive - to say the least. It sounds like it was a rough patch after we left... but we departed UNFIP feeling encouraged by your strength and grace. We love you.. S&A

  9. Dearest Alan, your courage is not surprising given the quiet strength I have always seen in you. Nevertheless it continues to be awe inspiring.. you are my hero and I love you.

  10. HOUR by HOUR! Breath by breath, ... please, rest, hydrate and sleep. Eat soups with root veggies, raw juices of dark greens, ginger and lemon, drink pure and alkaline water, get reiki, allow the trees next to your house to be the guardians of your healing sanctuary. I know you can do it! You are healing every minute and you have a family of support that is sending all their LOVE&LIGHT your way!!! HUGS~Vik

  11. It hurts my heart to hear you having to go through this now. Yet as many friends comment, you continue to be courageous and to inspire the rest of us. Know that you are dear to us and we are 'rooting' for you. Love from Jonathan and Ray

  12. Dear Alan, I am so sorry to know that you are going through this daily struggle. If anyone has the fight in him to carry on, it is YOU. I am here if you need me, I love you very much and I think of you constantly, sending you all my good wishes and so much love from Lisa and Sarah too.

  13. Alan, I couldn't say it better and couldn't add anymore to the lovely thoughts and emotions coming from your friends. You will fight this and come out victor and cancer-free. You are always, always in my (our) thoughts. Love you lots from Sheri and Matt.

  14. Try to get out and sit in the sun too. Just a little bit might be able to help energize us more than we think. Also "I have had no motivation, no energy, little appetite, have been queasy" well that's a good sign... its how I feel on most mornings on fire island!


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