Everyone knows about chemotherapy. The side effects are terrifying, and the moment you hear someone is going through that treatment you immediately want to help them. I shudder too, I've watched my mom go through it several times, each time makes my stomach twist in knots and my head feel full of buzzing bees.
Did you know that there are medicines that are just as scary as chemotherapy? I honestly had no clue there were such medicines. They're not as common, but a lot of serious medicines are used to treat diseases that have side effects just like chemotherapy.
I'm currently taking a medicine called plaquenil. According to their website, "Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is used to treat or prevent malaria...Plaquenil is also used to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus. Plaquenil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide." It's a step below chemo therapy.
Some of the side effects that are normal include nausea, loss of appetite, headaches, and stomach pain. These are just what they call "mild" side effects. There's others like hair loss, hair bleaching, blue-black discoloration of the skin, nails, and inside of mouth, dizziness or lightheadedness, and skin rashes. That's just a few of them. They scare me.
For awhile I refused to look at any information about plaquenil. I didn't want to hear my hair might fall out, I didn't want to think about what it treats, I didn't want to wait six months to figure out if its working. I was angry and only wanted to hear what my parents had to say to me.
I was so scared to start this medicine I cried. I didn't want to accept that was really ill, I didn't want to accept the reality. A scary medicine? A team of 5 doctors? Handling this myself, alone, at college? I knew I needed to take the medicine, no matter how much I didn't want to because I was tired of not doing anything.
The medicine scares me. My parents were here for homecoming weekend, and I made my mom check my hair because I was in fear it was thinning. I barely held the tears back, so I didn't scare my poor roommate. I know it's gross, but I pulled the hair out of my hair brush and kept it- just so I could compare it to this weeks hair and see if it's actually thinning. I asked my boyfriend if he cared what happened to my hair, and his response was "it would be cool to see you as a blonde", which made me laugh and feel better about things.
But, as the title says, when a medicine scares you, you no longer want to be the brave warrior who fights her disease with honor. You want to curl up in a ball with your head in your mom's lap and have your mom and dad reassure you as you ball your eyes out. You want to scream, kick walls, and let the world know how unfair life is. You want to call the medical company and beg them to tell you that it'll work. You want to be upset.
Even though all of this is running through your head, you have to pick yourself up and brush yourself off. Go get yourself a Gray Owl vanilla latte, put on fancy makeup, and play some really awesome music. When your medicine scares you, you have to think of all of those who took it before you who had success with it, and that your doctor spent a really long time in school and is completely trustworthy. You have to let God know that you need him to walk you through this, that you need his companionship more than ever as you take on this journey. You remember that you have hope and it is your anchor. Finally, you remember that you can do this.