Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hi all. Back from round three, day one chemo-hell, and proud to back amongst the living. The actual chemo infusion was good. I went in at 12:30 instead of my usual 9:00 because Monday was a holiday and there were doubling up. So my special corner was taken. But I still got a corner seat in the other semi-circle.

Sometime during my infusion, I got a delivery! It was so exciting. I got a bouquet of chocolate covered strawberries arranged in greens so they looked like rose buds. Tiffany and Chad, thank you so much. You made me feel very loved and special on a tough day. And the strawberries were enjoyed by all. I shared with the nurses and any interested patients. So, your gift made a lot of people happy. Thanks so much!

And another big, huge thanks go to Elaine and Andrea' who gave me a Creative Zen MP3 player for chemo days when I have to sit there being poisoned for almost 4 hours. I had such a good time jamming out to Guy Forsyth and all the great music you put on it for me! I sure enjoyed it. Till the battery went dead and I didn't have the charger. I'm an idiot. Still, a great gift from which I will get lots of use. Thanks ladies!

I was able to meet and talk to for the first time, a fellow chemo patient who was nearer my age. Very nice lady. She thought I was 15, and I thought she was 35. A compliment for both of us. But I confessed to 31 and she confessed to nothing. See? Her extra years brought her wisdom as well as a charming personality. Her name is Leslie and I hope I see her again on this grand chemo adventure. But I suspect she is a Monday, so I won't see her. It was interesting to talk to her briefly about how the family deals with us being sick. She has two college-aged kids and one 14-year-old daughter. Her daughter is having a hard time with it and keeps her eyes averted when Leslie doesn't wear a head covering of some sort. Must be hard to be 14 and trying to figure out how to be cool and who you are and realizing how much your looks have to do with how you are treated. And here she has this beautiful, young mother who has lost her hair and is sick all the time. And it is breast cancer. Very sad.

I didn't ask what her prognosis is. In chemo-world it seems there are certain rules and protocols. You are absolutely allowed to ask "What's your Cancer", sort of like "What's your sign." And "How many rounds you taking?" is equivalent to the jailhouse "How long Ya in for?" But I am beginning to understand that you don't ask someone, "so do they expect you to live?" It's like a Public Defender asking his client, "So didja do it?"

No, no, we ask about which cancer and what round are you in, and when did oyu lose your hair and how did they catch your cancer? Cause that is the truly fascinating part to many of us. We, who lived in a silent club for so long as if we were not contaminated with vile, dirty cancer that was killing us every day until someone said 'whoa wait a minute, beep, beep, beep, awuuga, awuuga!' Just like that. That is the exact set of nonsense noises I use to describe being diagnosed with cancer. Seems appropriate somehow, like a Loony Toons cartoon character eating a whole pepper and his face turns read and smoke comes out his ears. Yeah, something like that.

But I digress, I was saying that you don't ask someone if they're gonna live. I notice if things are going well, like for me, they tend to offer the good news. I offer up that I am going to be fine every day. Course I don't talk about that when facing a frail elderly person whose prognosis is clearly not like mine. It is a play-it-by-ear game. I want to talk to and support other cancer patients, but first I must learn to navigate the cancer minefield where some of the mines are marked cure, and other's death.

After my conversation about Leslie's older children and how it affects their lives, again I am happy that my son doesn't have to care right now that his mommy is sick. He may know something, but we have done the best we can to keep things normal and give him lots of love. He had his first trip to the hair salon with his Omi yesterday, who with lots of bribes (suckers, cars, etc...) managed to get a cute haircut on a two-year-old. Thanks for stepping up and taking care of us, everyone. We couldn't do this without you.

And holy crap what a night. Started feeling queasy around 5:30 and took the phenergan as planned. Minimal relief from the nausea, but then came the shakes, the wiggles, the awful buildup in each muscle that became unbearable til I moved. Jerked, kicked, squeezed myself into a ball, etc. So then Mom had me down the foul-tasting liquid Benedryl that was supposed to counter the twitchies. Didn't help, possibly made it worse. So I was still nauseated, still twitching uncontrollably and now wired. Miserable night. I took the Ativan at bedtime with more phenergan and Benadryl and hoped the Ativan would knock me out. I think it may have helped me drift off, but the off into which I drifted was not sleep. I spent the next few hours alternating between the twitches, kicking & jabbing David on accident, and the quiet rest of hallucination. My dreams or hallucinations were mundane - me reading my book in bed and yelling at David to move so I could turn the page. I was talking in my sleep and I didn't know why I was saying what I was saying. So I'd chuckle and that would wake David up. And still I did not sleep; I hallucinated, and tripped and twitched.

I finally got my mom to help me at about 4:30. She let me in the guest bed with her and tried ways to counter the twiching - sitting with my legs curled under me helped for a minute, but then my feet fell asleep and that woke me up. So She put me in a hot bath for half an hour and that seemed to calm things down enough for me to sleep an hour or so in her bed with her. But when the twitchies returned, I said 'Screw It.' And just got up for good.

Mom was sure pooped though, I got a pic of the hardest working nurse I know. If I had The Holmes' skills, there'd be a thought bubble in there somewhere. oh well.

I took a little nap mid-morning and when I got up, was feeling pretty good considering the lack of sleep etc. And since Jackson wasn't due back till this evening, I made the command decision to go shopping! Yay retail therapy! I need new pants and jeans pretty badly, so we thought an outing to the mall was just the thing. Well, I thought it was, Mom thought it would be best for me to be on the couch today. But I won in the end and I am glad we went. Yes, I spent money, but also I think the being out and walking and among people was good too. And I got some nice pants and most won't even need hemmed.

And I coerced my mom into having her first pedicure. She's never had one and I thought that was just wrong. So we both had pretty new pedicures. I have decided this should be an after-chemo treat for the two of us for the rest of this adventure. We deserve it.

Tomorrow, Marsha & Jackson-watching duties belong to Shift Thursday/Friday - the great Vic Kysor (AKA Daddy, Dad, Diddy and occasionally, asshole). See you tomorrow Daddy! Love you!

1 comment:

~E said...

Great post!