Monday, June 18, 2012

Two Down, Four to Go

It is nearly 8:30 am, wide awake for over five hours now.  My second round of chemo has messed up my sleep schedule.

I had taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging.  I've been having trouble putting down into words exactly what I want to say lately.   But here is a quick breakdown of what has come since I started chemo. 

I met with my oncologist for the first time nearly five weeks ago, who very patiently and attentively reviewed my pathology reports, answered my DISC "C" (my patient personality) questions and concerns,  and discussed my treatment plan.  I am to have 6 rounds of chemo, 3 weeks apart.  No radiation.

And the following week, it started.

I remember walking into the hospital the morning of my first treatment.  It was a beautiful and sunny day, wearing capri's, a tank top and a light sweater.  I made my way through the Cancer Care entrance up to the chemo room.  I can't say that I had any real expectations of what I would be seeing, but I was caught off guard.  The nurse led me to my chair and along the way I passed many patients, sitting in their big cushy chairs; bald, covered in blankets, some lying down and/or sleeping.  They looked sick.  For a split moment, I felt like a fraud, like I didn't belong there; I had all my hair, I was dressed 'normal' and I looked perfectly healthy and fine.

I sat down and the nurse presented me with a medicine cup containing my premeds.  In addition to the anti-nauseant that I had taken just 60 minutes prior, I was to take a cocktail of more anti-nauseants along with some steroids to prevent any possible allergic reactions.  Because I had yet to have my port placed, I had to remove my sweater in order for them to administer my chemo through my arm.  "Oh, you're going to be cold!  Let me get you a warm blanket," the nurse says as I sat there in my tank top.

Then, I felt a little more like one of them.

I hate I.V.'s.  Hate them.  Having an I.V. in my arm scares me to the point where I don't want to move, with the fear that in one swift motion in the wrong direction the whole thing can come ripping out of my arm.  I hate the sensation of fluid moving through my veins.  I hate knowing that there is a foreign object sticking out of my body from a vein.  But without a choice, here I was, and the nurse set me up.  Two of my drugs were pushed into my line by hand, took about 15 minutes.  The last of my chemo drug was through a drip, timed at 1 hour and 5 minutes.  And so I sat.

My visit wasn't all that bad, to be honest.  The staff is great.  So friendly, and most of all, patient.  I truly appreciate a very patient health care provider.  They also have volunteers who walk around with decaf coffee, juice, water and cookies.  Some of the other patients around me had friends and family sitting with them, talking, and while I showed up at my appointment alone, I didn't feel as lonely as I had expected to feel.  It was a lively place to be in that morning, and it helped that I have a friend who works down the hall and sat with me during her morning break and kept bringing me snacks lol.  An older couple of men even joked with me about my expertise at manoeuvring an I.V. pole as I made my way to the washroom and asked if I would help if they needed.  The request wasn't as creepy as I probably made it sound, lol, we all just laughed.  And I felt a strange sense of comfort from that moment on.

That first treatment was quite tolerable.  The bus ride home seemed quicker than the bus ride there, and I felt fine.  I even took a quick walk before making my way home.  The nausea hit a few hours later, I slept, and when I woke I was feeling much better.  I did feel a bit queasy over the next few days, and the drowsiness from the anti-nauseants hit me as well, but not enough to stop me from taking a weekend getaway in Minneapolis for a friend's stagette!  My tummy troubles kept me from drinking but it was still a weekend full of much needed girl-talk, shopping and dancing.

The other side-effects.. oh gawd.  And the second treatment.. I shall post of that later this week.  This entry took me forever to write.  On top of brain fog, there is so much that has happened since I had stopped blogging regularly and I don't know where to begin.

I will end with this, though...

There is a newfound happiness in my life.  I don't think the word "happiness" can even justify it, actually.  It came at a time when I had already come out of the shadows, felt content, happy, and was looking forward to starting a new life after surgery.  At a time when I wasn't even looking.  At a time when I even felt that I didn't want.  Then he came.  And I wanted.  ♥  

Til next time. :)

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