My Status: Two-thirds of the way through
I’m going to start off with the MOST positive thing to come out of today … I am 66%, aka two-thirds, aka YAHOO, of the way done with my chemo treatments. Feels like I was only half way there just last month… oh, wait, I was. It doesn’t matter. Every little milestone along the chemotherapy highway needs to be celebrated and this is no different. Half way is great because the road ahead is no longer than the road behind, but when the road ahead is shorter than then one behind, it’s even better.
We had day two of the blood not feeding back through the port without a little heparin to unclog it. Hopefully, this is a 4th cycle issue only and doesn’t mean that the port needs to be cleared out or worse. It’s brand new still. But I do “heal” quickly, so it may be that I’m coagulating at the surface too quickly. We shall see what cycles 5 & 6 hold on the port front. For now, I’m not going to worry about it.
Today I sat beside a lady who was on her first bout of chemotherapy, and she had a bit of a rough start. She had an allergic reaction to her course of treatment almost as soon as they started the drip. They quickly got the situation under control, and gave her some water to flush her system before switching to the next drug she had to have. She was very concerned when they mentioned she might not be able to tolerate the drug they felt was best for her condition, but would try a different one. Understandable. Once again, I feel like my experience with chemo was there so I could help another through theirs. She was concerned that she was the only one experiencing pain and chills, so I shared my allergic reaction experience. And when they mentioned they might postpone treatment to allow for all of the reaction to pass, I was able to share my experience with having to wait a week when my liver functions were too high. She was able to take comfort in hearing that someone else had been down a similar road, and was able to calm down so the doctor and nurse could do their jobs a little easier, because she was willing to lie about her symptoms so the chemo wouldn’t be postponed.
On the way home, I shared the experience with Denny and he thought it ridiculous to get worked up over having to wait for the treatment. I mentioned to him, and it is truly the case, that the hardest bump in my chemo journey so far was being told to go home, that we’d try chemo the next week. His response, but it was only a week, and they made you wait so it wouldn’t hurt you. Yes, I understand that from a logical standpoint, and can now be philosophical about it, but at that moment, the emotion was something else entirely.
Caregivers: Please understand, there is not one of us who wants to be in that chair hooked up to a chemo drip. If we had our choice, we’d prefer to be perfectly healthy and living out our lives the way we had planned … without having to use drugs to kill off evil demons in our body. As a consequence, we want the treatments over and done with, so we can get back to the life we want to live. We also don’t hear the postponement statement with the logical part of our brain, we hear it through our emotions. When my treatment was postponed, I heard You’re too sick for chemo. What this woman heard today was not let’s give your body a chance to recuperate and we’ll try again … she heard chemo for you is not possible. And it rocks you to your core. Because as much as we don’t want to be in that chair, we want to be in the chair to get it over with—it’s what is going to give us our lives back. Please allow us to express the emotion of the moments from the bumps in the road without dismissing them from a logical standpoint.
PSA to Women with cellphones: Today, two 21-year-old women were diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer … the common thread? They both carried their cellphones in their bra. I understand … it’s an easy place to tuck something to give you free hands, or when you’re not carrying a purse, a place to carry the cellphone so it’s not in your pocket. BUY A CASE—strap it on your hip, or carry a purse (something I rarely do). The ability to have both hands free and carry a cell phone by putting it in your bra is not worth the cost of your life. Please don’t do it.
The picture for this post is symbolic for me that the road ahead is shorter. We’re not to the peak yet, but it is in sight and hope is on the horizon.