Wednesday April 20, 2011
Today was my second chemotherapy session. As I write this, I am entering my chemo schedule into my whackberry calendar, so surprised at myself for not having done this yet (and that I don’t have a damn iphone yet). While contemplating why I am lacking an intense desire to know when my treatment is over, I realize it is because I wasn’t so sure that there would actually BE a start date and therefore I could not logically foresee an end. But hair we are. HA. I reluctantly succumbed to the advice. of my physicians who have been over-stuffed like a thanksgiving turkey from day 1 of medical school with information pertaining to treating or curing patients like me with invasive, life-altering, body modifying surgery along with super caustic, side-effect causing, toxic drugs, both of which I was not supportive of, but the latter I was completely against…until the morning of my last pre-infusion appointment. I won’t ramble about the details and goings on of what happened that morning, or the phone calls I made and conversations I had with my most important (open-minded) supporters, before delving head first into this empty, unattended swimming pool. However, this is the decision I made and I told myself “NO REGRETS”. And in regards to these procedures and standards of care that I poo-poo above, I realized do, in fact, save lives, only after being presented with the survival rates and percentages I had requested for weeks, because for some reason they are unavailable in to the lay person in books and hold on to your seats, the internet cannot calculate them, unless, of course you have a medical license and therefore access to the Shared Decision Making software program. Breathe. The only regret I do have to report thus far, is that I just had to check mark the “all day event” box in my agenda for the chemotherapy days. BOOOOOOO, super jive.
Thanks to Mother Nature and her first thunder and lightning storm I have heard all spring, I spent an extra three hours at the glorious Roswell Park. Although you may sense some sarcasm, the day didn’t turn out all that bad. Although, I thought hospitals were immune to inclement weather affecting them, somehow only the printers at the hospital went haywire. A bit of an obscure excuse, I thought, for being that behind, but after remembering banging in to work with the swine flu last summer, I bought it. I was scheduled for three different meetings before my actual infusion was to take place at 12:30 that lasts two and a half hours, leaving plenty of time for (best boyfriend ever) Ben to zoom me to my hair appointment with James, a hop skip, and a jump away, before he had to head to work. Instead we waited and waited and ate lunch and waited some more and got coffee. Then my mom’s long time friend who is a chemo nurse there and infused me last time, came to notify us that she had been busted setting a room aside for us, after the whole staff had been warned the day before that in this specific department nurses requesting patients or vice versa was now frowned upon. She apologized and gave me a hug and I explained that I hoped she wasn’t in too much trouble. Then she whispered to me that I should run if relinquished to the care of a particular nurse. Then we waited some more and Sara visited us eager to do a meditation session, but said that she’d be back in a while and when she returned we were still waiting. She left once again and promised to return. THEN THEY CALLED US, FINALLY. Through all that time spent waiting, I pet a therapy dog named Rory, read articles, one of particular interest on the evolution of etsy.com and the brainchild behind it who is now a millionaire, and talked to some strangers, all while we listened to the many different horn sounds and intermittent showtune outbursts of the musical volunteer of the hour, name unknown, unfortunately.
We were directed through the bizarre wind tunnel reception area to my very own chemo room by a wonderful and gentle nurse that I got along well with, whom I later discovered is a reiki master, not to my surprise. She started by revealing a sterile, blue package in a ritualistic fashion onto the table and began unfolding. Inside there were face masks for all and a yellow gown and gloves for her. It also came complete with tubing and an eagle talon needle (never touched by germs, hopefully) for accessing my newly placed chest-port which is why this was all a new and very different experience from the last infusion that was given intravenously through the veins in my arm. My chest port (placed below my dermis above my right breast) when accessed, is directly fed into a catheter through my superior vena cava in my neck to my heart. This port that I was also much opposed to will supposedly protect my arm from chemical burns and collapsing veins, which would require more plastic surgery (no thanks). After putting up a fight against this procedure too, I finally gave in. I have always believed in natural medicine via diet and exercise so being poked, prodded, and cauterized just didn’t appeal to me, can you blame me? My port will be in place, I’ve just figured, until approximately the middle of July of 2012, the end of my intravenous chemotherapy injections. Lucky for me, my hair (that just started visibly parachuting off my scalp TODAY) will start returning from its leave of absence in August of this year. My reiki savvy nurse, not minding any of my questions, started the infusion of the Red Devil (Adriamycin, named after the Adriatic Sea for its red color) burned my chest like hell. It was then that I understood why they must sit with me and manually push the drug in and the use of extreme caution in relation to the health of my arm’s precious veins.
After we got going Sara finally showed up for the remainder of my session. She brought her sweet friend Molly who turned out to be the amazing being who taught Sara how to play the hypnotic meditation chimes. I was excited for a little R and R after a long day of anticipation. Ben stayed for a while even though he should’ve hightailed it to work. We were soon guided back to the beach and Wow can Molly play! Afterward, Ben hit the road and Sara, bless her heart, stayed with me until my favorite sister-in-law appeared. I had about a half an hour left and had already rescheduled with James for 5:30. Luckily he had another opening.
—I am so grateful and surprised daily at how accommodating and absolutely wonderful James has been throughout this super fun, therapeutic project!—
Kitty and I left. Being intoxicated and understandably tuckered out or noticeably v8 deficient, I walked out with a slant in my stagger and went to get a haircut to match
Ashley you’re always there, ready to film/photograph, and in a good mood…thanks girlie.