Monday, August 25, 2014

August Already!

Friday, August 1, 2014

August already, and time for my third chemo treatment.

We drive to the Miriam, and arrive by eight forty. There are few people in the waiting room today, and I am registered and called in quickly.

Faye is my nurse today. She was my nurse on my first trip here. She remembers me very well, and I can't even remember her name. I keep trying to get a look at her name tag, but it has flipped around so I can't see it. (I don't figure out her name until two weeks later when I am at chemo with a different nurse when I figure it out.) I feel terrible that I don't remember her name, and feel too embarrassed to ask.

Faye draws my blood and sends me off to get weighed and have my vitals taken by this other very nice woman, who by now I should also know the name of. I will be sure to figure it out the next time I am here. She weighs me and I have gained five pounds. This is great news, and everyone is happy about it.

I go to visit Dr. Safran, who is pleased with how things are progressing. He notices my tattoo, and asks me to tell him the story behind it again. He thinks it is great.

I go back to the pod I have chosen to be in today, number six. It is a smaller room on the corner of the building, with lots of light due to the extra window space. Faye starts me on my pre meds, saline and iron. It takes a long time for my blood work to come back today, it turns out my platelet count is low, only one forty. When the count is low, they have to count them without the aid of a machine, and it takes longer. I picture a person in a lab coat looking through a microscope, counting with the aid of a probe, one platelet at a time. One fifty and up is ideal, seventy five is low and would put me off my chemo for a week. One forty is within range. Now that the count is done, things can get rolling. We are only half an hour behind.

A volunteer comes by offering to do reiki on me. I accept her offer. I have never had reiki before and am curious about how it works.

It starts out with a gentle guided meditation, followed by a laying on of hands. She starts by touching my ankles, working her way up my body, my knees, hips, abdomen, shoulders and head. It is a firm and comforting touch, with warm, gentle hands.

It is relaxing until she gets to my abdomen. I feel very anxious as she works here. I concentrate on my breathing, because I can feel i quickening. I breath in and out, trying to be slow and steady. I still feel uneasy, and I don't know why. Is it the cancer, or is it just fear?

When she touches my shoulders I feel calm again. By the time she reaches my head, I feel very relaxed. I wonder if I should just fall asleep? I could, but I don't. I lay there for a few moments and then open my eyes.

The woman, Claire, is still there and asks how I feel. I am calm and relaxed. She tells me that she is a cancer survivor too, and that this is her way of giving back to the community for all that she received when she was going through treatment here.

Right after she leaves, my daughter Kaileigh calls. She is moving to Somerville today, and is about to start the six hour drive from Ithaca, New York. Steve leaves for lunch while I am talking to her.

We are going to see Kaileigh and Josh's new apartment tomorrow and help them unpack. We are all looking forward to it. It will be so nice to have my daughter be an hour away after seven years of lengthly commutes on our rare trips to visit her.

The lunch lady comes by while I am on the phone. I put the phone down for a minute to see what my choices are and get offered anything on the cart today. There are sandwiches, salad, and soup or American chop the lunch lady can warm up for me. I get a tuna sandwich on swirly bread with some potato chips. I finish my call with Kaileigh, and then devour my lunch. For some reason, chemo makes me very hungry.

Once lunch is over, the lunch lady comes back to offer dessert. I have already decided I would like chocolate pudding today. She returns a short time later with tapioca. It is funny because that is the one flavor that she didn't offer me. Faye hears our exchange and gives me a look that says, "what can you do?" I shrug back.

I seems quiet on the floor today. There is little overflow of conversation from anywhere. The nurses are all so busy though. I am still trying to figure out how things work here, there is this whole other half of the room that seems to have different nurses attending to it. I see them drift over to my side of the nurses station occasionally. I need to ask about that next time I am here.

By two forty five, I am hooked up to my Fluorouracil pump. Time to go home now.

At three o'clock, I arrive home to find the kids seated around the kitchen table having snack. I take the first to finish outside and soon we are joined by the rest of the snackers. I missed the playground trip this morning and I hear news of it now. We have races in the driveway. My favorite is the super slow turtle race. One child takes nearly ten minutes to slowly creep up the driveway to win the race. What patience!

Joan brings me a delicious meal this evening, called Captain Tom. It is chicken, raisins and tomatoes, spiced with Indian spices and served over rice with yogurt. I love Indian food, and this is a combination that my whole family loves. We also enjoy salad, fruit tarts and there are some Oreos for later. Loved and nourished once again.

I am tired after chemo, but Steven is really looking forward to seeing Guardians of the Galaxy this evening. We decided to go, and Alex and Filipa join us.

When I go to the movies, I usually make a stop in the bathroom before it starts. This evening was no different, except it required more thought than it should have. I have carried my backpack into the cinema because I need to take it off in the car, so when I get into the stall, I need to hang it up. The hook on the door is too far away so I set it on the top of the toilet paper holder. When I go to flush, it occurs to me that at home I would need to close the cover, and then flush twice. The first time to get rid of any waste, the second time to be sure all of the chemo has been cleared away. There is no cover in this bathroom. With a super powerful flush do I still need to flush twice? How many other people have passed through this room wondering the same thing? Did they flush twice, did they even think about it?

When I go to wash my hands, the soap is cool and shocks my hands. The only way to get it off is to run my hands under the cold water that is coming out of the faucet. I quickly run my hands in and out, hoping I can get the soap off before my hands register the cold.

I hang my backpack over one shoulder, and my handbag over the other. I give my ticket to the ticket taker, and pause for a minute to look around. I do not know if Steven has gone into the theater, or if he is still in the bathroom. I notice the security cop is looking at me from across the room, and decide to go into the theater. As I make my way there, Steve comes out of the bathroom and I wait for him to catch up. I see the security cop talking to the ticket taker, and they are both looking at me. I think the ticket guy is reassuring the security guy that I don't have anything in my backpack to be worried about. There is surely no bomb, and most likely no candy.

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