Eight more to go. Although honestly it is more like seven and a half, since I have to wear my pump until eleven twenty Sunday morning.
I was fine when I awakened this morning, and felt fine until I arrived at the hospital. Sitting in the recliner waiting for my blood work to come back clearing me for treatment, I started to feel the slightest bit nauseous. This leads me to believe that some of this must be psychosomatic in nature, but telling myself this does not help. It is about the smell of the chemo, the smell of the building and the air inside it, the chair I sit in, the food they serve. There was no chemo near me, and I haven't felt nauseous in a week, but my stomach started to feel queasy. I was at an event recently where they served the same types of sandwiches the hospital serves for lunch, and I had to focus myself on not tossing my cookies, so to speak. Just thinking of those sandwiches makes me want to hurl. And here I'm are just talking run of the mill nausea, not the chemo kind that feels like I have a brick in my stomach.
Since this seems to be the star side effect this time around, I requested a different anti nausea med from my doctor. The compazine I was originally prescribed worked well, but had a sun exposure warning. I already have sun sensitivity, and the chemo amplifies it, so I didn't want to add to the already high exposure risk. I often wear a hat year round, and always wear sunscreen, but my job requires me to be outside for a couple of hours a day in the nice weather. It is hard to keep covered enough under normal living conditions. Several of my medical friends suggested I ask for zofran, which only claims to cause dizziness. My doctor doesn't usually prescribe it with chemo because it can cause constipation. I have an anti diarrheal drug though, because one of the chemo meds causes that problem. I haven't had too much of that yet, but I am supposed to keep ahead of it, so this sounds like the perfect solution. I am hoping that this all works out as well as it seems like it should, but given I am no doctor, I'm sure there are things here I am missing. It would be nice if psi bands, ginger candy and a cup of peppermint tea would do the trick.
Something I find amusing about my new nausea med is that the generic version I have is called ondansetron. One of my chemo meds is called irinotecan, (eye-rye-no-TEE-can), which sounds like a dance to me. Is there a secret message here telling me to get my dance on?
The treatments are easier now, knowing what to expect and what I can accomplish or not while receiving them, and how I can expect to feel afterward. I find the hospital atmosphere so weird though. I may have mentioned this in the past, so if you have any ideas on this, please share. There are so many people together being treated for the same or similar things, but none of the patients talk to one another. There was a man there today whom I have seen every two weeks for the past two months. He often gets his treatment in the pod next to mine. He was walking toward me as I was heading towards the bathroom. I looked at his face as he came down the corridor towards me, waiting for him to meet my eyes, so I could say hello, but he just looked past me. There is a woman who accompanies someone each time I get a treatment, and she sits in the same seat in the same room every time. She is right in my line of vision for many of the hours we are there. She also never looks my way, she is focused on the computer screen in her lap. It all seems so isolated, like people don't want an intrusion from somewhere else into this very personal journey, and I find this makes me sad. I admit I don't try too hard to be seen, but I would smile and say hello to anyone who seemed open to it. None of the patients seems to want to make contact. I feel I need to respect that, and not be intrusive, but it feels wrong.
It may be me. I do tend to be shy, but if I notice someone I pass often on the street, or share the same bus with, I make an effort to acknowledge that persons existence, that we are making the same journey together, and offer a hello at the minimum. I don't always succeed, but I do my best. It seems the human thing to do.
Fortunately, I have Steve who comes most times to sit with me, and some steadfast friends who pop by for a visit. Today my friend Brett stopped by with a goodie bag of things to eat and do. She taught me a card game called Lost Cities, A daring adventure for two. It was a fun way to pass the time, and we had such a great conversation through the whole visit.
This time with Steven, and these visits from friends are a precious thing I so look forward to now. It is a bit of time I would not normally have in my day, to relax and focus on little else but the person who is sitting with me. It is a gift of time that I love receiving. And it has taught me an extraordinary and wonderful way to be giving, that is so important for those who are healing.
This evening, I am accepting that I will not feel tired for quite some time. Something in my new drugs keeps me awake. One of the side effects of the ondansetron is sleepiness, and this could help, but I am not counting on it. I walked to the hospital, and to CVS on my way home. I walked to see a JUMP! dance recital this evening, that was a pleasant distance from my house so I feel like I have exercised a fair amount today. So far the only thing that has helped me sleep with this round of chemo was the thought that I would spend my awake time working on taxes. I made it just past midnight, which was an improvement over four o'clock the previous two times. Those are done though, so I'll have to be more creative tonight.
I could sit here and type on for the next few hours, but that might not be so good for you, so I'll stop here, and save some cancergirl tales for tomorrow.