Chapter Seven

Thursday, June 19th was the second chemotherapy. I believe the anxiety got to me as I was unable to fall asleep until 2:45 a.m. that very morning. I awoke at 6:30 a.m. to begin preparation for the event.

First, the blood draw at 8:50 a.m., then meeting with the oncologist and going over new meds and any symptomatic issues. My blood levels were all on target. I am having blurriness of vision, so I have to pick up special eye drops – fortunately OTC. My “angry vein” is actually phlebitis, so it was determined to use another vein. From there, we wait for the pager to signal our move to the infusion suite. We moved from the right arm to the left arm; changed up the order of the meds being injected. The Alimta was first up after hydration, then followed by more hydration (both oral and infused) and finally the Cisplatin being dripped with hydration and followed with even more infused hydration and a number of potty breaks. Part and parcel of this event, but hydration is imperative – before, during and after.

They (read we) are trying to keep from having to have a port placed as I am only having four total chemo infusions. Depending upon the outcome of this infusion, they may consider a  Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, or "PICC line." This is a thin, soft plastic tube — like an intravenous (IV) line — that allows you to receive medicines and fluids. A PICC line stays in place for as long as needed. You may know all about these, but I don’t, so I googled it.

A nurse places a PICC line into a large vein in your arm and guides the catheter up into the main vein near your heart where blood flows quickly. The nurse sutures (stitches) the PICC line in place and covers the site with a sterile bandage. An x-ray is done to make sure that the catheter is in the right place. It takes 1 - 1 ½ hours to place the PICC line. Most patients feel little or no discomfort during this procedure. A local anesthetic may be used. 

I’m praying I have no more phlebitis due to the chemo infusions and would appreciate prayers to that end. It took a week for it to show up in my right arm and was treated with warm compresses and ibuprofen.

I’ve been experiencing some depression / anxiety and have a med for that now. In fact, when this great excursion began in January, I was merely taking one prescription. We are currently up to fifteen. Thus the depression and anxiety, if my self diagnosis is correct.

I was taken to a private room on this day. I asked why and was told “luck of the draw” and how full up the other areas were. Remembering back to my first tour of the infusion suites, we were led past a private room, where a woman had turned her back to the door so she could not see those who were passing by. My heart went out to her in her isolation and pain. The pain if physical, I do not know, but most surely emotional. I thought to myself that I did not want to be in a private room for whatever reason and prayed for her in whatever condition she was in and may it not be a coldness of her heart.

I reconsidered my thoughts on a private room with the overwhelming tiredness from not sleeping the night before. I hooked up my headphones and listened to music, yet still could not sleep. 

Dennis left on his mission. A family member provided funds to purchase the lovely piece of art I mentioned in the first post. Dennis bought the item then drove it home so it would not have to stay in the vehicle as our temperature was 108 degrees and that can degrade art work. Thank you, Mom!

Monsoon Steam  by Ruth CaƱada

Now, two days after chemo, I am tired, dehydrated and drinking water like a fiend! I don’t have much of an appetite, but must maintain my weight. The inside of my mouth is “peeling” and the moisture from the water does indeed help.

The infusion site is a bit bruised and tender. I’ve begun the warm compresses as a preemptive strike.

Last evening, Dennis asked me to come outside with him and our dog, Dudley. There were three young owls on the neighbor’s roof. One flew off before I arrived, but we watched two others. How amazing to watch them turn their heads in what appears to be a 360 degree turn when I would make gentle clucking noises. I do hope his pictures turn out. It was amazing to watch. One by one the other two flew off as they grew bored with our invading their privacy. It was a wonderful ten minutes of awe and wonder in the middle of Tucson’s metropolitan east side!


I’ve been reading a book on Sabbath rest. It is intriguing. I have determined that I will not use social media on Sunday. From my pen to God’s ears… The phone may or may not be answered, I haven’t fully worked through that issue.

In the meantime, as “She Who Walks in Faith”, I read this on a cancer site and have determined that hope is imperative:

Study after study shows that when we think we are going to do well at something, we actually do.

Often when we believe that we can be healthy, it’s the first step to being healthy.

Hope is believing the best is still on its way and that goodness will triumph in the end.

Losing hope might be the saddest human experience. 

I am also holding fast to The Wesleyan Means of Grace

Courageous and forward-leaning mission congregations practice spiritual disciplines. Our vital work is a spiritual adventure based in John Wesley’s means of grace. John Wesley taught that God’s grace is unearned and that we were not to be idle waiting to experience grace but we are to engage in the means of grace. The means of grace are ways God works invisibly in disciples, hastening, strengthening and confirming faith so that God's grace pervades in and through disciples. As we look at the means of grace today, they can be divided into works of piety and the works of mercy. 

Works of Piety 

Individual Practices – reading, meditating and studying the scriptures, prayer, fasting, regularly attending worship, healthy living, and sharing our faith with others 

Communal Practices – regularly share in the sacraments, Christian conferencing (accountability to one another), and Bible study 

Works of Mercy 

Individual Practices – doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving generously to the needs of others 

Communal Practices – seeking justice, ending oppression and discrimination (for instance Wesley challenged Methodists to end slavery), and addressing the needs of the poor 

Making disciples, growing vital congregations and transforming the world is part of a spiritual adventure that is empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit as churches engage in the means of grace. Spiritual goals are accomplished by connecting the means of grace with proven vital church practices such as planning, strategic direction, prioritization, clear focus and alignment.

This has been a difficult week for those of faith especially when on the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown CharlestonSouth Carolina, United States. The church is one of the United States' oldest black churches and has long been a site for community organizing around civil rights. Nine people were killed, including the senior pastor, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, a state senator. A tenth victim was also shot, but survived.

I so wish I had an answer to the violence and the hatred that seems to permeate our culture. The best responses I have witnessed are the survivors, the family members’ and the church members’ response to this horrific tragedy. They have responded with forgiveness, with love, with grace, with dignity, and yes, with loss and appropriately requesting justice. God bless them and our nation as we heal from yet another devastation.

This is all for this edition of “Love In the Time of Chemo”. I choose life, so until next time, I remain "She Who Walks in Faith".