Thursday, the 9th was number three of four chemotherapy treatments. I am approaching the finish line. Today, Sunday, the third day post treatment is usually the worst. This has proved no different. I’ve even spiked a bit of a temperature at 99 degrees. Not to worry until it reaches 100.6 degrees.
Each successive treatment seems to be more difficult than the last. I am supposing it is due to all the chemicals / drugs being pumped into my body. Water is my best friend and I am constantly drinking it, sometimes, often times, with lemon in it.
I still cannot drink coffee and tried dark chocolate with the same effect. Perhaps I will be able to have them again when this process is finished. With all that being said, I am still having so many fewer side effects than most persons I know and observe. I am blessed and I know this to be true.
Each time now, I’ve had a different oncology nurse. The little lady I had on Thursday must have been all of fifteen years old (just kidding). Actually, she did quite well getting the IV in on the first try and no difficulties throughout the entire procedure. Bless her heart. There are usually two nurses assigned to the pod and a floater that travels around to relieve for breaks, lunch, etc.
It was a busy day in infusion. Every chair was full up. We were all women, with only one very young man who was getting his dose, then returning tomorrow for another. He was only with us for about an hour.
We arrived at 7:30 am and were there until 2:30 or so. It is always blood work and labs first, then meet with the doctor or nurse practitioner then wait for the lab results to head to infusion.
We live by our pagers, waiting for them to beckon us to the next port of call. I’ve lost the mystery of the pager alerting me to the table full of food as some chain restaurants’ do. Food has lost some (but not all) of its appeal. I do think I could put a dent in one of my Momma’s Dutch Apple Pies, however.
All the other ladies in our pod were wearing their beanies and were all very emaciated. I am not. I was the exception. After all the IVs have been inserted and started, the curtains are pulled back and depending upon how a person is feeling the talk and chatter begins. Slow at first, testing the waters, how much to share, how much to hold back… Is there hope or despondency?
One of the ladies was having a transfusion in addition to everything else. It was slow going, the viscosity being so much heavier than the chemicals and saline. She and I began a foot race to the restroom. Fortunately, we only intersected at the doorway. The more they pump into you, the more needs to be relieved. Both of our husbands’ were with us as caregivers and assisted us in these moments of private need and necessity. Illness is humbling.
Neale, the snack man came around with his standard fare of bananas, cookies, chips. Then took orders for soup for lunch. A small cup for $1 or a larger cup for $1.80. I ordered the Tomato Florentine, but didn’t care for it, so Dennis finished it for me. The crackers appealed to me more so and water with crushed ice.
I had awakened at 3:30 am, so I dozed on and off for awhile. Dennis took intermittent walks and helped me as required. I have a friend (former supervisor) who was also his wife’s caregiver. He humbly says, “It’s what we do out of love.”
One of the nurses jokingly asked, “So, what is your helper’s name?” and I quickly responded, “Oh, I just call him Stud Muffin,” to the delight of all who heard. He retorted back, “At this stage, it’s just Muffin!” Then I introduced him. One must find moments of joy and laughter. Sometimes seeking diligently after them.
Two of the ladies were going to be in the infusion pods until approximately 6 pm that evening. They had also arrived at 7:30 am that morning. What a long day for them.
When we had finished up and getting ready to go, Dennis went to the two remaining ladies and their caregivers. He introduced himself, asked their names and then asked if he could pray with them. The one lady grabbed his hand desperately and agreed. Her friend also took his hand as they formed a prayer circle that transcended the infusion pod. I was humbled by the act of this man, this, my husband. Not only does he sense my needs, but he also can sense them of others. I am blessed beyond measure.
This woman also has lung cancer. She had all her chemo last year. This year it reemerged in her liver and brain. She is not receiving chemo now. Only fluids and nutrition. In spite of all this, her spirits were remarkable. I pray we see her again.