Yesterday I finally had my appointment with my Oncologist, so we can get on with the next phase of fighting this cancer.
When I walked into the waiting room, I thought I had accidentally ambled into the local Senior Citizen’s Center instead. I am not exaggerating when I say that I don’t think I saw anyone under 60…possibly not even under 70. I certainly stuck out…but I guess that’s a good thing.
My husband was able to arrange his schedule to come to this consultation, and that is always a relief for me, as he can translate any mumbo jumbo that I may mix up. My Oncologist, Dr. Murphy, is from Ireland, so she has an incredibly cool accent. Not one where you struggle to understand, but one that had just enough exoticness to it that you can’t help but enjoy the sounds coming out of her mouth, no matter what the negative information may be.
Like our other visits with the surgeon, she went through the protocol for the treatment, and then she and my husband had their little doctor chat while I twiddled my thumbs. Some people might get annoyed that they’re being left out of the conversation, but not me. I’m more than happy to let someone else process the details. For me, I’ve just been on information overload. I’m sorta like, just tell me where I need to be, when I need to be there, and I’ll show up to do whatever you need to do to me so that I can be healthy again. I know some people cringe at this, for I really should take control of my care and make informed decisions, but honestly, no decision I make will be as informed as a well-recommended doctor’s. So I have no qualms about giving up the reigns and just going along for the ride. I left her office with a handful of prescriptions and a spinning head.
I then had blood drawn from my porta cath….first time that was used….and it still hurt when I was poked with the needle. But I was given a prescription for a cream to apply before I come to chemo to numb the area. And that’s a very good thing.
Later that day I had to take a Chemo Class at the same facility. There were only three of us in the class, and surprisingly there was a girl who seemed to be my age. But no one looked like they wanted to talk, so I managed to keep to myself…although it took all my strength not to crack jokes during the video they showed about what to expect with chemo. Like when the lady who had gone through chemo said that some days just making the bed will take every ounce of strength you have. No problem there I thought..I never make the bed.
Or when the instructor in the video said that an occasional glass of wine or alcohol is okay…just use your better judgment. Does one even have better judgment when consuming alcohol?
After the video and me asking a few questions, while the other two chemo class students remained silent, we took a tour of the facility. Basically we go into a big, cold, sterile looking room with a long row of hospital-looking lounging chairs. You get all hooked up to your IV and you sit. There are a few TVs to watch if you’d like, or you can stare out the window into the back parking lot, or watch all the techs in vibrant colored scrubs hurry about. It’s not very homey.
At the end of the tour they asked if we had any questions…and of course I did. Probably the most important question of all: Do you have wireless internet in here?
With so many elderly people being serviced who probably have never even touched a computer, let alone gone online, it didn't surprise me that the answer was No. But I had to at least ask.
While there, I experienced what I do during most of these drawn-out appointments or tests…just this feeling of complete disbelief. I seem to flip flop between feelings of “I can’t believe this is happening” and those of, “Okay, let’s just get this all over with.” It’s as if I’m physically there, surrounded by all this obscure “stuff”, but I’m not really emotionally there at all. Because although I know this is all real (I’m not in denial of this happening), what I’m experiencing is so far out of my regular schema, that I don’t even know what to think or feel sometimes. So I just try to remain upbeat and get through it. Until I can be home, with my children and husband, where everything feels real, and right, again.
Anyhow, this is the deal:
Chemo begins on Monday, Oct. 8th. It will last for about 2 ½ hours. I return the next day for some injection.
This will go on every two weeks for approximately the next 4 months.
The first half of my chemo will be harder and more intense…worse side effects than the 2nd half. (I’ll list the actual drugs in a different post—when I can find the papers they gave me in the mess of stuff accumulating in my bag).
Apparently I’ll feel really tired and nauseous the first couple days, then things will perk up, with some diarrhea and/or mouth sores popping up in there at some point. Then by the last couple days of the 2nd week, I’ll be feeling quite well again, just in time to start all over.
I’ll begin losing my hair before I even start my second dose of chemo.
Can't wait to start....only because I just want it to be all done!
Labels: cancer, chemo