My journey has begun part 2

Monday, September 17, 2007 
My journey has begun part 2.
Category: Life

Hello again, I'm back... well, I'm alive anyway.  I'm ready to tell a bit more of my tale.   I decided to add a new blog, the other one was really getting long :-)

When I last left you I found out I had to have a stint put in.  I had a few days in the hospital before I could go home.  I felt like crap!  Usually I go 90 miles an hour with my hair on fire and I was down to stop.  I was home for 3 days when I can down with a fever and had to be admitted into the hospital again.  The doctor didn't like that the fact that I had a fever, but the cool part was that he suspected that it was caused from tumor necrosis – the tumor was dying. So this was good news.
After I was released from the hospital this time I settled into a routine.  I had to be at the hospital everyday, Monday – Friday, at 9:00 am for external radiation.  Each Tuesday I would get chemo.  My small army of friends were relentless in insisting that I always have a ride and I didn't have to go alone.

For those of you who have never had chemo it's quite a trip.  I arrive at the hospital, get the radiation, then scurry off to the chemo area.  The chemo area is comprised of four lazy-boy style recliners arranged around the room.  You would almost think it was a spare room in a house, with the exception of the IV stands next to each station.   Since I only had to get chemo once a week, I opted that they administer an IV in my arm each time.  My other option was to have a "port" installed.  This is a device that sits under the skin on your chest and has tubes hangout, it's like a permanent IV.  All of the other ladies who I met had a port.  Some days I wished I had one, but I'm glad I stuck it out without one.  If I ever have to do another round of chemo, I'll probably opt for one.  After a few weeks of chemo and radiation, your veins tend to get weak, so the chances the nurses miss your vein and have to poke you again get better towards the end.  Some of my veins actually blew up (gross) resulting in major bruises.

As terrible of a situation that I find myself in, my weeks of chemo taught me that I could be much worse off.  Most of the women who had their chemo sessions with me were older, and they had been fighting cancer for much longer than I had.  They also were missing their hair and they spoke of months and months of chemo and painful surgeries.   Throughout all of this, these ladies still somehow found sense of humor, had hopeful stories and spoke about a life outside of cancer.  I was so tired that I didn't get a chance to really know any of these lovely ladies, but I wish them all the best and I thank them for giving me perspective and  a taste of the fight.

Getting the chemo took me a total of five to six hours depending on how smoothly things were running.  For the first few hours they pump you full of hydration and medication to help prevent any bad reaction to the bad stuff. Then they bring on the real stuff.  It's delivered in bags marked "Hazardous" and the nurse who administers it wears a full body protective shield……. Yippi, this stuff's going in my veins!  When they have every drop of the chemo administered they give you some more meds to flush as much of it out as they can.  At this point I unplugged my IV stand, which I lovingly named "My Stalker" and would have to wheel myself to the bathroom to pee every five minutes until it was all flushed through.

The next few days after chemo are not fun.  I was on a low-dose chemo and felt like a truck hit me, I can't imagine what a more aggressive regimen would have done to me.  This is where I want to mention something that touched my heart.  In passing on my chemo and radiation days when I was keeping my chin up but still cursing the luck that sent me cancer, I would occasionally see a little girl– usually coming and going, she was in a different area than me.  She was maybe three years old.  She bright eyes that shown big over the blue mask she wore.  She didn't have a hair on her head, not even an eyelash.  She never seemed mad, or sad.  She listened to her parents and was always curious about the other people around her.  I usually start conversations with anybody I encounter, even in passing.  As curious as I was, I couldn't bring myself to even say hi to her or her family.  I was just so struck that they little baby girl had already fought ten of the battles that I had.  Anytime I start to feel sorry for myself I think of her and it makes me strong again.

Thank you little girl, whoever you are.

(Continue to - My journey... into limbo?)

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