Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Chemo Lounge: Round 3 of 4

Chemo day began with a bright and happy bunch of flowers delivered to my door from a beautiful friend. I rushed around doing some last minute cooking and cleaning. Then, all too soon, my support buddy, bless her, and I were heading to the hospital for my second last lot of chemo. I still wasn't nervous.

For the first time, I had a long wait for my blood to be taken. I was so relieved when a nurse, who I knew to be gentle, called me in for the first needle of the day. It was as pleasant as it could be.

I then headed over the road to meet with friends for coffee. Who could have thought that within the hour we would be hitting up a toxic concoction of drugs? Yes, we were in high spirits.

I had drank all that I could and my veins looked pretty plump. So, I stared at my veins until I was called to be weighed. I returned to my seat to stare at my veins some more. I sat and willed my veins not to wiggle; to be co-operative. Then, I was called in to see the oncologist. She was lovely. I was given a script for the mark on my face, in case it got worse or got red again. And, the pain in my wrist and sore vein were both the result of tissue damage. So, she gave me a second script for some lotion to put on the affected area. We had a nice little chat and then she sent me back out into the waiting room. By this time, it was packed. I chatted with a lady who I shared acquaintances with; we remarked on how small the world was. We also questioned how on earth the two of us had ended up in an oncology ward...neither could answer that one.

Then the dreaded happened. I heard one of the nurses call up some patients to convince them to come back on Saturday because there was just going to be too long a wait for them. My heart sunk. I didn't want to be selfish but my need to have the chemo over and done with was just so strong. I was nervous that I would be asked the same thing. As it turned out, I wasn't. Phew! But, I do feel sorry for those woman. They would have felt as disappointed as me in that situation, I'm sure.

It was a long wait today. But, eventually, I was called in to Day Care. There were hardly any nurses and the few who were there were working so hard. And, what's more, none of them were cranky or any less professional. A heat pack was placed on my arm to raise my beautiful blue-green veins.

I was now nervous. But, I knew that once the cannula was in and the flush went through it would be clear sailing. While the heat pack did it's trick, in further plumping up my veins, it didn't prevent my veins from wiggling when it came time for the needle. It took three goes before a good cannula was in. It was sore, but not as bad as my second bout of chemo. And, I didn't faint! I wasn't even light-headed. So happy.

I shared some gluten free crackers and beetroot chips (celebration food), and enjoyed the company of other support people and chemo recipients for the next two hours.

The needle was removed at 6.45pm. This made for a long day. My sore, needle-pricked arm was bandaged and soon we were briskly walking out into the cool air of the evening. Home time. All was at peace at home. Again, this was a sign, surely, that I could expect a smoother run than the last cycle.

A dear friend had brought over a stack of home-cooked paleo meals, another good buddy came to visit and I felt good. I was actually feeling as though I was on a bit of a high. Or was it relief?

With the third chemo down, I now only have ONE more round to go! I don't think I'll be excited about the last one, until the cannula is in and the drugs are moving. After that, I'll be damn well flying over the moon!!

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