Monday, December 22, 2014

Chemo #5 under my belt, onward and upward

How time flies when you are having a good time, suddenly Monday was here and we were on our way to Storm Lake in the rain for chemo. This time I went bearing gifts, I made homemade turtles and had a container for the admittance desk, the lab and a large one for the oncology nurses. I wanted to show my appreciation for all the kindness' that have been shown me while I'm there. 

My stomach still churns as we get closer and my first stop is always the bathroom, I don't think I'll ever take it in stride and always thankful for Bruce's strong presence. He's like Janet, he can sit in that chair for hours and be just fine. I'd be squirming and fidgeting, running to the waiting room for snacks, then to the bathroom for relief, he is my rock now that Janet is in sunny Texas.

I finally broke down and got a Samsung tablet, I'd envied Janet's tablet that she would pull out of her purse and start reading. I always took a book along and a couple of times I took my laptop to watch a movie but then couldn't get it to work and it was pretty big to haul around. It just came on Friday so I played with it, trying to figure out how to use it and had a hard time downloading a book to read while I was at the clinic. Things finally clicked into place and EUREKA! I got a book off the Wilbor system our library uses, I fully charged the tablet and was ready to go! 

Always the first stop after registration is the lab for blood and then to the waiting room for a nurse evaluation which never takes long. Then they whisk you back to the exam room for the doctor visit and it was Dr. Wender today. The nurse had me put on a gown for a physical exam and after I had it on, I suddenly needed to visit the bathroom again, groan! I think it's just like the mother who bundles her toddler in a snowsuit, boots, hat and mittens to go play in the snow then the kid announces they have to go potty!

I decided to just tough it out and hope he wasn't too long and didn't poke me very hard in the stomach area or we'd both be in for a surprise. Dr. Wender finally came in, wearing a burgundy shirt with a red Christmas tie decorated with Santa's. Our friend, Alex, and I have talked about how he dresses, he wears some of the most mis-matched clothes! Bruce complimented him on his Christmas tie and he said he saw a large selection at Penney's but wasn't going to pay full price, instead he went back after Christmas and bought them at half price. He and Bruce bonded over that!

We finally had to get down to business, he had Dr. Rao's notes from the last time, he talked again about a maintenance pill. I told him that I preferred to go with Dr. Rao's recommendations, to do the entire treatment so, hopefully, I wouldn't be back in two years starting over. Dr. Wender kind of chuckled and said he could take that a little personal but I know that was his attempt at humor. He did say if I was back in two years, I would probably be on a completely different medicine as things change in the world of treatments. He also said even if I go the 12 treatments he couldn't guarantee I still won't be back in 2 years. I told him that I know there are no guarantee's, I just want to do the best I can right now to try and rid my body of the Crips so they won't dare come back.  He then told me I was 'exceptional', because I could not tolerate the full dose of chemo, he doesn't see many people who react as I did. I wondered if I should get a gold star. We did tell him that this is the problem with seeing more than one doctor, everyone has their own ideas and Dr. Wender agreed so we parted on good terms.

Then it was time to enter the big room, I was able to get a chair back in the corner that is more private but the downside was another chair was taken so Bruce didn't have a lot of room. He didn't complain. I pulled out my tablet and started looking for the book I'd downloaded while the nurses were doing their thing and I couldn't find it!!! AAUUGGHHHH!!! Soon a couple of the nurses were trying to help me, IV poles were beeping all over the room while they searched for my book! (I just made up the part about the IV's going off.) I finally went in the Wilbor program and downloaded another book, the first one will show sooner or later, possibly when I get better at operating it.

I felt pretty smug, tucked under a warm blanket with a pillow under my head, laid back in the leather recliner with my shoes off and Christmas socks on, reading a book on my tablet......until the Benedryl kicked in. Then I was snoring away, tucked under a warm blanket with a pillow under my head, laid back in the leather recliner with my shoes off and Christmas socks on with Bruce at my side watching a bowl game on the little TV. Thank heavens these E-books hold your last page.....providing I can even find that book again.....

I remember vaguely when they did blood pressure and temperature checks but I mainly just slept the afternoon away, that does not bode well for tonight. Especially because the last thing they give you are some steroids to pump you up. But Dr. Wender did give me a Christmas present, I don't have to start my round of shots until Dec. 26. I had a reaction to them the last time that laid me out on the couch for the rest of the day, so now I should be able to enjoy Christmas. As the nurse was unplugging my from the IV's she asked if I liked my port and I didn't have a good answer. It is a lot better than being stuck in the veins repeatedly and I was told that chemo is hard on veins. But it is an intruder, something foreign, stitched into my body that is a constant reminder of why it's there. I can't say I like it but I grudgingly accept it for the job it does for me.

But I've never affectionately named it.


  1. Julie: I am glad the day went well for you. Also glad it was rain and not snow you drove through. Wishing you Merry Christmas and that the New year will be a better one for you. Love, Janet

  2. Julie I echo Janet's words, so glad that the weather is good for you to trek to your treatments! Sometimes its so easy to not see the "little things" that do make things almost little miracles.... 34 degrees on Christmas day? Who would have ever thought that, especially after last years horribly cold months long winter!? We will be keeping you in our prayers as the shots begin tomorrow again for you... remember that In Christ you can do ALL things. Every time is one more time closer to the celebration that will occur after treatment 12!! Sending lots of love your way and Bruce's too from Wisconsin!