Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sometimes it is a most boring battle

Slaying the beast

Think of "battling cancer" and I think of swords and knights and horses and shields, a field full of angry foe...and ME! Yes, me, the heroic figure atop the lame ugly horse nobody else wanted (I have a soft-spot for rescuing critters), bareback, of course, cuz I'm tough as they make 'em, wielding a huge dragon-lizard slaying double edge sword...there goes a gash on the front leg...there goes a chunk of tail...RUN! you horrible beast, run for your life!
Me battling cancer...seriously
what blond hair? it's me I tell you

Yeah, well...

Come along and battle with me

My actual battle begins early this morning as I awake and get ready for the weekly blood-letting. Today it was accompanied by a monthly visit with my Oncologist and followed by a tri-monthly dose of some magic substance to help heal my bones. Aside from lots of needles, nothing to fear.
7:00am Coffee, not too much, light breakfast, cream of wheat and walnuts, since you asked
7:35am Drive to Cancer Center, got distracted, missed turn, took scenic route through neighborhood I've never visited
7:45am Wait a little to check in, then check in
A generic waiting room
seen one, seen them all
7:55am Waiting room eerily empty at such early hour, after a short wait, blood-letting with the great lab techs (who seem to hurry more when I'm seeing the doc right after, go figure)
8:00am Waiting outside lab for the PA or nurse to take me to the doc. After 15 minutes or so, get weighed, find my darned medicine is making me gain about 3 lbs/month, just what I needed. Why could I not have the ONE symptom everyone talks about: rapid weight loss! Nope, not me, not an Arango woman, I gain weight just by breathing heavy air.

8:15am wait again at the doc's exam room, a little longer this time, almost done with a diabolical Sudoku puzzle on my iPhone.
8:30ish Oncologist with intern walk in, we joke around as usual, I report an annoying rash which seems to concern everyone, I report weight gain. We chat about the rash, then about one of my tumor markers that is fluctuating like that dragon's tail. He does not seem concerned but schedules a follow-up PET scan.
On a great note, my hemoglobin and other blood counts are up and I won't have to inject myself with poison #3 this week. Ready to start with Cycle 4 of poisons #1 and #2 tonight. All is well.

8:44ish Back to scheduling where I wait, what else. Scheduler finishes her biz and I'm next. While in scheduling, the treatment chair nurse calls my name and seems rather annoyed to have to wait with me. Really. I humbly mumble (just wanted to say those two words together...humbly mumble) that the doc sent me to scheduling and she gets over her annoyance.

9:00ish To the chair! the annoyed nurse points to a chair without a word (sheesh...)
Generic treatment room
trust me they all look the same
9:10ish All the chairs facing the windows and I get one facing the bathroom door, and I'm not calling that annoyed nurse back. So I'm sitting trying to finish my diabolical Sudoku and a much nicer nurse sticks a blood vessel on the back of my hand with a needle, then that vein "blows out" and she tries another. Saline first, then the bone strengthening stuff that drips into my body for about 30 minutes. They double check it's really me-and-my-medicine with the buddy system and for the 3rd time that day I say my name and date of birth.

People come and go, an older gent doesn't have any good veins to hit, several people try, they all suggest installing a "port" which is a device that is inserted into your body to allow easy access to a blood vessel. He just grumbles, who can blame him.
The cranky nurse comes and goes with other people and pretty much treats them all the same so I feel better about her crankiness not being directed at me specifically. I notice it is sunny outside.

Thirty minutes seems like a long time to just sit but it really flies by when your imagination is as overactive as mine. My hand hurts but I lie to the nurse and say it doesn't, it's just a little tiny pain anyway. 

10:something
...and that's it! I am released from the cancer center with schedule in hand, some vague idea that some prescription for my rash will be called to some pharmacy nearby by someone. Oh and someone else from the diagnostics place will call me about my PET/CT scan at some point in the next few days.

The excitement of the battle might kill me before the cancer does, if you will permit a morbid joke...
Until next time!

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