“I…think you need some Ativan and a talk with our oncology social worker,” my physician assistant says without asking if I want them.
Rivers of tears had been running down my cheeks with the seemingly unending flow. I was doing OK until I could not hold my tears anymore. My eyes hurt, even my nose, from trying to keep myself from crying. This is the scene on my pre-chemo appointment, when I thought I had gotten myself physically and emotionally ready.
She next listened to my heart and lungs, palpated my chest, felt my breasts and armpits, and check my belly and chest incisions.
“All looking-great, and wow your reconstruction turned out well.”
Each of my breasts still have no areola and nipple, but her comment put a smile on my face. I went through a lot. I will take any compliments I can get.
We soon went to the chemotherapy room. My friend Roxanne and I admired the mostly bright-blue view outside the window. From the top floor, we could see the not-so-distant downtown, the high rises, church, and neighboring hospitals. Looking down, we even saw her brown Honda CR-V where we parked. All vehicles appeared like matchboxes.
Soon my nurse had to start. I warned her how I don’t do well with needles. Throughout the procedure, I had my eyes on my friend while squeezing her hand. Then I checked my other hand when the nurse was done. I have a small, yellow IV, the kind they use for children.
“You put a 24-gauge on me. Thank you.”
I popped up some Zofran for nausea, and she pushed Ativan on my IV. With the steroid I took from home plus this two, I shouldn’t have nausea, right? Wrong. I did have nausea, and headache. Both subsided by the time chemo ended. And the chemo drugs (Taxotere and Cytoxan)? I tolerated them well. I didn’t like the stinging and cold sensation the whole time in my arm but I lived.
By the time I left the hospital, I received more free hats. One was black and white with a shiny black bow. It looked pretty on me. My friend bought me two thermometers in the pharmacy as I pick up my Ativan and two anti nausea drugs. She said when she heard I have to keep my temperature in check she just gotta get me new thermometers. Sweet. Back home, in my front door, ginger ale and lemon-lime drink with crackers await for me from another friend.
At night, with energy still left in me, I attended my first Young Empowered Survivors cancer group. The guest speaker introduced us to cancer fighting foods and books as resources. She stressed the importance of using more than one spice, namely– turmeric, cumin, garlic, cinnamon, and coriander among other things (not necessarily in that combination). Oh, and we get to eat what she preached too. Trout escabeche, chicken curry, fruit salad with mango and citrus, cream of broccoli soup, and curried noodles all from scratch, filled my boyfriend’s empty tummy.
He had just came from work when I dragged him out of my house with me to the meeting. He didn’t mind that at all after we ate there and the food all tasted delicious.
We had a chance to meet new faces of women surviving or currently fighting cancer too. I like this group. They have big smiles on their faces, glow in their eyes, and they are mostly active and young-looking. We parted with a content in my heart feeling I belong. I look forward to more get-together with them.
Well tomorrow, is my day off. No appointments. YAY. We will be expecting higher than ten inches of snow, and school already got cancelled. Maybe I will play Wii with the kids. If I am lucky, I can make them Wii-Zumba with me.