Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Day 53 of 100 Days of Good Karma.
I sat in the waiting room for my blood to be drawn with my chemo dates for the day, Wendy and Veronica. I reached into my bag for the numbing cream that goes over my port.
The numbing cream wasn’t there.
“Oh shit,” I said quietly. “Oh shit oh shit oh shit.”
The needle that goes into my port is big and mean. I’ve never had to face it without the numbing cream and I sure didn’t want to start now.
I panicked and tore my bag apart looking for it.
After a quick blood draw I went on to the area where the nurses take each patient’s vital signs. I stepped on a scale, strapped on a blood pressure cuff and said ‘aah’ for a thermometer.
I asked the nurses if they had any numbing cream. They shook their heads and looked at me with pity in their eyes. They knew what that needle looked like, too.
That’s when Wendy stepped in.
I doubt Wendy has ever been accused of being shy. She ducked back into a busy waiting room, held up her hands in a silencing gesture and asked a room full of strangers, “Does anyone have numbing cream? My friend left hers at home.”
Cancer patients are some of the most understanding and giving people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. One man said he had some in his truck, but before he could get out of his chair a woman pulled some out of her purse and handed it to Wendy.
So I wore borrowed numbing cream over my port today.
I sent up a quiet little prayer for happy chemo days for both people that offered.
Wendy and Veronica had to take my chemo date in shifts. I didn’t realize it, but there’s a rule about only one person sitting in the chemo rooms at a time. The rooms are small and the nurses said it’s a safety hazard to have too many people back there.
While the nurse hooked me up to my chemotherapy drugs (and I didn’t feel the needle stick at all), she told me my blood work showed low numbers this time.
I’m hoping that if I hide from the world this week, or at least seriously limit contact with anyone or anything outside my house, that the numbers will come back up.
Any sort of infection or virus, anything my body has to fight off, lowers those numbers.
I hope they come back up because if they fall too far then chemotherapy could be delayed, pushing this whole mess out even further. Worst case scenario, if my numbers fall really low I could end up needing a blood transfusion.
So don’t look for me out and about this week.
During her shift, Wendy scrounged up two small bottles of juice, one apple and one prune. I made a face at the prune juice.
I know it’s good for offsetting the constipation that’s bound to happen from the anti-nausea medication. But…
“That stuff is vile,” I said.
“But it’ll make you go,” she said. She grinned and poured both bottles into a paper cup.
I grimaced, but I drank it down.
Wendy and Veronica changed shifts. Veronica sat down and looked in my cup.
“What is that?”
“Prune juice and apple juice. Wendy’s concoction.”
“But,” Veronica said, smiling. “It’ll make you go.”
“So I hear.”
After chemotherapy Wendy, Veronica and I went to lunch where I ate like a linebacker. Thank God the waitress didn’t offer me any prune juice.
Today’s silver lining: Every few weeks I meet with my oncologist. She performed a breast exam and said the tumors felt softer and flatter. This is a good sign that the chemotherapy drugs are doing their job.
Five treatments down. Seven to go before the next round of drugs.
What’s your silver lining today? I love comments!