Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Just Another Manic Monday

Yesterday was my chemo day, and since it was a Monday, I had steeled myself for the frustrations that Mondays often bring. On Sunday I went to my hospital's satellite lab, hoping that by having my labs done early, I would avoid having to wait for the lab results. After I had my appointment with the nurse practitioner, she told me that my numbers look good, and she said that because I have reached the halfway mark in my treatment, my doc was scheduling an abdominal/pelvic scan for me before my next chemo. So that was good. 

As I was waiting to get called back for my infusion, I had a conversation with a woman sitting next to me in the waiting room about the randomness of the side effects. She told me that she also has colon cancer, and I was happy to hear that her neuropathy had gotten better. I asked her how many treatments she had had. She said 16 so far, and I told her that I have completed 6 of my scheduled 12 treatments. I asked how many she had left to go. When she said, “For the rest of my life--if I want to live” was one of those random, unsettling occurrences that made me feel as though I had been bitch-slapped. While that may or may not be the case for everyone, that certainly is not what I needed to hear, and maybe that was her interpretation but not exactly what the doctors said. However, that set the tone for the rest of the day.

Much to my chagrin, for the 4th time in a row, the nurses had difficulty getting the blood return on my port to work. Despite their gallant efforts, they once again resorted to using a “clot buster” so the chemo can be infused through my port. The purpose of these meds is to get the blood to flow so that the chemo can be administered through the port. Otherwise, if they tried to put the chemo into my veins peripherally, it would be too harsh to infuse through my veins. While they were trying everything to get the port to work, I reverted to a state of silent resignation while I could tell underneath her quiet demeanor, Donna went into a silent rage of frustration...not with my health care team but with all of the random frustrations that both we and my care team experience together.

After messaging with my oncology team, the good news is that they are considering running a routine test using a dye to see if they can figure out why the port is not functioning efficiently.

I am always struck by all of the random ironies that surround me. This time I had my chemo in the “sun room,” the irony being that it was rainy and dreary this morning. 

My lab numbers show that despite the fact that cancer has invaded my insides, I am relatively healthy.  I am also annoyed that after a lifetime of exercise and working out, along with the 30 pounds that I have lost, I have lost most of my muscle mass. 

Looking around at the people who are there for treatment, there are so many who are in worse physical shape than I am; I hope they have a  kick-ass support team of friends and family that I have. It is patently obvious that cancer does not care about who you are or how much you own or what your political or apolitical point of view is. 

Cancer does not care whether you are a warrior or a wimp, so I am slightly astounded when people marvel at my positive and philosophical attitude. I am neither courageous nor heroic. I could curl up in a fetal position and curse the sun, the moon, the stars, and the rain, but I have chosen to put one foot in front of the other and to do my best to get through each of the new random indignities that cancer has dealt and will continue to deal to me.

I am still the same person that I have been all of my life, and I will speak up and speak out about the injustices that I see around me.  I will continue to be a rat terrier nipping at the heels of those who need to be reminded that they need several doses of kindness, honesty, and decency....and maybe a terrier to bite them in the ass will help to remind them.

...and thus, today begins my latest cycle in my cancer schmantzer odyssey: 
                     I will wake up and kick ass and get on with my life.


  1. You are and always were a strong, Caring , loving wonder women. I have you in my prayers , you are a blessing in so many lives and I can see a wonderful group of support holding your hand along this journey . You are going through this as strong as ever and that definitely is encouraging me to stay strong in my fight . Thank you for encouraging me not only now but when I was your student. Sending love hugs and prayers, Trish Tinney Lamar

    1. Thank you, Trish.
      Stay strong....we are all in this together!