So I am happy to report that my first round of the new cocktail went off without a hitch. Now I am not counting all my chickens yet as I know side effects can be slow to come up but I am taking this as a big fat positive! I was very nervous when I walked into C-Town yesterday morning, grabbing my number and waiting for my turn to get the usual blood test. I always people watch while I am sitting there waiting…seeing the faces I recognize, the ones I don’t, reading the emotions on everyone’s faces. You can always pick out the first timers to the C-Spa – the look of sheer terror tends to give them away. I know this because I was there before too. Holding back tears and filled with such dread over what could or could not happen. I make a point of smiling at everyone whose eyes I meet. It is my way of giving off some of my positivity or letting them know that yes I have cancer but I am also ok. So as Elgar’s divine music filled my ears, I began to feel ready for my next cocktail (or maybe it was the mixture of the valium and strong anti-histamines I took!) regardless I was prepared.
It is nice to know my way around C-Town and to be familiar with the C-spa routine but it is especially nice that I am able to say hello to so many people I know now. Most of them are nurses who know me as the “English Patient” and greet me with a warm hug. They put me at ease and I know they have my best interests and comforts at heart. Once I get the all clear from my blood work which surprisingly was just on the border of what they consider acceptable to receive chemo (damn white blood cells), I am ushered to my chair and its showtime. Most of the nurses know about me and my anxiety (or sheer hysteria) over getting the IV put in and seeing as I decided not to get the arterial port, I am facing down my fear of the IV needle. I put on my favorite song and start doing my meditative deep breathing as the nurse finds a friendly and willing vein in my hand and poof she is in first try! High five to my girl Ingrid!! So nearly 3 three hours later I am good to go – filled to the brim with my toxic cure and imagining the medicine surging through my body killing off every nasty cell it sees and literally defining cancer combat!
When I went home I felt weird as usually it is just a matter of time till the sickness hits and I am confined to my bed riding out the waves of pure hell. This time there was no throbbing headache or tsunami-esque nausea; I actually went home and ate half a pizza! It was fabulous and after a small nap I was even able to take my daughter out alone to drop by a birthday party and pick up some much needed Ben and Jerry’s ice cream from the store. It was a miracle and boy did it feel good. Things were really starting to look up and suddenly the next 11 rounds didn’t seem so difficult to get through. And despite having my usual 4am wake up (thank u cortisone) this morning, I had another great day and am really doing well. It is refreshing to feel human again minus a few eyelashes.
And I would like everyone to send lots of happy thoughts to my dear Captain AC who is embarking on her C-Spa voyage this coming Monday. I have reassured her and told her that she will never have to go through the first time again which perhaps offers her some comfort during a very scary time. I have bestowed on her all my C-Spa secrets like never eating your favorite foods on game day, walking every day no matter how close to death you feel, sweet potatoes are yum when u feel like nothing else, sedatives are completely justified, water tastes awful the first few days so mix in some juice, and every treatment you do is one less you have to do later. What I so wish is that I could be there on Monday to hold her hand as the first drops of her cure begin to flow as I know all too well how terrifying that moment is. But as I have said before we do this to give ourselves long and happy lives and remove the worry and the cells that simply don’t belong in our bodies. In reality there is no option here because we choose life.