Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I can almost hear the chemo whispering in the bushes....
I'm supposed to be having chemo number 4/12 on Monday and already I'm dreading it, not least because I still get spazzy hands and feet and face if the temperature drops enough - good reason to stay in bed though!
Saw my lovely surgeon Mr A yesterday. I couldn't find my appointment card but knew it was 12 something ........maybe 12.45.......? Rather than ring up I thought I'd make a day of it (free parking in the private car park, or with my disabled badge - wouldn't you? No...? Just me then.)
I arrived at 12 just to check in - I was right it was 12.45 so I wandered off down to the restaurant for a veggie lasagne and black weak tea - I was feeling weak and a bit wobbly so couldn't face cowjuice. The lasagne was disappointing - it was peas, sweetcorn, diced carrots. I was expecting aubergine, courgette and tomatoes . I don't know why (well I think I do actually but won't go into that just now) but I was sat staring at the Mental Health Unit and got all teary. Also because the whole hospital means bad things right now, although Mr A has only really given me good news, despite being the confirmer of my diagnosis he had a plan and I knew he was the man for the job. Plus I knew it was cancer before he said the words so it didn't count.
To balance the gloom there was a seriously cute baby boy in a high chair. He was with (I'm guessing here obiously) his mum and his grandma. His gran opened his sandwiches (like me she took home made food for the baby not that horrid muck in jars which my kids never liked on the odd emergency occassion) and offered him a finger shaped sandwich, so he vey gently opened his mouth. She was trying to get him to hold it himself but he was feeling like some pampering I think. They laughed, the nurses on the next table laughed, I laughed. The baby boys eyes opened even wider and he smiled. The same thing happened three times before he eventually grasped the food in his little hand. Faith in life being a precious and happy thing restored I shelved my tray and returned to the Bostonian.
The younger receptionist was going through checking where Mr A was in his list...she said "I know Lisa...........are you Mr X?" to the other chap in the waiting room. I asked if that meant I'd been there too often since she knew me by sight. The reply was "Oh you're family now Lisa!" which made me feel all sort of happy in a weird way. I told her she'll be seeing me for at least another year yet!
Mr A always comes out to greet his patients, which is just the sort of professional but caring chap he is. He told me what I was dreading, but expecting - he needed to check my wounds external AND internal .
Not much to check on my tummy - it's a great scar as they go, I have an extra bellybutton now (well it looks like that) but it's a neat job. Assume the position (kissed my knees) and remember the antenatal classes - they came in handy for stitch removal. The nurse had a reassuring (restraining?) hand on my shoulder as the old digital exam took place and I said OW .........a lot. Now I wasn't looking forward to it, but still hoped it wouln't hurt THAT much. I know where he was feeling was where I had a whole organ removed together with the surrounding mass of fatty tissue. I know that in it's place is a J shaped wiggle of carefully stitched "neo rectum" created from some of my colon to try and give me some quality of life in the future. I know that joining the rectal stump and my colon is row upon row of tiny staples. I also know a few of fallen out. I did not know how much it would bloody hurt!
After that it was up to me if I had the scope (in for a penny.....) oh bejesus why did I agree to that? I'd forgotten about the air they have to inflate you with () it felt like I was going to be ripped open . After MUCH exhaling slowly to avoid tensing up even more they stopped. Not sure what he saw and I didn't ask. I rarely ask him anything, I just trust him to tell me anything I do need to know. I see him again in 3 months - not a moment too soon. I told him how horrid the chemo was and that I'm seeing an oncologist this week before having any more, that I don't see how I can possibly manage 12 cycles at this point. If I had neuropathy from the first session so badly I think I'm really heading for permanent nerve damage. (Oh yes folks the side effects CAN be pemanent - as will anything cancer related there are NO guarantees or promises). He asked me to take as much chemo as I can and to take care of myself.
Now when the head honcho and colorectal surgeon tells you to take the chemo it means he knows you should take the chemo. It means he's basing his advice on decades of experience. Most of his patients are 30 years older than me and will some will die from other health problems before cancer recurrence gets them.
One of the friendliest nurses when I was incarcerated had breast cancer 9 years ago. She was one of the few people I offloaded my true fears on, she knows how it is. She knows people who have had a recurrence from breast cancer after 22 years. We both know we'll always have a shadow following us - but it's mind over matter whether you stay in it's shadow. I'm trying to stay in the sunshine! If I can get through the next two years without any shadows on my scans maybe I can chill out a bit more, that's when colorectal cancer usually comes out of hiding to bite you on the proverbial again.
Like I said I was making a day of it so after shaking Mr A's hand I went to the chemo suite to check on my appointment re EVIL CHEMO side effects. An appointment hadn't been made (I had a suspicion because it was fairly manic last time) but has now. While I was there I had my line flushed leaving me all day today to erm.......do absolutely nothing! The house is a mess, my room is the worst and I just can't do anything about it. My MacMillan nurse said someone described the lethargy that accompanies chemotherapy as a really heavy quilt that they just couldn't push off them.
Oh well maybe I'll make the kids help after dinner.........
| Umpalumpa || |
| Lisa Left Eye Loopylalalalala || |
| Umpalumpa || |