Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Chemotherapy, Round 3 (nine more to go)

The iron pills must be doing their job because my hemoglobin was up to 11.7 today (yeah!). Doc is very happy we are on schedule and is anxious to see the PET scan in 4 weeks or so. We may start radiation right away if I need it, instead of waiting until January. Next chemo. is scheduled for August 29th.
My new phrase is going to be, "Did I tell you........?"If you wonder why please refer to my previous post. My dh and I were thinking today, if we did this all over again we would schedule chemo for later in the week and spend the day garage saleing (sp?I wish this blogger had a better spell checker).
Is it possible to be in a packed room and still be cold and lonely? The clinic was full today and I felt like I was on the outside looking in. My age brings the average patient age down 20-30 years which may explain my loneliness. In the waiting room I watched a middle aged son walk his mother (who was wearing a fabulous head wrap) in to the receptions desk. About 30 minutes later I matched the mothers face to two other young women entering the clinic. They quickly found each other and embraced and I thought to myself, it must be her first time here. Many more faces slowly filled the room, a husband and wife, an older man with his daughter, a middle aged man by himself, a few more women in hats that matched their shoes or their shirts. Everyone in their own stages of battle with the big "C". I played 'guess the patient' as they kept coming in the door. The women who had lost their hair were the most obvious. Then there were the ones with a port already accessed, the tubing coming up and out of their shirts was the giveaway. Next, came the harder ones, the physically fit 'if you saw them on the street you wouldn't think they had cancer' ones. One lady had a tube coming out of her neck. Another was in a wheelchair obviously recovering from surgery. I wondered if they looked at me and thought, "poor young woman", or if they were still reeling from the effects of finding out they, too, had a free ticket to the cancer club.
I couldn't help but feel like I had graduated from stage 1 (all about me) to stage 2 (there are so many of us) as I sat down in the now familiar laminated easy chair. The family to my right had just found out in the last 24 hours that he had lung cancer and his wife was frantically calling everyone on the cell phone and asking the nurses and doctors questions and I thought to myself, "I know how you feel." The woman to my left said to me after I came back from the rest room and caught her eye, "You are much too young for this." I smiled and my eyes welled up as I thought to myself, "I have the best chance at beating this, too." She sat with a friend and talked about her chemo schedule being interrupted by her recent cold and how she has been coming for treatment since January of this year. I watched as the patients came and went some needing long treatment and some short ones. Some said, "see you ladies tomorrow" to the nurses as they left. I felt so helpless. So many people are suffering. How dare I complain about my tummy aches and fatigue? I am one of the lucky ones. Thank you dear Jesus.
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