Monty, my best friend Gayle (what are best friends for!?), and I say very little as we ready ourselves to go to my first oncology appointment. I smear a numbing cream on the port so my treatments won’t hurt so much. The port site has not even healed from the surgery when it was implanted in my body, but the doctors don’t want to wait to get started. We’re anxious to get the test results from my scan. I’m not anxious to try out chemotherapy.
I have been on the program Jarrod gave me for several weeks now and I swear I have a noticeable improvement. Everything looks so much better than it did when I got my diagnosis. I hope it is not my imagination.
The “C” word clinic is amazingly organized and we’re quickly ushered into an examining room to wait for the doctor. The doctor is young (in her thirties) and seems quite “clinical”. I can’t decide if I like her or not – but she seems to know her stuff and is very informative about the “protocol” she recommends for me. She says the PET scan shows no other hot spots. YEAH! Gayle and I can’t contain ourselves and we jump up and down like school girls that have just won at dodge ball. Monty smiles and gives me an “I really don’t act like that in public, but I am secretly super relieved and happy for you” pat on the leg. The doctor seems embarrassed for us. I personally will remember it as one of the best moments of my life.
Next is the exam. The doctor is openly pleased and “somewhat surprised”. She says my cancer doesn’t really look like a typical inflammatory presentation to her and that it appears to her to be less involved than the first doctor reported. Imagine that! I knew it looked better to me. I’m encouraged to hear this. Could I be starting to heal already?
Next is the “Chemo Room”; a huge, white room that accommodates two dozen loungers filled with sick people who are attached to dripping lines of healing toxins (now there’s an oxymoron!) The nurses are angels; kind and attentive and amazingly competent. They take my blood first, and when they are sure I’m healthy enough they hook me up to a bottle of bright red syrup. It goes in slowly, and when it’s gone, it’s replaced with another clear liquid. I am wrapped in a frog motif quilt that Gayle’s mom and her friends made me. One more little bottle and it’s time to go home. It’s been four hours altogether.
On the way home I already feel sickly. My head hurts and I am sick to my stomach. When we get home I have to go lay down. I feel very strange, sort of prickly all over and my eyes are blurry. In just a few short hours my stomach has completely revolted. I start the Compazine prescription the Dr. gave me. All my kids, my twin sister, and both our parents call. Monty tells them I did fine and that I am going to rest. More calls, Monty fields them. I feel like putting up a good fight and I have a lot of determination to get through this. I pray and sleep and take a little walk with Gayle to work some of this out of my system. Gayle has to fly back home in the morning. I am already sad. She is the best tonic in the world for me – but I am acutely aware this is my battle and no one can do it for me (dang it!).
I made it through the first day of chemo – it doesn’t seem THAT unmanageable – boy, am I naive!