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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chemo 6

Today I wake at 3 am initially, feeling my stomach complaining and unsettled. I feel mildly nauseous and note that I didn't even make it to morning before the ingrained memory in my brain began its usual storytelling.

Al and I wake at 6 am because we have to be at the hospital by 8 am for my last chemo! Hooray!

After all the fear I acknowledged yesterday, I'm feeling relatively calm. I can't say I'm too excited, but. If this whole ordeal is a race, then I'm a third of the way through in my journey to reconstruction.

I'm late when I arrive at the Hospital and my three buddies, Janet, Tracey and Nim are already there. All they can say is "It's the last one!" As predicted, Tracey gives me a lovely present - earrings and a motivational book; Janet has given me a bottle of Pommeroy for Al and I to celebrate at home when I'm able to drink; Nim places a bangle on my arm: a pretty Turkish amulet to ward off the evil eye. Now nothing can touch me. Guys, you didn't have to!

As I sign in at the front desk, I ask if it is possible to request an older nurse. I am pleased when I realise Mel, a nurse I've met previously will be attending to me.

After signing the paperwork we are led to a suite. The nurse we're following makes a comment about the bag Nim is carrying containing food and fruit salads for us to enjoy.

"You should seek what they're carrying up their anuses," I tell her. "They're my moles - no wait, they're my mules? Amazing how comfortable they look, isn't it?

After I am weighed (I'm 5 kilos heavier than I was 18 weeks ago), we make ourselves comfortable, heaping ourselves to the chairs, later asking for a blanket for my legs because I'm cold. We feel like we own this joint, by now.

i have a younger nurse, a Level 2 RN for the cannula insertion and this time, she is confident and managers to insert the device in one go. However, it'a located in my hand and is really rather painful. I receive my antinauseants.

I'm able to chat quite jovially with the troops while this part of things gets underway. We talk about vaginal dryness and intimacy. You can shut your eyes here if you like but seriously, menopause is rather rough on a woman's sexual proclivities.

I'm flat out playing porn star wife at the best of times but really, vats of lubricant, patience and a sense of humour are strongly recommended in the event couples must wend their way back to even a rudimentary intimacy. Let me just say I have come to rely on hand-holding to indicate my love for Al, occasional hugs and often, words of endearment. I just think it's important to make the effort.

Add a bald head and a disfigured body to the equation and you'll understand that most women in my position find it's a rare occasion indeed when the drilling rig can move in, so alternatives are needed to maintain any mining rights.

As if to illustrate, at this point Nim proudly delves into her cooler bag an procures a rather large cucumber. She proceeds to explain how she'd watched a Greek Movie last night involving a glad-wrapped cucumber, a horny cook and, the salad that it made after the cook had satisfied her carnal needs.

And I promise, Janet, I won't mention anything about the role of origami in romantic titillation.

Come on ladies, what's the point of being shy? We all need intimacy with our partners and be thrown headfirst in hot flushes, mood swings and the melted glacier of Antarctica is not exactly the stuff of Body Heat.

Suck it up and deal with i say... and of course, now I think perhaps that was a poor choice of words.

And now it's time for the Adramycin and Janet holds my hand and Nim strokes my leg because they know I'm anxious about this one. Janet says look at me and I try to make conversation so I ask Nim what she thought of the Book Club book we both read recently, but we're both losing our thread of thought.

It burns like hell and so I have to ask the nurse Mel and the younger nurse to check the cannula again. They back flush it and apparently, it's perfectly positioned. They say they might have to reinsert it at which point my spirit sags. But it's working well, you said? The cold veins and the cold medication mean that my tiny veins are traumatised by the invasion of toxins. THey put some hot packs onto soothe the vein and it seems to feel better, thank goodness.

And so the procedure is completed and it's time for the taxotere. This is the one that gives me heartburn and nausea and half way through, I ams Nim to feed me some of her roll as my hands are in the ice gloves. She alternates delicious chicken role with homegrown chillies.

But I can't eat too much, I'm feeling sick.

THe girl note how the colour leaves me face so I ask for another anti nausea - the Atavan that has been so successful in the past.

Janet has written new lyrics to our favourite party song, "Wooden Heart" and I wanted her to sing it - but I'm fading I know.

Tracey takes a call from her husband Dave, who has telephoned in part to wish me well. what a lovey guy he is.

I doze off and only wake after I discover the Chrorophosphomide has already been introduced.

Wow! That's one way to get through this! Totally doped.

And then, it's finished! Cue Cowbells, Harps, Ukuleles and Zithers.

It's really finished. I kiss Janet and Tracey goodbye and give them a warm hug.

I couldn't have got through this without the three of them who have rearranged schedules, wangled days off and rallied through the chemo chambers with me.

I go upstairs with Nim to see Dr Choo who says everything's well. My blood results had been fantastic.

I am to return to see her toward the end of my radiation - that's in about 9 weeks time.

Then we will discuss what drug regime I'll be put onto. It all depends on whether menopause has been achieved.

Dr Choo says that if my hair grew slowly before (it did) it could be as much as another four months before I have a passable fuzz. C'est la vie.

Nim and I have a cup of tea in the foyer while we wait for Al to pick us up. She holds onto my arm because she says I'm swaying.

When All arrives, we hop in the back of the car and immediately I think, I conk out and miss the part where they drop Nim home.

I wake briefly when the boys stop at Victoria Point. I wake briefly again when we get home.

I lumber to my bed and fall into a dead sleep.

At 7 pm, Al wakes me with dinner but I wish I hadn't eaten. I am feeling nauseous again. I'm not feeling well.

Al is off at his tennis fixtures. Harry has gone out to play with his mates. Ben is watching Spongebog Squarepants and eating porridge next to me.

Outside a fairly strong wind is sheaving the trees.

I'm glad today is over.

Goodbye Cyril GIlbert Centre - thanks for everything but I hope I never see you again.

Goodbye Chemo drugs.

Now just, here's hoping, the next 10 days aren't too diabolical.

I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. What can one say Bron? I have tears of happiness and relief for you.