It’s done! Red Devil is done! I arrived about ten minutes early for my 9:30 appointment, and by 10am they’d drawn blood for labs. We discussed the shortness of breath I’d experienced a few times when going upstairs after the third treatment, and Nurse Heidi said it was most likely because my hemoglobin was low. When that happens, the heart has to work harder to deliver oxygen. White blood cells were high, an expected result of the Neulasta shot administered the day after each treatment, and red blood cells were low. My potassium levels were finally normal, thanks to the prescription Dr. S. called in last week.
The only downside was that I forgot to apply the Lidocaine before I left, again. When we were going through my side effects, I mentioned one positive is that my brain seems to be working. Nurse Dan said, “Well, except for the Lidocaine.”
DUDE. We three laughed, and the ice pack numbed the skin over my port most of the way, but the needle didn’t want to go into the center like it’s supposed to. It can be a slippery little sucker. I told him I knew he was simply making sure I’d never forget my Lidocaine again.
That’s nonsense, of course. Adriamycin is a vesicant, so if the needle’s not inserted correctly and the drug leaks, it can cause blistering and ulceration. That’s why a nurse manually injects the drug, checking for good blood return several times to make sure everything’s flowing. He got it all straightened out, drew blood for my labs, and before I knew it, I was done, walking out the door at one in the afternoon.
After all of that worry, my last AC treatment was the easiest.
Chemo days have been relatively easy. It’s the day after that knocks me out. Nausea hit me for a bit this afternoon, so I donned my knit cap and my fuzzy slippers and headed out to the garage for a tiny tiny toke. I’ve been reluctant to smoke, but you know what? Not this time. Not when I can keep myself on an even keel by using a legal drug. I refuse to suffer when I have tools at my disposal. I’ll take my anti-nausea drugs and my Cranberry Elderflower CBD drops before bed, continue drinking as much water as I can, listen to my body, rest when needed, and get through this.
The really fantastic news is that after I get my shot tomorrow, I won’t be starting the next round until January 25. I’ll have twenty whole days without a doctor’s appointment. Every day I’ll feel better, and I’m betting that for a week or so I’ll actually feel somewhat normal. It’s going to be like a vacation. In my home, but a vacation nonetheless.
The cancer center gave me today’s wig. When I posted pictures from my chemo room of the three they’d provided at my first treatment, this one was the hands-down favorite. It seemed appropriate to wear on the next-to-last day of this fun project.
I chose the outfit because of the necklace. Ten years ago I traveled to Kansas with one of my best friends and her toddler, a precocious child who listened to Italian language tapes, begged us to sing the same song over and over, refused to nap, and found absolute delight in every cow and train. And let me tell you, you see a lot of cows and trains when driving from Chicago to Kansas. We went to the Salt Museum. We went to the Kansas State Fair and ate all the fried foods. We went to a space museum. We chased cows in a shallow creek. I took hundreds of photos. They still make me smile.
And I met my friend’s grandmother. This feisty, fun woman took a liking to me, and before we left she gave me this necklace. Ever since, it’s been a token of kinship. It fills me with love. I think she’s watching now, just like my own grandmothers, and saying “You’ve got this.”
I do. I’ve got this.
You know what I’ve also got? A hunka hunka man in a tool belt and a sexy grin. Just look at that dimple, would you?
Yeah. I’ve got him, too.