This weekend was my first maintenance chemo. Shabbas chemo. That would never happen at Mt Sinai. When we arrived the place was locked because who does chemo on Saturday? Even the staff hadn’t thought to open the doors to serve their weekend cocktail brunch.
I knocked and waved at the front door of the Odette Cancer Centre while thinking I don’t even fucking want in to this place. I’m so done. I knew this was coming. It was supposed to start Aug 6th and instead I got a high fever and took a week’s imposed rest period in the 14th floor room with the downtown hospital view.
The stay at Mt Sinai should have been taken out of my chemo time. I did extra hospital and IV meds. I was plugged in for an entire week for God’s sake. I earned less chemo. I had a massive duffel bag of time dedicated to this Lymphoma shit and it’s officially empty. And yet, there they go, all those medical people, fishing through my drawers, and private stores, looking for more.
And they get to do that.
So the wee shpritz of Rituximab I was prepared for was a little more than that. Let’s just say the portions are pretty big at the Saturday brunch. And the wait. Why do people wait for this shit?
Because I was pissed off already, I was predisposed not to see what went smoothly, but to fixate on the bumps.
Bump number one – my neutrophils had decided they liked the basement better (they had climbed to 1.2 then headed back down to 0.7 – slumming it). Dr B said this was fine, even suggested that neutrophils are overrated and some people walk around with almost none. But some people is not me and the chemo nurse doesn’t have permission to make judgment calls based on the overrated neuts theory, so we had to page. And wait.
Bump number two. Three tries to get in the IV. First try missed the vein entirely. Oops, sorry. Nurse apologized immediately. Second try seemed to have gone through the vein, as in, in, then out the other side. Ouch. Oops I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to say anything but her hands were shaking. I like a needle-wielding nurse with a steady hand. She called someone else in. Thankfully she doesn’t subscribe to three’s a charm.
Bumps number three, four, five and six. It took 1 ½ hrs. My arm ached most of the way through. I now have IV bruises on both hands. I’m worried that my previously olympian veins are collapsing from too much working out.
Bump number seven. ANXIETY. I haven’t moved up and over this bump. I’m stuck on top of it with people yelling at me to get off. But I can’t. I don’t know how. I tried Clonazepam last night. It’s a different, supposedly more successful family than the Lorazepams, who seem to be doing very well themselves– financially speaking. All these drugs sound almost exactly the same. Clearly no one clever or creative gets paid to come up with names.
I don’t think it worked. The pill. My constant companion has lodged itself in my coccyx and at the base of my skull. Discovering sources of pain and speculating about their identity is a crappy, familiar pastime.
Today (believe it or not), at the suggestion of a dear friend and fellow anxiety sufferer, I start a Mindfulness Meditation course. 2 ¾ hrs once a week until December. That’s a lot for a gal who has meditated all of three times for five minutes. In preparation, I have removed the book they sent me from its envelope.