Day 2, Treatment #3
I left you last night feeling swollen, "full" in the joints of my hands, shoulders, knees, hips, all over, generally. About 3:00 I had to go to the bathroom. I went, and went, and went, every hour, until I got up at 0730. I could tell the fluid shift happened, as my hands didn't feel nearly as tight as they did. Yippee!!
We got ready to go to the office. As I breakfasted, I noticed that it wasn't tasting as good as it had been, just yesterday.... We arrived at 0930 and got called right back to Treatment Room 7. This was a corner room with 2 windows, a little larger, and a brown leather chair with the swingy arm table. The larger TV was mounted between the doorframe and the upper cabinets, and the 2 side chairs were across from it, 90 degrees from me. Again, nothing on the walls except the calendar. After I took my coat off, I went down to the scale and weighed myself, 144.6, which is only .4 pounds higher. I did well this morning getting the fluid out...
Phyllis came in about 0940 and added a 250 ml bag of 0.9% normal saline to my iv site. It dripped well, right away. Praise the Lord!! She asked me how I did last night, I told her my stomach had started to hurt and I took a Nexium, which worked pretty good at relieving most of the discomfort. She offered that it's probably the dexamethasone (Decadron) that causes the stomach pain, and suggested taking the Nexium the day before the next treatment, the day of, and a couple of days after. Ok, thanks for the tip. She left the room and came back with the 50ml bag of Decadron and a 10ml syringe with fluid in it, and a needle on it at 0950. Oh?? What's that, I asked. The Aloxi, 0.25 mg. I'm just going to push it. She cleaned the port below the bag of normal saline, and stuck the needle in, and pushed some of the medicine in. She was quite chatty, and I started looking at my iv site. What's wrong, she asked. I told her the vein was aching. She pulled back on the plunger, pulling in some solution (maybe to dilute what was in the syringe?), waited a little, pushed a little more, pulled a little more solution in, and pushed some more, until it was all in. That process took maybe 5-8 minutes, I don't know. As I said, she was chatty, and I finally stopped talking with her and let Dan respond.
10:00 She pulled the needle out and put it in the sharps box, and turned her attention to the Decadron bag. I didn't realize that it was not infusing. She changed out the 250 ml bag of NS, which had maybe 100 ml gone from it, to a 1000ml bag, then opened the Decadron and got that running. The rates looked good, and she left the room.
1030 Decadron done; Phyllis had been going by the room often, as it was across from the bathroom, which was next to their workroom, so she had seen that it had infused. She came in, clamped off the Decadron, sped up the bulk, and handed me the sheet with the appointments for the lab draw next week Friday at 11:00, and the appointments for Treatment #4, March 19 at 0930, and March 20 at 10:00. And my blood results from yesterday, which were very similar to the results at the beginning of Treatment #2. Good. My body stabilizes all that stuff.
1040 Bathroom time.
Dan and I visited, looked at the Homes Across America, and watched the fluid infuse. I have thoughts of "this is going pretty good", and "we won't be here very long today", and the enormity or reality of the situation, the reason I'm here with fluid running into my vein. Wow. Cancer. And I think I'm doing pretty good with the treatment processes. So far.
1130 Phyllis comes in and injects the Neulasta 6 mg into the bottom of the right upper arm.
1145 Phyllis comes back and discontinues the IV -- wait, I think, there's still 150 ml or so of fluid in there... I have already drank the 20 ounce water I brought with me. She probably thinks I'm ok without this iv fluid.
Dan and I pack up the heating pad, notebook, pencil, water bottle, I go over to the bathroom again, and we leave. We are home at 12:05.
I notice that my legs are trying to get a little wobbly from the meds. I fixed myself some oatmeal--not just any oatmeal, I cooked it, then added walnuts, raisins, strawberries that Dan had cleaned and cut up yesterday, and vanilla and cinnamon. A touch of butter and maple syrup. Yummy.
I decided I would take my hairdresser up on the offer to come in this afternoon and get my hair trimmed up. I told her I could be there about 4, as she had offered last Saturday, and she said sure. I laid down and took a rest.
2:55 I'm up, heated up some chili, ate, and headed to Jackson. Well, Michigan Center. Lauretta greeted me, and washed my head. After combing my hair, it was dry. She laughed, said I had baby hair. Yup, that's what I thought, too. She cut it about and inch, inch and a half, or so, and we both thought it looked a lot better. What's left might fall out, but for now, it feels better.
After that, I went in to the Hospital for a Unit Meeting, since this is the only one I've been able to make in quite a while. It seems they fall on a workday, and that doesn't work out too well. That lasted until 6:30. Snacks had been brought in, and I had a bite and visited, and had to use the restroom. Afterwards, I went over to the nursing home.
Mom was sound asleep in the recliner. So asleep, her mouth was slack, open. That's always creepy to me when I see someone sleeping like that. She finally roused after a bit, and we got into the bathroom and ready for bed. She watched me move around, and was glad to see me, I think. One of the aides came in to help finish up and get her over to bed. Thank you, Aides, for taking good care of Elaine while I was gone.
Mom watched me, like she was searching for me, and I knelt down beside the bed to get into her line of vision. She was looking at me, searching my face, you know, how babies do when you're holding them. I talked to her, told her of my treatment yesterday and today, about the cancer, about the genetics. When I told her it probably wasn't in her blood, she tried to say something. I think she said Arthur. (her brother who had a bilateral mastectomy for breast cancer) Yes, I know about Arthur, I told her, but I don't have the cancer gene, and you probably don't either. She breathed, and took a long blink. When she opened her eyes, she looked up at my head. "I don't have much hair left, either, that's why I have this hat on." She moved her hand, and I asked her if she wanted to feel my head. She looked at me. I took my bandana off and placed her hand on my head. It took her a minute, but she was feeling it, stroking my head, and she looked at my eyes again. Like baby hair, I said. And she smiled.
I think that's the most interaction I've had with her in many years. I saw that her mouth was dry, I asked her if she wanted a drink. Instead of repositioning her to a sitting position, I finagled a cup of water and a straw, and dripped water from the straw into her mouth. That was good. Eventually, she sucked on the straw, and drank 2 small glasses of water, maybe 7 ounces total. She was done. She nodded her head. I asked her if she was ok, Yea, she replied. I told her I had to go, she nodded her head again. Wow. What a gift. I am truly blessed to be given these moments with her.
I got home, a cruise control drive, and my tummy wasn't feeling so good. I had a cup of broth, which tasted good, but didn't last too long, as I'm hungry again. Guess I'm going to have to rummage around for a bite.
Thanks for reading my ramblings. I am humbled by the gifts of yourselves, your strength, hugs, kind words and deeds. Good night.