Someone pointed out to me that I’ve been skirting around the actual “action” of my little adventure here in the oncology realm, giving only between-treatment expository updates. So, without further ado, here’s something a little more informative: a blow-by-blow update of Chemo Day #2.
First off, my dear husband wanted to accompany me today. I suspect he was feeling a bit guilty, given that he was in India when I had my first round. Never mind that it didn’t really matter that much to me—remember, I drove him to the airport. Mostly, I just wanted him to meet the team, check out the venue, know the drill. I was also hoping that he’d understand why I really didn’t need him to come babysit me through the process more than once. It took all of ten minutes for him to realize that it really would be totally okay for him to sit in the corner and answer emails and plan his day.
So that’s what we did; parallel attention to everything other than what we were actually there for, him to his laptop, me to my Kindle. Kathy, my wonderful nurse, pops in whenever something beeps, but other than that, it’s mostly just a lot of sitting around in a nice little private room, with a view of the nurses coming and going and answering other beeps from other corners. The place beeps and hums and is really so much less depressing than you might expect. I sneeze; someone shows up with a box of tissues. Everyone’s so encouraging. “Hey, your numbers are great! Your pulse and blood pressure are wonderfully low! No nausea, you’re so lucky!” In that little world, it turns out, I’m a champ.
But really, here’s the thing you need to know: with chemo, there’s no pain involved, other than a momentary prick with the IV insertion. And trust me, these gals are pros. There’s no immediate side effects, beyond the delightful wooziness of the pre-medication IV Benadryl. There’s only the curious wonder around how you can possibly need to get up and pee when you haven’t had anything to drink…then you look at all those empty bags that were full of fluids that have since have entered your system and realize, ah, that explains that. And given that the one thing I would have been grateful for was for someone to be able to go to the bathroom for me, and since no one, not even my beloved, could do that, well…he’s done his time, and is off the hook for now. When we get to the radiation chapter, he can check in again.
So, a couple hours later, unhooked and ready to get on with my day, I meandered down the street to visit my buddy Lenny, who’s been cutting my hair for almost two decades. I wanted to see if he had time to squeeze in a quick trim on that wig of mine, the one I got and stuck in the closet a few weeks ago.
Okay, I’ve officially buried the lead here: my hair is falling out in clumps. Which, while entirely predictable, completely sucks. No level of comprehension around the fact that this was going to happen makes it any more tolerable when it actually starts happening. It is the outward proof of my situation that I was so hoping to avoid, and yet, well, here we are. That Japanese doll of mine? Her pixie has it all over what I’ve got going. And she’s been in a holding pattern for forty-five years. I’m not sure how much hair I’ll have come Saturday. Hair today. Gone tomorrow?
Then there’s the weekend I have coming up. It will be chock-a-block full of people I know and like, who don’t know about my growling lapdog. There will be lots of hanging around and socializing and catching up, how’re the kids, what’s up with you. So clearly, this was the time to get that hairy thing out of the closet and make sure I could stand to wear it. I had the sense that Lenny would be a better guy for the job than the woman at the wig shop, and, bless him, he completely was. His able assistant, Maria, was positively swoony when he was done. “You look just like you! You look great!” Which in my mind are two entirely different accomplishments, even on my best day, but hey, I’ll take it.
So, here I am, home again after a brief stop at the drug store to pick up those things that keep me ahead of the curve on my ongoing project to stay eternally “regular.” I have a pile of Valentine’s cards to stamp, I have a Red Sox schedule sprawled across the dining room table that I’m having fun putting little color-coded post-it notes for my baseball subscribers to our season ticket deal. I’m looking at the weather coming up, wondering who I can get to shovel while we’re up north…and am exceedingly happy that I am feeling fine, for now. I know that when the steroids wear off, and in a few days I’ll be in that hazy place of tiredness and inexplicable odd little ailments, tingles in my toes, the roof of my mouth feeling grainy, achy joints. But for now…all’s well.
Just wanted you to know.