Monday, August 23, 2010

Chemo: Round One

Last Thursday...another day of firsts. 

It was the first day of school for students and teachers.  After five days of professional development, classroom organizing, and preparation, our quiet buildings are suddenly surging with immeasurable kid-energy.  Teachers always joke that our jobs would be such a breeze, if it were not for those kids who keep showing up everyday.  Well, five days of in-service, sans kiddos, is enough already.  We NEED those kids!  I need those kids.  There is nothing that can take your mind off of yourself like an elementary school full of kids, raring to go.  The phrase "ready or not, here they come" must have been coined by a teacher. 

My first day of school this year was fabulous, albeit somewhat abbreviated.  This was at my second school, Shaw, so was a bit different, considering I have never been there for the first day.  Upon arrival, I found a gold starfish pin on my desk (if you are a teacher, you know the starfish symbolism) impaling a beautiful pink (breast cancer) ribbon on my desk.  As I went through my morning and noticed everyone wearing this, I was touched by the message.  It's one thing for a person to have one workplace where they feel completely supported and encouraged, but to have two is a blessing beyond words.  Sadly, I had to leave this first day happiness to meet my husband at noon and head for my first chemotherapy session.

That was a real first.  Felt like the first day of school, first day on the job, and first date, all rolled into one.  Yep, I was the newbie on the block.  Thankfully, the nurses know how to handle the new kids, no problem.  The chemo room, on the second floor at Highlands Oncology Group, is a rather large, brightly lit room with the nurses' station in the middle and a variety of comfy recliners surrounding the room.  One end has several big screen televisions.  They were silenced and on varying channels.  I think they supplied headphones if one wished to partake...I did not.  I was struck by how very large this room was and how many chairs it contained.  Cancer is truly a horrible, undescriminating, and unexpected evil in so many lives.
One side of the chemo room.

I pulled a Goldilocks and tryed one was toooo big.  So I moved to the was just right.  David got to use the too big chair, since no one else wanted it. 

My new Powerport finally got put to use, and I was so glad to have it...mainly because, due to where it's placed (below my collarbone), I could not even see what the nurse was doing.  I'm not one that likes to watch needles being poked into me.  I had used a nifty cream that deadened the skin, so I felt nary a thing.  And presto, I was hooked up and ready to receive what they had to give me, beginning with the ever present bag of saline, followed by a smaller bag of Benadryl (kinda like happy hour at the chemo ward).  Benadryl is used due to the possibility of an allergic reaction during the infusion of one of the chemicals I was to receive.  Once the Benadryl was gone, the cancer killers began.  TAC - Taxotere, Adriamycin, and Cytoxan - serious stuff.  (As I complete the writing of this blog, 2 days later, I am feeling the effects of it...weakness and nausea. I'm suddenly 100 years old.  I hate feeling like such a wimp.)

Thumbs up.  So far, so good...naive person that I am.

The actual time spent in receiving the treatment was not unpleasant.  David brought lunch from McAlister's Deli and, once I recovered from the initial onset of severe chills due to the room temp fluids entering my body (by bundling up in jacket and blankets), I enjoyed a baked potato and iced tea, dozed a bit (thanks to the Benadryl), surfed the web and did some blogging. 

If only it could stay so easy.

We headed home around 5:00 and continued life as usual, for now.

So that was my day of firsts.  First day of school, first day of chemo.  I wish my head had been more into the first one and less into the second and I look forward to the day when my life doesn't seem consumed with this disease.  How quickly priorities can change in ones life.  I thank you all for your kind words and prayers during this time.  You have made such a difference in my life.  I am so thankful that I do not have to go through this alone.  That would be beyond bearable.

1 comment:

  1. It touched my heart to hear what the other school did for you! There are so many firsts we look forward to in life, but I am pretty sure the chemo isn't one of them. I am praying that it gets better (especially those darn side effects).