Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chemo Round 2

Today was round 2 of chemo. It's so hard to make yourself go and have poison put it you, even harder when you now know how it's going to make you feel. Last time side effects were no piece of cake and I knew this time wouldn't be fun either. It's hard to submit yourself to that torture knowing full well what the next few days will bring. You have to remember that it's all for the greater good. Because even though chemo kills good cells; it kills bad ones too and that's exactly what we want.

I took a different sidekick to chemo today. Today's companion was my best friend, Shereen. It's more fun to change it up and take different people. Shereen agreed to take a day off of work and go. Secretly, I think she just likes the thought of seeing me be tortured. Just a little.

My Adorable Puppy!
After dressing my puppy in her new dress...which has nothing to do with chemo, I just think she's cute...we departed.  Our first stop was Starbucks which has become my pre-chemo treat.  Not that I don't get Starbucks on other days, I do...all the time...I'm addicted....but I just make sure to get it on chemo day.  I also get a snack and my favorite bagel.  However, they just discontinued my favorite bagel (the Chonga bagel for those of you in the know) and so I'm not very happy with them right now.  I'm completely traumatized by this.  I don't drink coffee but I'm addicted to a non-coffee Starbucks drink called a Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino.  Yes, I live in Seattle.  No, I don't drink coffee.  Stop staring.  But, since I don't drink coffee, the Chonga bagel was the highlight of my days and now it's gone.  I think it's mean to change things on a cancer patient.  I take it personally.

So, anyway, Shereen and I stopped at Starbucks for a drink and snacks.  I got a croissant instead of my bagel.  Still a nice treat but not my bagel.  <sniffle>  Then we were headed to the Cancer Center.

Upon arriving and checking in, I discovered something fascinating at the Cancer Center.  The hand sanitizer smells like talcum powder!  Well, first it smells like regular hand sanitizer but then when you rub it in, it smells like talcum powder!  I want to stop by there everyday now to use the sanitizer.  Do they frown on this sort of behavior?  And really, what person in their right mind WANTS to just "stop by" the Cancer Center?  (Don't answer that.)

After marveling at how my hands smelled like baby powder, we were called back.  I sat in a different area this time, in Chair #8.  Much luckier, I thought, than Chair #13 like last time.  I was also by the window, but unfortunately only had a view of the construction site near the center.  I was hooked up quickly this time and things started easily.  I'm a pro now.

We spent the next three hours chatting and waiting.  At one point, my supposed best friend, Shereen, purposely drank a carton of coconut milk right in front of me.  If you know me, then you know I HATE anything coconut so this was especially rude.  I tried to have her thrown out of the Cancer Center but it seems that they don't frown on coconut flavored items like I do...weird.

I think this is a good time to tell you that I love the graham crackers they have at hospitals.  They are by Keebler and they come in a little package with two little squares.  I love them.  They are most delicious and I have considered checking myself into the hospital for elective procedures just to score some.  I realize that I could probably just buy a box at the local grocery store, but it's just not the same as ripping open that little two pack and savoring them right there in the hospital setting.  There's something about them.  But it goes without saying that I quickly discovered that the Cancer Center has them.  Another reason to stop by daily.

So, as I delighted in my graham crackers and the person who is supposed to be my best friend, drank coconut milk in front of me, we waited.  First there was the IV of steroids and anti-nausea medications and then the first chemo drug, Taxotere and then, lastly, the second chemo drug, Cytoxan.  I find that I have no problems with the first IV or the first chemo drug, but the second chemo drug has some pretty uncomfortable side effects for me that start immediately.  I first get flushed and my face feels hot and then I get a raging headache.  It has happened both times now.  They have learned to turn it down as slow as it goes but I still get the side effects - it just delays them.

Finally, things were finished.  Shereen had downed all of her coconut concoction and I'd eaten 4 packages of graham crackers.  There was nothing more to see or do.  EXCEPT...

Where's Waldo Hat
Go look at hats!  Of course, always have to look at hats to see if I can add to my current hoard.  So, we ventured down to the first floor.  I was so excited to show Shereen all the free hats!  There were a lot of cute ones and she forced me to try on some of the silly ones so she could embarrass me by taking my picture and posting it on the internet.  What a good friend.  I did, of course, find one more hat - a red one.  Hey!  I don't have any red ones!  I might need it!

My Favorite Hat!
After the hat parade, Shereen talked me into trying on wigs.  I was skeptical since this did not go well last time.  But, I decided to humor her.  I tried on a few interesting specimens, including a totally gray one which was truly frightening.  I did find two though that were workable.  Really similar to my actual hair.  I could have taken both but that seemed kind of silly considering I don't even know if I'll ever wear it at all.  I took the one that seemed most like MY own hair and could be cut to look like ME.  I'd have to take it to a professional to have it cut correctly.  I don't know if I'll actually wear it.  It seems kind of uncomfortable and itchy, and I only had it on for about 5 minutes.  Plus, I'm just not sure it's really ME to wear a wig.  It's just so fake.  And with my luck, I'll end up with it crooked on my head without me knowing and people will be staring at me.  I'll think they are staring at my awesome hair until I look in the mirror later and realize they are staring at me because I look like a dork.  That would happen to me.  But, I have it...sitting in the bag.

I was getting tired pretty quickly and I was craving a hot dog (weird) so we stopped by 7-11 on the way home for hot dogs and Slurpees.  For some reason, despite the graham crackers, I was starving.  The hot dog was delicious.

I'm glad to be "half-way" finished with chemo even though I don't really consider it half-way until I've survived all of the nasty side-effects over the next few days.  It's not the chemo day that is so hard even though I come right home and go to bed, it's the days that follow when I totally lose track of time because I'm so sick to my stomach and tired.  When I survive THAT, I'm half-way!

1 comment:

  1. Ha, ha. Like me, it appears we don't have to worry about you losing weight during chemo. Triple chocolate chip frappachino... Sounds delightful.