Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1/3 Done !!

I received the 4th dose of 12 treatments today so that makes it 1/3 done! It went really well today. Believe it or not the port actually drew on the very first time. No heparin, no TPA and no standing on my head. My RN today was really sweet and funny. I have had her once or twice before. When she drew back and got blood return on the first try she said, "It was because of the little prayer I said." I told her I said one too so maybe that's the secret. Then she went to get the tubes to put the blood in for the labs and it stopped drawing. I laughed and said "Did you remember to say "Amen" at the end of your prayer? Maybe it isn't quite finished." She and Carl and I all laughed together. She said "Amen" and tried again and it drew without a problem. It felt good to laugh and to pray in there today.

This time my nurse ran the benadryl first and then ran the steroids and for the first time I didn't feel like "bugs" were crawling all over me (a side effect of the IV steroids). It was nice. The labs came back again severely anemic. She called the Dr. to try and get a transfusion but instead he just said he wanted to see me after chemo. Yuck.

While Carl and I were waiting, one of the administrators from Orlando Health walked past my room. She is a three time survivor of cancer and has been in remission for 19 years. I met her in January at an awards banquet, just days after I was diagnosed, and she was truly inspiring. Today, she was there to visit a friend who was in the room next to me receiving chemo for the first time. But she took the time to stop and talk to me and ask how I was doing. She commented on how beautiful my quilt was. I thought about how kind it was for her to take a moment and visit with me despite the busy schedule she had. Soon she left to go up to her office and get some pictures to show her friend.

And then came the best part of the day. I took a few minutes, grabbed my IV pole with all the meds and went next door to introduce myself. As I did so, I started to remember every single thing about my first day of chemo. Every question, every fear, every feeling and emotion. My heart just ached for this lady and I wanted so much to help ease her of her anxiety. We talked together and I told her I was certainly no pro, but I had finished the cycles of what she was getting and shared some things that helped me and some things that didn't. I told her that it helped me not to dwell on what the paper says about all the side effects because I would just convince myself I was experiencing all of them. I also told her that it helped me to "write my own story" as far as how the chemo would affect me. We had a wonderful visit and I told her I would keep her in my prayers. Soon the benadryl started kicking in. It has some powerful sleep properties. I went back to my room, before she started wondering if she should be listening to me at all. I silently prayed for her and thanked God for giving me the opportunity to be able to share with her. I was soo grateful for that.

When the chemo finished we went back down to see Dr. Baidas and he increased the iron again and added Folic acid. No transfusion yet. As before, he said we really need to get the iron counts up. We got finished and headed home in the rain. Carl has almost finished another book while waiting. He is becoming a walking encyclopedia about history, the FBI, war battles and politics in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chemo does have it's advantages :)

Spent a restful afternoon with minimal nausea. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME AND ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD!!