Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chemotherapy This Friday? But. But. But. My Chemo Port Still Hurts and...

Picture this.  My cell phone rings.  Caller ID pops up a number that I do not recognize and I'm driving along a curvy, mountainous highway in a backward county where cell towers mostly do not exist, let alone cell service.  I try to answer anyway.  Call was dropped, the screen said.  Okay, so big deal.  It was probably an attorney who will text me later or e-mail me or call me this afternoon.  Right away the phone rang again.  Same number, same circumstance, same call was dropped on the screen.

Now, picture this.  Court is over. Everyone is gone except the judge and me.  We are discussing my upcoming chemotherapy sessions and I tell him not to worry.  "I'll be fine. The doctor says I will be able to work during chemotherapy and that I might not even lose my hair.  But just in case, I am planning to get a wig; already have a wig catalog that I'm thumbing through.  The doctor explained that I can have my chemo treatments on Fridays, so that will give me all weekend plus our Monday office day to, quote, recover.
"When do you expect you'll start chemotherapy?" he innocently asks.
"Well,"  I say with great confidence, "my chemo port incision is not completely healed and we have that week-long jury trial next week, so I'm guessing not until the following Friday.  So I should be good to go all next week,"  I smile.  In fact I'm beaming because for the first time in weeks, I feel that confidence.  I feel healthy and physically strong. 

As soon as my car climbs back into civilization, I hit my cell phone's SEND button and redial the number that called me earlier.  It was my oncologist's office who politely informed me they would start my chemotherapy treatment Friday.  Not that they would like to start chemo on Friday, but that they would begin on Friday.  They were being decisive.  They were calling the shots. 

THIS FRIDAY?  I was incredulous.  I started by saying, in as calm a voice as I could muster, "Oh, but we can't start this Friday because my port incision is not completely healed."
The nurse said, "Oh,  that port incision is going to hurt for weeks.  That's okay.  We're going to need to start on Friday."

 I said, (picture me with hands on hips, wagging a finger, mouth pursed)  "NO WAY am I starting chemotherapy this Friday.  NO WAY!  We have a jury trial every single day next week and it's going to be an arduous trial.  I have to be ready.  I can't be fatigued or sick or unhealthy.  I have to be ready -- on the top of my game."  (Picture me with my arms crossed over my chest, eyes blazing).  I may have been driving a car, but I think the person on the other end of the line clearly got my message.  And to think, I once sang a song in a talent contest called, I'm Just A Girl Who Can't Say No (from the Rogers & Hammerstein musical Oklahoma).  Who me?  Can't say no? Just watch me.

Seriously, I honestly believe it's more than that.  I talked myself into believing that I would begin chemo the week after next.  I already told my boss that I would begin chemo week after next.  So it's more of a mental preparedness thing, don't you think?   Can you actually be mentally prepared to take chemotherapy?  Why is it harder to do this (chemotherapy) than to surgically loose two breasts?

*UPDATE:  I got my way.  No chemotherapy for me this week.  The appointed time (to be negotiated, not told to me) will be later this month. 


  1. Because YOU chose the surgery. You didn't want the chemo. You wanted this whole thing to be over with but here it is still going. It's a situation where now you feel powerless. Having a teensy amount of control isn't too much to ask for. GOOD FOR YOU for saying where and when. Proud of you, Mom!!

  2. I got scared just picturing you with your hands on your hips wagging a finger and that blazing mad look in your eye. Good for you Mom!