Thursday, February 10, 2011

This is what one might call putting on a positive face and your happy bright colors before you face The Red Devil -- that's chemo talk.

I promised in my last post that I would talk about chemo number two,  And so I shall, even though it makes my stomach clinch.  Chemoland is not a fun game to play.  But I shall say that Dwain's sister Carolyn was a trooper to brave the weather and bring me to town.  Even her husband Chuck came along.  You guys, keep Chuck in your prayers, too.  His lung cancer was diagnosed about the same time as my breast cancer -- November.  He and Carolyn spent the most miserable Thanksgiving of their lives in the hospital.  After several chemotherapy sessions, Chuck's tumor began to shrink and he is now able to breath again with so much more ease.  

Carolyn asked the nurse how long my "session" would take (3 1/2 hrs) because she and Chuck were wanting to do some shopping in Branson, Missouri (about 30 miles away).  
Basically I was the only chemo patient because Dr. A. doesn't regularly do chemo on Friday.  He made an exception for me because of my work schedule.  He really is such a compassionate doctor!  And I would have been there all alone if it had not been for my sweet friend, Margie Keener, who insisted on sitting with me the whole time.  She brought an Igloo cooler stuffed full of goodies that she somehow knew I'd love:  grapes, almonds, kiwi, cheese and get this, a whole avocado that she proceeded to cut up like a pro.  She brought plates and silverware and napkins and water and a thermos.  This is the best part, she admitted to me that she went to Walmart and bought us two brand new identical ceramic tea cups.  So pretty, white with white flowers.  She calls them our chemo mugs.  And the range of tea bags!  You can't even imagine.  This woman knows me.  I'll tell you what, a truer friend could not exist.  Somehow we found all kinds of things to talk about for 3+ hours.  She absolutely took my mind off of what was actually happening to me.  

Someone pointed to the window,  look outside,  it's really snowing.  Heavenly days, it certainly was.  The nurse was worried about finishing my treatment -- wondered how I would get home.  I told her that one way or the other, I would get home.  Margie had a Suburban.  If she could drive me to the Harrison Daily Times office (where Dwain works) he could drive me home in the Subaru.  Reassured, she continued my treatment.  In the back of my mind, I wondered, you mean stop this only half way through?  And finish when?

Harrison on Friday, Feb. 4, 2011
Just as the last red drip of the last bag made its way into my port, Carolyn walked into the office all smiles.  None of us could not believe her timing and wasted no time gathering up our belongings.  Out the door we went, Margie got in her Suburban and Carolyn and I in her Prius.  Carolyn kept asking if I wanted to stop for something to eat.  Are you kidding?  I'd just had a feast at the doctor's office.  No way was I hungry.  Besides, all you had to do was take one look at the roads and her non-four-wheel-drive Prius before saying -- Let's GET HOME QUICK. 

It didn't take long for the effects of the chemo to turn my legs into rubber bands and my stomach into mush.  Good thing Margie fed me so well before, because after that...  Think a ship on the ocean, big stormy waves constantly rocking it for days and days and days.  

Sleep.  Blessed relief. 
See the gray thing around my neck?  Well, here's another story.  I developed an intense sore throat that eventually turned into a chesty cough.  My chemo friend, Janell, called me before my sore throat turned into such a cough that I could not talk on the phone.  She suggested grandma's old saw of Vicks on the neck.  Then Dwain remembered that his mother used to do that for him when he was a child.  He said she also used to put a warm cloth around his neck.  He seemed to remember that it worked.  Hey, I'd try anything.  Oh, and let's not forget about gargling with warm salt water.  As I said in my last post, Dwain found a wonderful Internet site called where they suggested 8 oz of warm water with 1/4 tea. baking soda and 1/4 tea. salt mixed and dissolved.  This also helps ease the pain of mouth sores.  

Pink Eye or what?

Okay, now, on top of a cough, a drippy nose and a sore throat, I've got these red, weird, watery, gloopy eyes that stick together if I don't watch out.  My eyelashes were totally glued together this morning.  And guess what?  My regular doctor's office has been closed for two days due to the horrible snow storm.  But hey, according to their message machine, if it's an emergency I can always call 911 or go to the emergency room.  Not sure this qualifies as an emergency.  Just worrisome.  So then I try Dr. A's office (my oncologist).  Guess what?  They were there.  Up and running like always.  I asked nurse Priscilla (not sure if she's even 30, but she been married for 6 years) what I should do.  She consulted Dr. A who told her that I should just wash my eyes every two hours with a saline eye wash.  If it gets worse, call him back.  Now see?  That's all I needed to know.  It's going to get better, it's just going to take time.  And I didn't even have to leave the house to find that out.

Just look at that pink ribbon -- I love it!
My friend Margie surprised me (and I use the word surprise loosely) with this Down-Alternative Comforter.  She remembered how cold I got after my last chemo treatment -- the one where I absolutely froze and could not get warm.  She said that her daughter-in-law gave her one of these as a Christmas present several years ago.  A few months after that, Margie had a very, very, very bad car accident that very nearly took her life.  It took her the better part of a year to recover.  Anyway, she said that she took that comforter with her everywhere and just wrapped up in it.  She wanted me to feel that same type of warmth and comfort that she felt during such a traumatic time in her life. 

AND LET'S NOT FORGET... my daughter Shaynan, who lives in Tacoma, WA,  phoned me with a surprise of her own when I was on my way to chemo #2.  She was sending me an electric mattress pad.  Mom, I'm not going to argue with you about this.  I'm doing it. 

Folks, I'm going to be warm.  I'll be warm from the underside up and from the upperside down.  I can not wait to get his mattress pad so I can take a picture of how it looks.  I've already got the down comforter nestled between two quilts (so the cats won't get hair on it).  

I'm very blessed!

Our laugh for the day


  1. Oh, you poor thing, having to endure that but I continue to be amazed at your wonderful attitude and touched by your sweet husband's care for well as your wonderful, thoughtful family and friends. You must be a very special person to have so many wonderful people who care so much for you. I just caught up with your last two posts. I got a chuckle out of the cauliflower. I eat an entire head of steamed cauliflower every is one of my diet fills me up and the heavenly aroma and taste makes dinner a treat and filling. They won't let me cook it at work though for lunch cause my co-workers say it stinks. LOL!!! You look great in your wig.

  2. Wow! A heated mattress pad! COOL! And if your very fluffy Winston doesn't keep the sides of you warm, I'll be surprised. That Winston boy looks like he is taking such good care of you. Lots of fluffy therapy. That down comforter will do the trick too. Mark and I bought one two years ago and there will be nights that I have to kick it off, it's so hot. What a great gift. I don't have to worry about you too bad, mom. You are in such terrific care of so many. I love you so much. So much I have to be thankful for.