Don’t you sometimes wonder what it’s like to go through chemotherapy treatment?
When I’ve heard of someone undergoing chemotherapy, it seems to just roll off the tongue of the person telling me about it. It’s as though it were an everyday occurrence. Like it’s no big deal. Of course that’s not the intention. And yet, as with everything else we encounter on a daily basis, our brains can only take so much bad news.
The media contributes to 99% of the overload by constantly bombarding us with sensational images and words. After all, they have to compete for our attention in an effort to garner through-the-roof ratings to bring in the bucks.
Listening to Pat tell it, undergoing chemotherapy is akin to…maybe having a tooth filled…or a flu shot…or a gynecological exam. All yucky stuff, but definitely not in the same league. Then again, when the chips are down…don’t we all figure out how to make it work? And Pat does it in spades. I’m sure you’ll agree.
Deciding to relinquish as few days of her life to MM and AL, Pat has decided to refer to chemotherapy as treatment.
The word treatment is much more palatable and not at all negative (how could a “treat” be negative?) Numbering the days of my treatments allows me to give up as few days as possible to my current situation…not even whole days…but just a couple of hours on those days.
And so in Pat’s own words, this is how Day 1 unfolded…
On the way to the hospital, driving with one hand, Brad held mine in his other. He asked if I was nervous and in all honesty, I was, but not panicky.
My first appointment was with the pharmacist.
While we were waiting, the medical assistant happened by. She stopped to see how I was doing. I introduced her to Brad and we talked for just a bit. When she left, Brad asked “How come she’s so nice to you? She must really like you.”
Pumehana was like that from the first moment I met her. I think she treats everyone that way…she’s like your favorite Hawaiian Aunty.
When we met with the pharmacist we first went over the meds I was to receive later that day. He was awesome! Answered all of our questions. Brad and I each had our own lists of questions. The pharmacist took a look at the naturopathic and homeopathic meds I’d brought with me to make sure they wouldn’t adversely impact my treatment. He determined they wouldn’t.
Brad took notes so that I could focus upon what the pharmacist was saying. He told me I would get one of the meds through an IV and the other as a shot. The third would be in the form of pills I would take later that night at home.
My biggest fears were nausea and my inability to swallow pills.
The pharmacist assured me the meds included anti-nausea pills. He also suggested I dissolve the treatment pills (9 of them!) in a small amount of water to make them slurry. Then I could drink it down with a little juice. I would follow the same procedure at home after taking my anti-nausea pills.
I asked about my subsequent appointments within this initial four week treatment period. This might be TMI…too much information…but I have a colonoscopy scheduled the morning of Day 3…PRIOR to my treatment. SERIOUSLY???
I needed reassurance that it was okay to have the procedure since I can’t eat anything the day before my colonoscopy. Worse yet, I have to drink the crap which cleans out all the crap in preparation for the procedure!
The pharmacist indicated I should be fine having both done on the same day. I could have the colonoscopy in the morning and the treatment in the afternoon. I looked at him and said “Um…wrong answer. You answered a little too quickly there.” He laughed and said he’d see if the colonoscopy could be postponed…FINGERS CROSSED…XXXXXXXXXX.
Brad and I had another good laugh when Richard, the pharmacist, regaled us with his own personal colonoscopy story.
After speaking with the pharmacist, Brad and I waited another hour before I was led into the treatment room. I think they actually call it that. Initially, Brad remained with me but left before I underwent treatment…privacy issues and the fact that there’s very little room to move about. Tara, the nurse attending me was very sweet, pretty, and young…in a hip way, which was cool. She was wearing a silver ring on her thumb. I’ve always liked that.
The actual treatment wasn’t bad. It lasted an hour. The only things I felt were the pokes from the IV needle and the injection. Other than that I was quite comfortable in a recliner, with a blanket to warm me as I watched TV…Ocean’s Eleven.
I had been warned to cover the signal on the TV remote so that when I changed the channel I wouldn’t change everyone else’s TV as well. So, of course, every time I channel surfed, I was so preoccupied watching the other TVs to make sure I hadn’t switched their stations, that I wasn’t watching my own TV.
…talk about stress…and not from the treatment either.