Chemo + 2 day has come and gone, and like I expected, it was full of the unexpected. “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” as Rich and I are so fond of quoting. By and large, it was a gentle reminder of what it could be, should I forget the lessons I have already learned.
We started out with yet another good traffic day. That meant only 10 minutes to get to the facility. Have I mentioned before how blessed I am to live exactly where I do? This may be a sidetrack in the story, but for those of you who don’t’ know me; I have spent 25 years mildly moaning about living in New Jersey. Yes, I chose to live here, and I have enjoyed all the things about the location I chose. But I always missed the hustle and bustle of New York. I missed the kindness of New Yorkers (yes, they are a lot nicer than most people realize. A lot nicer than the people I encountered where my mother used to live. ) But I have also looked for the silver lining over my head in Marlton. I have to admit, I live in a really nice place. The town is nice. We have every possible amenity right here. The schools are great. Our mayor is cool. The police department is awesome. We have modern facilities for kids to play sports; everything is here for someone looking for a close second to Beaver Cleaverville. So most of my bitching has become half-hearted.
Now, I am realizing how truly blessed I am in my location. I literally have every cutting edge medical facility and amenity within 5 miles of my house. World class treatment. The best doctors. You name it, we have it just a touch away. If I had to draw the Cancer lottery ticket, I couldn’t have been in a better place. I have been acutely aware of this since the Fall, and the sensation of gratitude just keeps growing as I add to the list of people I interact with in the medical community.
So, back to the story. We got to the facility in record time – not even enough time for the heated seats to really warm my nether regions. As soon as we walked in, I got a seat and someone was ready to give me what I called my “Booster Shot”. Actually, it is a medicine called Neulasta (I think) and its job is to make sure that my white blood cells keep producing like champs during the chemo process. Some joker had warned me that they give me the shot in my butt, and I was not really ready to drop trousers if I didn’t have to. Luckily for me, it was just a joke and the nurse was just as horrified at the concept as I was! A quick shot in the arm, a warning that I might want my anti-inflammatories the next day, and we were on our way back home!
I have become accustomed to visualizing these medicines and procedures in ways that make me smile and make sense to me. While I was walking to the car, I decided that the Neulasta droplets should look like Scrubbing Bubbles, because they have happy faces. Rich disagreed. He saw them as Minions – wearing hard hats. After all, they have to get into the bones to help them grow more white cells! I liked this picture, but had to put them in Hawaiian shirts, so they were happy and chipper. Somehow, thinking about the idea of little Minions shuffling through my bloodstream, digging and growing and harvesting white blood cells to help me stay strong appealed to my sense of humor.
This Minion Vision helped me through the rest of the day. Whatever happy juice they put in the original infusion wore off around lunch time, and I was smacked with the fatigue they warned of. So I snoozed without guilt for possibly the first time since I was in the cradle. I also started on the anti-nausea meds, which immediately kicked in and enabled me to eat a wonderful meal that Rich cooked for me. Being disinterested in eating is one thing. Turning down a meal that your beloved makes you from the heart is another!
The things that really helped me put this day in perspective and know that I am moving forward are:
- Visualization – see things in whatever whimsical way you need to use to lift your spirits and keep your positive energy flowing.
- Gratitude – remaining open to the blessings around you, big and small, keeps the positivity from bogging down in the fear traps.
- Friendship – reading the support and love from my friends and family is crucial! Accepting the love and letting it wrap around you keeps the shivers away and holds you up when you might otherwise fall down in fear.
- Love and Trust – the person who is caring for you, in my case it is my beloved husband, is your rock. They are doing this out of love, and knowing this, be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them. They may dig their toes into the tiles and act like it’s no big deal, but never let a day go by without thanking them and being present in what they do! It keeps you both strong for the fight!
I have more plans coming for the next 2 months. For right now, I am just sharing in the hopes that it can keep things light and hopeful for someone else out there. It isn’t as bad as they told me it would be. It isn’t as bad as I feared it would be. The key is to focus on the positive, continue to meditate and visualize health and healing, and get by with a little help from your friends!
I love you all, my dear friends!