I was so excited for this treatment. I had fought so hard to make it so that this treatment happened on a Friday instead of the following Monday. It was a day later than normal, but at least I am still on my schedule.
I woke up ready. Not only was it a right hand treatment day (always better), but this treatment is the one before the PET scan. And this treatment ends the second cycle which means 1/3 of the way through. Woohoo! I got dressed in my usual strange outfit. This time I chose an orange and purple theme. Plus a t-shirt a friend of mine had given me that makes me smile every time I wear it. My friend from school, (and the person I want to be when I grow up) Carla, came to pick us up. She was on chemo duty this time. Chemo duty consists of sitting with us at chemo, answering questions about Uruguay, translating nurse Maria Rosa’s rapid Spanish and keeping Mom in conversation while I am in loopy land. Carla has these incredible stories and such a cool outlooks on life, which made the chemo time fly by.
When we arrived at the hospital, I had to take blood first. My doctor wanted to see where my white cell count was before even starting treatment. About 15 minutes later, my nurse gave us the report. Normal white cell counts are 5000-11,000. Mine were 12,300! Word, Neprogen! Although all of the bone pain wasn’t exactly worth it, I am grateful for the outcome.
With the good news hanging in the air, the nurse started the pre-chemo routine: Anti-allergen, anti-nausea, anti-anxiety. Within ten minutes I was flying high as a kite. And we were waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. That is how I found out that every time I go to chemo, they actually prepare the cocktail of drugs that day. They had not done so beforehand like usual because they were waiting on the blood count. If I had had a low count and they had mixed the drugs, then the drugs would not be viable or savable. So we waited a little bit longer to get started in order to make sure chemo was happening. And it did…
Red dragon, ten-minute drip, cold shot, tin-foil devil straight from hell. Mom brought fun little silly play things for each of my chemo treatments. This time was finger puppets. I don’t know who was more excited to play, me or Carla. There was a witch and a king, and a man with a mushroom on his head. So many fun opportunities. And when you are high on loopy drugs, finger puppets become epic. I played around for a little while. I even had the witch put a curse on the tin-foil demon that retaliated back by making my arm ache so we had to up the saline mixer. Touche devil, but I will defeat you.
I fell asleep about a fourth of the way into the final drug. I was pretty tired and the loopy had taken a turn into sleepy. It wasn’t a long nap, but it was enough to recharge me for the last little bit. The tin-foil beast finally finished and the happy beeping sounded. Throwing my hands in the air, I celebrated with my favorite nurse, Fiorella. There is something so calming about her. She has this aura about her that simply makes me happy. Must be in the name because every single Fiorella I have met is lovely. I would trust Maria Rosa with my life. She knows all and is clearly in charge of this process, but Fiorella is my zen nurse. Because I have been complaining about arm soreness, I had to flush my vein with an entire bag of saline. By this point we were heading into the sixth hour and I just wanted to get up and go home. I had had enough hospital for one week. I was being whiney and pouting and Carla looked right at me and basically told me to get my panties out of a wad and calm down. hahaha. That is exactly why we keep her! If my poor mother had reality checked me, I would have gone straight to 16 year old pissy. But I needed the reality check and Carla was the perfect person to give it. Mom said, “From now on whenever you are not listening to me or your doctor I am going to say ‘don’t make me call Carla.'” hahah. This whole cancer thing has taught me that I do need the support and the help, but mainly I need those who will kick my ass and those who will make me laugh until I am bent over. And I have some really amazing people in my life, like Carla, who do both.
Speaking of funny: At one point Mom looked up at the all of the IV bags hanging and said, “I am really amazed by all of this. I just think the process of the IV is such a cool invention,” to which I started singing “Gravity is working against me.” It was one of those moments that I had wished my brother had been there. He would have been laughing and laughing. I think I even heard him laughing in my drug-induced brain. Although he wasn’t there, (and probably will never read this…guilt check…party of one) it did get a chuckle out of Carla.
After the saline finally ran out, we all piled back into the car and headed home. I was a little tired but simply could not go to sleep for a bit. So, while Mom went to the grocery store, I downloaded the entire ninth season of Rupaul’s Drag Race. Worth every second. I did finally crash. I ate some chicken noodle soup (or jewish penicillin), watched some more drag queen drama (or a gay z-pack), had a nice back rub from my mommy, and then went to bed early. I wasn’t as tired as round three, but definitely could feel that I needed to rest a bit. My color was off and I was slower than normal. Still no nausea!