Gotta HAND it to the Chemo

It’s official. My veins are shot and I am going to need a port for my next chemo. I have had aching pain in my left hand IV site since my last session of chemo. When I went in for blood, the head nurse said it was time for a port. My veins are starting to show signs of deterioration and the Doxorubicin (the one that makes me pee red) had leaked from the vein, which was causing the pain.

It was kind of a day of lows. First, the news about my hand, then my white cells were low. (Not low enough to need another Neprogen shot, but low enough to make me sad.) And then I had an extremely low tolerance for the amount of time trying to figure out when and how I needed to get the port. My health care is amazing and I trust these nurses and doctors quite literally with my life, but sometimes it is just hard doing all of this in another language. My Spanish is pretty good, but when a doctor is drawing a diagram of  my aortic vein and showing me how a tube will enter it from my chest cavity and none of it is in English, I start to get the prickling behind my eyes and the lump in my throat. (To normal people, this is known as crying. To me, this is weakness.) When my hand is throbbing and I am given this super shitty cream that I am pretty sure does absolutely nothing, especially not alleviating the pain, I just want a good old fashioned USA prescription narcotic and a glass of wine to wash it down.

And then when I have to have the front receptionist explain what was actually going to happen on the 7th when I get my port AND have chemo, one-after-another because I was simply not getting it in the doctor’s office, I start to wonder – not that I made a mistake, but why does it have to be so freaking difficult on top of having Cancer?!

Then I go through the cycle of self-chastisement for the years of not paying attention in high-school Spanish, for being too stubborn to ask for some help for a basic doctor’s appointment, and for thinking I can actually control all of this.  Despite years of therapy working on my control issues, I still have a problem relinquishing control. So heave on the ticker-tape of how much I paid for said therapy over the years. Needless to say, Monday was not great.

Until, I learned that friends of mine are pregnant. I just started crying for all of the right reasons. And I mean, actual tears cry. Not the swallow the lump cry that I usually have in public.  I am staring at these sonograms and am so happy that life finds a way. In spite of all of this fight and ugly is a beautiful little one just growing cell-by-cell. It’s why the pictures of my “niece” Araya are so important to me right now.  Every time Neel or Terra sends me that sweet little face, I just glow with happiness and determination to get better so I can see her in the summer. The concept of a baby is the antithesis to cancer and I was in desperate need of it.  I stared at that sonogram and congratulated my friends and picked the metaphorical pieces back up and faced another day of doing whatever it is that I have to get well for these babies so that I can hold them and snuggle them and spoil them in July when I am all better.

My hand still throbs, I am still totally freaked by another surgical procedure, and I am not looking forward to a chemo after the procedure, but I will do it and can do it and that’s all there is to it.

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