Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last Dance for Red Devil

Right now, I am so excited that it was the very last time for the "red devil" and me to meet!  I know I won't be so excited in a few days since I will be feeling too miserable, but for today---I am feeling good about this!

Today was extremely crowded at the cancer center since many people had to reschedule their chemo due to the Thanksgiving holiday.  It was a big group and "Mr. Mixologist" (the one who concocts our cocktails) was very backed up and the wait was longer to get your IV chemo bag--or syringe (as the "red devil" comes).  People were anxious to get their meds, not because they really WANTED them, but it meant a longer time sitting in the chair before treatment even began.  But, as I have learned, in this room are remarkable people who kept telling the nurses "not to worry", "it was OK", and they realized "it was a holiday".  Cancer can make you really patient.  The bumps in life become as important and meaningful as the smooth roads...it's all good.

It was a funny group.  There were many jokes about Mr. Mixologist drinking our meds and how "someone should go check on him"; and a lot of laughs about all of us having a "pole dancing party" (IV poles....get it?) to get his attention.  The funniest lady was an older woman who kept saying she was dying for a bologna sandwich on white bread with mayo (I don't know how she could eat it during chemo, but that's what she wanted!).  She asked everyone who passed if they were going to the deli.  Finally, one kind soul left and got it for her.  You would have thought she was in heaven....all for some slices of bologna!  Others used the time to walk around and got so tangled in their IV lines that it looked like a wild spaghetti party.  

One woman across from me was stuck with the IV needle repeatedly since they couldn't find a "good vein".  Even after they found one,  the poor woman's arm blew up, and they had to remove it and wait for it the swelling to go down before they could stick her again.  (NOTE:  when you have breast cancer and nodes out...you can't put an IV in the arm on the side you were operated on).  Yet, she was very patient with it all since she knew there was a problem getting a good vein on her arm.  It made me very glad that I had the port and wouldn't have to go through that.  My veins on my right side were always good for drawing blood and such...but since all this, I can't use that arm and my left arm has veins that disappear or close up.  So, this definitely made me see the wisdom of that decision.  

While I was finishing up the chemo, a friend from church who was getting radiation downstairs (for her breast cancer) texted to see if she could come up and visit.  I'm always glad to see her, so I told her "Of course!".   It was good to talk to her and in the sharing of our stories, we knew exactly how each of us was truly feeling.  Sometimes there are things you can only share with someone who is going through just what you are experiencing.  Writing, reading and hearing about it are not the same as being right there "in the trenches".  Even in the chemo ballroom, there is a kind of camaraderie amongst all of us and people who are not "hooked up" (and I mean to IV's, not romantically!) cannot fully join "our club".

Tomorrow I go back to get the shot that boosts my white blood cell count.  My tests today still showed the anemia (which she was not too concerned about yet) and a low Vitamin D count.  So, I have to double the Vitamin D to 3,000 a day.  During this visit, she will also go over the new regimen with the Taxol.  My chemo nurse today said it might be a two week break in between the "red devil" and beginning the Taxol.

So, today I am feeling OK.  I know it will be a tough week and weekend, but hopefully, this will be the worst of it and the next chemo cocktail won't be such a "devil".  And speaking of the "devil"....I have just hung up my dancing shoes and I won't be doing the cha-cha with her again!  Halleluia and pass the Prilosec!


  1. Sharon, I just added a post to my blog titled "Last Dance with the Red Devil" - so similar to yours! My last dance is tomorrow. Can't wait to get it over with. It was so nice to see you at church. Hang in there! We will make it through this!
    PS - Loved your hat!

  2. CONGRATULATIONS on your final dance with the red devil! Hopefully your next dance partner --"the pink devil"?-- will be less demanding of you. Dancing with the Stars has nothing on you!

    BTW, I totally get the craving for bologna on white bread but for me it's Miracle Whip! She must have some mid-western blood in her!