Monday, June 12, 2006

Chemo #5- Mama's got a brand new bag!

IV bag, that is! I had my first chemo of the new kind (Taxol) at Emory last Thursday. So far, I really like Emory. The doctors are cool. They all know my oncologist from Northwestern. I feel like I'm a part of a big oncology sorority. I knew the secret handshake and everything. They don't have a penthouse or fancy individual chemo rooms, but they do have this chemo center type thing- there are like 30 little lounge chairs all set up at their own little station. Each has their own TV, their own requisite IV stands and pumps and an extra chair for the lucky mofo who comes along. Alan said it's not very comfortable.

This type of chemo takes a lot longer than my last one. Before, it was almost like drive thru chemo- I was in and out in less than 2 hours. This chemo can cause allergic reactions, so they give it to you very slowly. First there's the steroids, then there's the benadryl (for the allergic reaction), then there's the Taxol. All in, I was there almost 6 hours. Fortunately, thanks to the benadryl, I was asleep for about 4 hours of it. When I wasn't sleeping, I was peeing. They give you a bunch of fluids and my bladder is tiny.

Nothing says cancer like a bald girl dragging her IV pole and pump to the bathroom. Good times.

Being in community chemo was interesting. Because I was there so long, I watched everyone else come and go. Most were older- I mean old older. No one was even close to my age. I definitely was the most perky, even asleep. There aren't a lot of smiles in the chemo room. That's sad. Mostly people are quiet, watching TV, sleeping. Usually chemo day I feel great- almost forgetting how shitty I'll feel in a couple of days.

The downside to community chemo- people looking at you. A couple came in- it had to be for the husband's first treatment, as he still had all his hair. They were probably in their 40s- young for cancer, but not compared to me. The wife sat in her designated chair and just stared at me. Maybe it wasn't at me, but it sure felt like it. Her blank stare. It was a stare that screamed, "I'm fucking scared." She looked lost and alone. And she looked at me, with my port and my bald head, like I should be pitied. I wanted to tell her to relax, that I was going to be fine. Seriously, I'm not as sick as I look. I wanted to tell her that her husband would be okay, but then again I didn't know that.

Instead, I made jokes about unplugging my IV pump and my tiny bladder. I don't think it helped. Instead, it reminded me how scary this whole thing is. How scary it can be when you first find out. How shitty it all is. Then again, perhaps half the shittiness lies in our own attitude.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

okay, while this cancer stuff if truly truly compelling - I my fix on the new house. I expect pics and paint chips and curse-filled rantings about the dogs pooping on your new rug. Patio furniture yet?