Friday, June 19, 2015

Pink Punch

She intended to get up at 4:00. The alarm kept being snoozed until almost 5. It was very hard to get up, knowing she was about to begin a new type of chemo. It would be the 6th in just over 3 years. 

Two of the chemos she had allergic reactions to. They were the "heavy hitters" when it came to ovarian cancer treatment, but they were also the kind that could have killed her, had she not been treated properly when the red blotchy, first signs of an allergy showed up during treatment.

The first of the two ended unceremoniously, and a replacement was utilized. The second, however, must not have been caught fast enough. She wound up in the hospital for what turned out to be three days.

What made matters more miserable was the height of chemos awfulness was on a day she would have to travel. She was nauseous, and bathroom issues were all too present.

She had been on edge since her last scan that showed not only less than desirable news, but surprised her with the news that, apparently, the chemo she was on was no longer seeming to work the way it needed to.

Limited options just got more so. 

She went home thinking about the many things she wanted to accomplish in the next two weeks. There was a myriad and many things that hadn't really been touched the previous 4 months of being in treatment.

To not handle them then would mean they would still be a wreck for another several months. It was awful enough, as it was.

The pressure was on. In some ways, it was self-unflicted, but still a bit necessary. Things had to be done. If not, it would only become more troublesome.

Even still. Some things still lingered as she struggled to get up and pack and get ready. It might be one of the last times she might have that luxury.

While the last chemo mostly let her keep her hair, the next one sounded dubious. And no hair meant no eyebrows or eyelashes, and even paler skin.

It meant even if she wanted to go without make-up, she couldn't. It meant the necessity for more time to get ready. It likely meant a wig.

This all was in the background of her consciousness as she struggled.

Thankfully packing wasn't too much of a deal. She had already mostly figured out what she needed. She was all ready to go even before 6:30, the time she planned to leave.

She needed to catch an 8:10 train in DC, and arrived with 20 minutes to spare. As she went to board, she realized her ticket had the wrong train time. For some odd reason, she had been scheduled for an earlier train she could never had made.

She called the people who scheduled the train, and hoped to somehow make the 8:10, given the time she was due for a test. As she sat by the gate, and the clock ticked, she ran out of luck.

The best she could now do was an 8:40 train, which turned out to be about 20 minutes late. She made phone calls trying to make sure she'd make this train, and others to say she'd be late.

Not the best way to start the day.

And this was all on top of the fact that someone who said they'd come cancelled at the last minute. She was feeling emotional, and had wanted the company. It wasn't usual to want it, but this time was an exception. 

She was on edge.

She knew it, and was hanging by something of a thread. She just didn't know how frayed it was until she sat down to talk to a friend on the phone once she was at the treatment center.

There really wasn't a good private place to speak, but she found a quiet hallway to sit. Somewhere in the midst of the conversation she started to cry. Then sob. She tried to hold on to it somewhat given that she didn't want to wail so publicly. She put her hands over her face, as tears streamed down her face.

Person after person came up to her. Many offered tissues. Many offered the opportunity for some comfort, but she waved them off, and said she was in the phone. 

It some ways, it was wonderful. In some ways, it was annoying. She guessed there may have been a total of 10-12 familiar and unfamiliar faces.

The time for her appointment was coming, so she had to start walking. She was already late, but did not care. As she got on the elevator, yet another expressed concern. But she kept talking to her friend on the phone. No details, as she was not alone. Just the fact that she was now on the elevator. 

When she got to her floor, she turned right - away from the direction she needed to go. She really started to sob.

As she walked, she was up against the wall. She felt as though her legs might buckle. She hoped no one was really around to hear, or spot her.

At the end of the hallway, she found an isolated room with a number of computers. The glass looked thick; maybe it was a safe place to sob, and let go.

It is not that she did not appreciate the concern of others. It was just that there was really nothing they could do, and she was already talking to the best person she could at the time.

Eventually she somewhat pulled herself together, and started walking toward her appointment. She managed to get through what she needed to, with a slight bump in the road.

As she spoke with one of her docs, and expressed what had happened, and all the tears that had been shed, the doc expressed that she seemed strong in the moment. Part of it was probably the huge release she had, and another part might have been the huge relief that a concern that had popped up the day before probably wasn't anything as awful as it could seem to be.

She eventually got to the infusion area where the chemo magic happens. Her stomach was quite unhappy. But she so wanted to eat, so she tried.

The medications made her sleepy, but not before a nurse pointed out that the chemo had a color so that she would not be surprised if her urine would turn that color.

Probably it was smart, as the color had a red-ish tint. For it to show up without warning, it might have seemed scary and/or like blood.

She, lover of colors that she was, noticed it was a beautiful pink
punch color.  She told herself she was being "infused with love."

By the time she found herself at a bed, it did not take much to fall asleep - even with a light and the TV on. Not a usual thing for her.

Except for the fact that she woke up baking - and extremely sweaty, she mostly slept through the night. When she woke up, she stumbled to the bathroom. Her balance, not surprisingly, challenged.

It was hard to get going for the day. But, by the time she did, she felt infinitely better than the day before.

It must have been that combination of Emotional and Pink Punch.

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