No big deal, huh?

First of all, let me start by saying incompetence pisses me off. Aside from that, though, anyone undergoing cancer treatments knows what it is like to count down until you are done. Final chemo, final radiation, and later, hopefully, final routine check if you hit the coveted 5 year mark without a recurrence.  Like anyone else I am counting down my treatments.  I stayed on schedule through 16 rounds of chemo. Now on to radiation..  8 down, 25 to go. 5 more weeks of 5 days a week, starting today.  My “last” day is was 8/10/11.  I live 30-40 minutes from the cancer center depending on traffic/weather. I give myself 45 minutes to get there. I usually arrive 10 minutes or so before my scheduled treatment.  Today was no exception. I checked in, got undressed and sat to wait. There was a mishap when a lady fell in the bathroom and was calling for help. There wasn’t a nurse in sight and she couldn’t reach the call button. Unfortunately she had fallen against the door, so I couldn’t open it to see if she just needed help standing or needed a nurse.  Another patient went to find someone while I stayed with her. Once the nurses arrived I got out of the way and continued to wait.  My name was called and the nurse who (I think) is in charge of the scheduling said “I left you a message!”  Okay, but here I am.  She said the machine was down (again!.. this is getting to be a habit, though I’ve never been sent away before) and she had called me to cancel.  I asked what time she called and she said “a few minutes ago”.  Splendid. A few minutes ago, while she was calling my house I was already disrobed and freezing in the waiting room. She informed me the “other machine” was up and running but the  one I was scheduled for was down. I was already there. I was undressed. There were only two other people waiting and one had been wheeled out on a stretcher. Surely they could have squeezed me in even though they were “booked solid” until 5. My treatment takes all of 5-6 minutes.  I debated arguing, but I was afraid if I pissed her off she would turn up the juice.  Then she said I hadn’t wasted the trip because Dr. Jones was seeing his patients today. Well, bully for Dr. Jones’ patients. I am not one of them.  She kept apologizing and of course I don’t blame her about the machine being down or even for being boneheaded enough to call me 5 minutes before my scheduled appointment to cancel. Even if I lived in the parking lot it would take me at least that long to get there.  What pissed me off nearly beyond reason was her flippant.. “oh it’s no big deal.. we just tack the missed appointment(S) on to the end”.  Yeah, it is a big deal to me. It’s a fucking big deal.

Today is the end of phase one of my chemotherapy treatment.

Today is the last in a series of four rounds of Adriamycin and Cytoxan. I had been looking forward to it as the halfway point and thought I would be happier to see the day come. But instead I focus on the fact that after a 3 week hiatus I am onto phase two.. weekly Taxol for 12 weeks. And then I still won’t be done, it will be onto radiation.  On the AC I had two good weeks out of three the first two rounds. This last round honestly left me feeling pretty exhausted right through. I’ve now developed allergies (never been a problem in the past) where my nose runs and my eyes weep constantly.  Claritin doesn’t help and I’m hoping my Oncologist can recommend something else today.  We have a lot of family events coming up in the spring – birthdays, one daughter graduating college, the other grad school, visits from family. I had big plans to celebrate these milestones, but not knowing how I will feel on weekly chemo, things are kind of hanging and that makes me feel unsettled. 

When I started journaling about this whole thing I was determined to keep it light and upbeat but I’ve come to understand how disingenuous that is.  No one can be positive 100% of the time, no one should feel they have to be. Of course I could choose to only blog when I am feeling positive, but I think more people can relate to the fact that in all aspects of life there are good days and really, really bad days and this fact is no less so when facing a life threatening disease, no matter how brave you want to appear to others (or how brave you think others need for you to appear). And I also think when someone comes along and reads these blogs they need to know that their negative feelings are real and valid and normal! And so is gallows humor if that’s what helps. Most days I can be depended on to make a really tasteless comment about cancer that will either crack someone up or completely disgust them. When it’s the former I appreciate their understanding of my comedic brilliance. When it’s the latter I channel my inner honey badger cuz honey badger don’t give a sh-t!

Today I am going to try and channel my inner glowworm and spread some sunshine.