I knew this wasn’t a good mantra going into my second round of chemo. Totally, totally knew that this was the wrong thing to think. But I couldn’t help it. “It can’t be as bad as last time,” just rolled around and around in my head like the puffing of the Little Engine That Could. I had the flu the first time around, there was NO WAY I was getting the flu again so chemo had to go better the second time.
Then I woke up Saturday morning around 2 am. Just dealing with some normal chemo side effects, no big deal. Couldn’t fall back asleep, but not from stress or anything. I just felt awake. So I rested and thought and planned a whole entire blog where I would just write about books again like in the olden days because I wouldn’t have any medical stuff to report. There are books I want to recommend! Friends producing books right and left that I want to share with you all.
The pain didn’t start coming on until about 5 am. What started as a run-of-the-mill ouch turned into a rather nasty curl-up-in-a-ball-and-whimper ouch. It was in the area of my lower lungs where I haven’t had pain since this started.
We went off to the ER where I got some lovely pain relievers and started in on the tests. While we (Barrett, my dad, Diana and I) were waiting for the x-rays and blood tests etc. to come back and for them to decide if I was getting a CT scan, they gave me the “no eating, just in case” directive. We sat and talked about food and started planning the fabulous lunch and dinner we were going to cook as soon as they let me out.
When I can get on top of the nausea meds, I’m all about the tasty vittles.
Went to CT scan. Came back and talked some more about the delicious meals we were going to cook at home. (I mostly direct on the sidelines lately, but it’s still very satisfying being part of meal prep, have I mentioned how much I like good food?). We might even get to eat out on the porch and soak up the last of the afternoon sunshine.
Finally, the ER doc came in. CT results didn’t show anything, but they blamed this on my organs being too smashed together. “If you were fatter, your organs would have room to spread out and we could see them better on the scan,” the doc says, “since we can’t find anything, we must assume the worst and you need to stay here overnight. Oh, and by the way you can’t eat anything.” !!!!!!
So 1) I’m in trouble for being too thin = v. annoying 2) he’s assuming that there’s something wrong with my digestion because I flinched when he poked me (just had abdominal surgery 8 weeks ago PLUS I’m on a chemo drug that makes me sensitive to cold, how could I not flinch when he poked me with his ice hands?) 3) I didn’t even go in because of abdominal pain, I came in for lower lung pain! 4) he was not bothered in the least by that little fact and decided that I shouldn’t eat just in case I had some kind of digestive obstruction that they couldn’t see on the CT scan.
I have to admit that once the doctor left us alone, my positive attitude may have taken a brief holiday. There may even have been cursing.
The oncologist on call stopped by. A lovely, lovely woman. She very reasonably took back the order banning me from eating and asked nicely if I would stay overnight just in case the pain in my lungs came back or anything else weird happened. She wasn’t at all worried about the imaginary digestion issue.
I couldn’t say “no” to that. It was sensible and most likely The Right Thing To Do.
Then they brought me to the most gorgeous hospital room I’ve ever been in. One whole wall was windows overlooking the river with Mt. Hood smack dab in the center. The building is only two and a half months old and somehow I got snuck into one of their special VIP rooms. Apparently, there weren’t enough VIP’s around to fill the rooms over the weekend. Since I wasn’t paying the extra $150 for VIP treatment I did not get the satin sheets that normally come with it.
But the kitchen doesn’t get any kind of message distinguising whether or not it’s a real VIP in the room. When they get an order from a VIP numbered room, they make up a fancy tray lined with purple fabric, cloth napkins IN ACTUAL NAPKIN HOLDERS, doilies, a silver dome cover for the entrees, plus they make your food look all fancy by fanning out the vegetables etc.
The view though. Wow. I think that it may have cured me.
Another awesome bonus was the “Write” bracelet Jone dropped off — Laura, the designer, wanted me to have one like the bracelet up for auction on the Bridget Zinn auction site and it is absolutely gorgeous. It was nice to have the visual reminder around my wrist that I do have a life outside the hospital walls.
Sunday I felt fine and they sent me home. No explanation for the pain except that people have weird reactions to chemo. It wasn’t any of the serious things they worry about, so they just gave me some directions on meds and how to handle the pain should it come back.
The view was nice, but it was SO good to come home.
Definitely need a new mantra before the next chemo session.
Thanks for all of the kind thoughts on facebook and twitter. It really helps knowing I have all of you out there rooting for me.
Best to all,