Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Chemotherapy -- A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

Flashback February, 2006

Appointment to see my oncologist (I end up loving her by the way).  Wahid and I sitting in the office waiting, waiting, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I do not yet know what stage of cancer I am.  She talks to us and tells us that I need to start chemotherapy immediately and that they will put a PICC line in my arm and I will have chemo once a week.

She tells me I have Stage 4 cancer  and that there is no 
Stage 5 and that this is pallative treatment,
not a cure.  Was that a shoe I just heard drop?   

But first I need to see the hematologist because my blood is out of whack and he comes down the hall to her office and then proceeds to give me a bone marrow biopsy two minutes later.  His nurse helps him, they tell me and Wahid that they got a core sample but couldn't get anymore as I had too much meat on my bones (not his words but the meaning is the same).  He tells me I have to have 2 units of blood the next day and to be back in the morning.  I pull up my pants.  

My oncologist returns and tells me what chemo I will be starting (Taxotere).  At this point Wahid looks like he has seen a ghost and I am in computer mode (a complete robot).

Next day go to St. Boniface to get blood transfusion -- nurses try 4 times in one arm 5 times in other arm and then they try twice in the feet and finally get in right foot on third try.  Now, I don't know what can be more painful than that.  Ladies, if you think childbirth was bad you are dreaming.  I am so convinced of this that before I have to do that again, I will have an affair with an elephant and give birth to a 'humaelepha'.

Unsure of timeline here.  Anyway, a few days later I go to get my PICC put in, which will help with all this needle poking.  I go to a little operating theatre (basically a closet because real room is being used) and nurse and doctor use ultrasound machine to see best vein.  The doctor is the same one that gave Angelique a kidney biopsy years previous.  I am lying on a slab of a table crying my eyes out facing the wall because the stupid bastard can't get it in.  My arm is turning black and blue.  The nurse is wonderful and she is also getting annoyed at doctor and basically says just leave it, it is not going in.  I go home and my skin develops blood pockets so it is just hanging down and Jacquie insists I put ice on it.  That helps.

Hospital wants me to come back and try again, the next week when another doctor is there and he never misses.  Fine.  Notice the chemo is being on hold, because they can't get this PICC line in.  Go get it done, I'm ready to cry again and the doctor says all done.  He had the same nurse and it was great.  I was thrilled.

**Just an aside -- the doctor who first tried to give me the PICC line was on my television set 4 months later because he was being charged in the States with child molestation.  Yes, you heard me right.  Apparently the hospital was keeping him on????  No wonder he fucked-up because he probably wasn't even thinking of his job at the time but about the charges that were against him.

Wahid and I go back to the hospital on a snowy Friday morning and we face my fear.  My sheep in wolf's clothing.  I have armed myself with many mantras:  "Do not be intimidated by medical personnel or the process."  "I am not uncontrolled panic even though I may occassionally experience panic."  "Fear is the mind-killer."  "I am free from worry.  I know peace."  And I got great strength from "The Lord is my shepherd."  Angelique told me a quote from Winston Churchill "When in hell, march straight through."  

Flash Forward - February, 2008

I have faced my fear, my sheep in wolf's clothing 33 times wihtin a two year period.  It has truly helped me live longer.  Many times when I was discouraged (which I will discuss in later blogs) or angry, I would burst out laughing because Nadalene would be yelling in the background "Save the anger for the cancer."  I don't know why but that cracked me up every time.  She is bending down beside me and cleaning up my mess and saying "Save it for the cancer."  I still find that so funny.  

I read this just before I started chemo "I saw those chemicals as a great healing agent, something coming into my body to make me well.  I welcomed my chemotherapy with open arms."  Unfortunately I don't know who to quote it from, but whoever you are thank you.


angelique said...

Seriously Mom, you are such good writer. Maybe it's all those years practicing on the other side of the pen. So when are you coming out with your first novella?

Colette said...

"have an affair with an elephant" and give birth to a 'humaelepha'.

Okay darling Renee, you are a good writer, with quite the comic twist. Really! an elephant? ouch...

You are the most adorable person!

Deanna said...

Your humor is truly unique! Once again I'm reminded of how much I have missed you over the last few winters. I knew you could only write a couple of days before you said fuck.....

Allison said...

I too have to comment on what an amazing writer you are! You are remarkable. I agree with angelique- when IS your first novel going to come out??

Love Allison xoxo

Deborah said...

"When in hell, march straight through." Powerful image. Love Deanna's comment...you are so real. I believe your blog is your book in process.