Friday, July 23, 2010

Round two: giddy up

Just finished the obligatory post-chemo soup and toast (thanks, S), but because I don't feel crappers yet, I really wanted Pete's sushi (although perhaps not the octopus balls... do octopi have balls?).

My second chemo session finished at 1 pm and felt pretty similar to the last one - no pain, no reaction. Which is good. This morning was a bit of a clusterfuck. I have this shiny new anti-nauseant called Emend, which is the Chanel of pre-chemo drugs. I'm supposed to take the first of the three pills one hour before chemo. My appointment was for 11 am, which really means chemo starts around 11:30, after all the nurse chitchat and vein warming shenanigans. By 10:15 I was still at home and hadn't heard whether my white blood cell count was high enough to go ahead with the treatment.

So like any pushy broad, I called every number I had at the Agency and left multiple terse messages. No way I was taking a $33 pill for fun and no way I was leaving my house for the appointment until I heard back. Finally, at 10:55 I get a call from a confused woman at reception asking what I needed.

"Counts, man, counts"!

"Yes - they're all fine. You better hurry and come in if your appointment's in five minutes!"

She has obviously never met Pete and his ability to outrun all these stinkin' Victorians in his beat-up Acura. I downed the Chanel pill and dashed out the door with my other meds, some crackers and a pulpy book, making it to the Agency at 11:01. Sweet driving (bonus: no kids in car).

I arrived at the chemo reception while a gaggle (drone?) of nurses were discussing my multiple messages and the complexities of the phone forwarding system. After listening for awhile, I told them I was the "Ms. McCart in question" and they looked embarrassed and apologized.

"Unless you hear otherwise, your counts are fine."

"I don't like that process. I want to hear from someone that all is good so I'm not wondering if someone has forgotten to call me in time."

"We'll see what we can do."

By the time I was getting the first uber-syringe of Doxorubicin injected into my IV, the chemo nurse assigned to me was explaining how from now on I'd be getting a call the afternoon before my next chemo to tell me whether the light was green or red on my white blood cell counts. Victory, beyotches.

So pre-chemo round one, my count was around 5.5. When I had my test yesterday, it was 2.5, still acceptable to go ahead with chemo (1.5 is the lowest I can go and still proceed). Pete was documenting it all on his iPhone while I enjoyed the familiar, tinny taste of the Dox and subsequent slight blur in my vision.

Beside me was a younger, bald guy - mid-30s (testicular cancer?) - who was on his fourth treatment. Jealous. He was complaining about losing his eyebrows. Joy. And about not really enjoying solid food anymore. Oh, the anticipation.

At my last onc visit on Wednesday I asked about seeing a nutritionist - not because I'm having any eating issues, but because I have a gazillion questions about things like acid vs. alkaline, taking garlic pills when you have low platelet counts, those powdered "greens" I've read so much about lately, and immunity-boosting foods that don't involve breaking out the juicer and risking botulism at a very inopportune time. I swear, if I get the "just eat a balanced diet" line I might maim somebody. I'm beyond balanced diet, dolls - I want the diet that will starve off all future cancer cells so I'm not doing this again. And there is tons out there on the subject.

So I wait to see what kind of nausea this round will gift me with and count the minutes until I can take my first rescue pill at 3 pm. Send your non-vomit vibes my way!


  1. Non-vomit vibes sent NOW.


    talk soon babe.

  2. Remember those staff members who you thought were looking at you in pity the other day? Well, I don't think you'll ever see that in their eyes again LOL. Anger maybe, hopefully a little admiration, but never pity. Way to go girl. You are definitely not just "another cancer patient" as they have all learned today.