I felt better knowing what I was going into, yet at the same time, a little more scared than the first time for that exact same reason. This time my treatment was in Avon, which the nurses there deem the "country club." The setting couldn't be more different than the Hartford center, but I really felt comfortable in both places. The quiet here was a little eerie to me, but it also allowed me to spread out, watch a movie on my laptop and get a lot of personal attention from the nurse. Plus, the view outside to the pergola and koi fish pond amid the greenery does beat the busy city streets. However, I did miss the hustle and bustle and variety of people at the Hartford center. But here in Avon, I love that everybody knows you by name and that you get your pick of cushy recliners. Kinda like Cheers, but the bartenders serve chemo instead of brewskis.
So my mom and I rolled in, passed the blood tests with flying colors, met with Dr. Dailey who had all positive things to say then chose my recliner and IV stand where I would be parking myself for the next five hours of drug drip, drip, drip. This time I came armed with good snacks---banana, carrots, dark chocolate, anti-nausea pops, ginger candy and lots to drink. This time I also sucked on ice chips when it came to the hard-core drugs to hopefully keep them from affecting my mouth and throat and (fingers crossed) avoid those awful mouth sores of last time around.
My nurse was very sweet but the IV insertion did not go so well. Despite the usual admiration of my veins (I guess I am very gifted
in that department) she had trouble getting it into the vein in my left wrist.
"Does it hurt?" she was asking.
"Ya, a little I guess."
"If it hurts and is not in there perfectly we could seriously damage your vein so you need to tell me."
"Yikes, okay ya, it hurts pretty bad." I need to stop being such a tough guy.
So she came at me with the IV needle again. This time in the right arm, right in my inner elbow so I couldn't bend my arm for five hours, but at least it was safe there.
My mom and I visited with a 75-year-old woman who chose the recliner next to me. She was sweet. She had beat colon cancer and now was back with a relapse, this time metastasis to her kidney. Her attitude was fantastic and you'd never guess that she was in her mid-seventies. We talked about her granddaughter, adopted from Ukraine. She showed us pictures. She told us about how her husband is always forcing her to eat and bought her a hard-top Volkswagen convertible upon her diagnosis. So cute.
The time passed fairly quickly. We talked. I read. My mom went for a walk outside. I snacked. I watched some of a movie---"Crazy, Sexy Cancer." Warily counting down to the moment when the last drug---the dreaded DTIC would be injected. But my nurse was prepared. She outfitted me with plenty of ice packs to cool my burning vein as the drug entered. It wasn't so bad. She slowed the drip and diluted it with saline fluid to make it bearable. But of course that adds time. Nearly five hours later the beeper went off that the last bag was done. I cheered. My recliner neighbor and I were in a race as to who would finish first. But unfortunately for her, she had to take home a pump that would continue to inject her chemo cocktail for another 46 hours. I guess I don't have it so bad.
I was a bit loopy and flushed but STARVING. So my mom took me to my fav place: Plan B in Simsbury. I needed food stat so we started with homemade salt and vinegar chips and I finished with a "pink" West Coast burger, complete with fried egg, avocado, and olive tapenade spread. What better way to soak up liters and liters of drugs?
Then I slept. And slept, with Sammy by my side, as Craig and my mom took care of the housekeeping and cooking dinner.
So far, so good. I've been nauseous and tired, but I have drugs for the nausea and Tylenol PM to help me sleep through the body aches. And this time I have tried a new, softer laxative to hopefully eliminate any mistakes in the GI arena this time around. At least now I know that the pain is only temporary and can look forward to a few days from now when my body will be recovering once again---hopefully sooner rather than later.