Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

Mary Poppins did know what she was talking about. Although I always found that whole scene with the fabricated chirping bird to be a little bit creepy.

I've opened up my inner chemo circle and in doing so enjoyed the company of some more fab escorts for my GND chemo infusion this past week. M
y "sugar" was my friends from high school, Thea and Leanne, who spent the better part of the day with me as the chemo dripped.

It's no replacement, of course, for my venerable mom and husband who have endured many a chemo session, but I think that switching it up has made it easier on me and them. I don't feel guilty taking up another one of their Wednesdays and they don't have to worry about thinking of more creative ways to entertain me. If you asked me last year if I would ever let anyone besides them come with me to chemo the answer would most certainly have been "no." But a lot of things change in a year; one of the biggest being that I'm more comfortable with myself and with my situation and therefore much more willing to let my guard down and to accept the help that's been offered all around us.

In this case the help came in the form of a cushy ride, a trunk load of delicious treats – a bag and a cooler full, Trivial Pursuit, magazines upon magazines, and two of the sweetest, most sunshiney people I know. While snacking on Fig Newmans, fruit, Greek yogurt, cookies, granola bars and more, talking about
Leanne's wedding plans, and failing horribly at answering trivia, the afternoon flew by and the whir of the IV machine didn't give me shivers once. Every single nurse remarked on the "party" we were having in our private room and were wowed by the size of the snack bags. If a nurse got a trivia question right, she'd get a chocolate nugget. We were quite the antitheses to the normal chemo crowd and – at least I hope – it was refreshing.

Wednesday night was rougher than it had been after the first two GND infusions but I just moaned and slept it off while Craig was on cooking and drink refilling duty ... a job he's quite used to on chemo nights. Thursday was also tough. I was very, very tired and incredibly achey. The feelings were reminiscent of ABVD days when my muscles felt like they were being shrink wrapped to my body. No nausea, just angry body. Most of the day was spent on the couch with movies streaming. On Friday, all was well in the world again.

I've been back to yoga class and so proud of what my body's still able to accomplish and patient when I need to modify a pose. Craig and I bought kayaks and this has become a new favorite way for us to spend time together. We found mine on Craigslist from a guy right down the street from us. It is bright yellow and decorated with outdoor adventure stickers and lots of scrapes on its underbelly. I look like a hardcore kayaker in it. But mostly, we lock paddles and Craig and I create a flotilla down the Farmington River throwing in some sprint paddle sessions here and there. Like yoga, I enjoy it because on days that I'm feeling strong I can make it a workout and paddle upriver. On days that I'm feeling more fatigued, or when my low platelet count forces me to be uber cautious about bruising, we'll drop a car downriver so that we only have to paddle with the current then drive back to the drop-in spot. It's so peaceful on the river and seeing it from that vantage point opens up a whole new world to us.

It may sound strange with everything that's going on, but this has been one of the best summers I can remember. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous. The barbecues and get togethers with friends have been abundant. Time with family has been full of laughs. Our front porch rocking chairs have gotten much more use. The hammock is crazy indulgent. Sammy has been super cute. Craig has been super sweet. The veggies extra crisp, the ice cream extra creamy, and the fruits extra juicy.


  1. Jen and I were just talking about the same thing - how wonderful this summer has felt. Every warm, sun shiny day is a little gift. And with all of your yoga and kayaking, you've pushed me to kick it up a notch. Thinking of ya...

  2. You were made for that kayak! Just got back from a week on the Cape where I played my ukulele daily and sent good thoughts to you the whole time. Saw the perfect card for you - here's what it said: “Good Morning, this is God….I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help, So have a good day.”
    May you have many more yoga and kayaking days.
    Judy xoxo

  3. Yay, glad to hear that you have enjoyed some quality kayak time. I know how excited you were about that find. Karin, you are a constant reminder of all of the little joys in life. With that in mind, this has been one of my best summers too. You continue to inspire us all...