Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Ready to Fight - Fall 2004

The chemo room at the Cancer Centre where I was hanging out might not be the same as the way it is set up in other places.  Here, fortunately, children were treated next door at the Children’s Hospital.  I was very thankful for that because that would just break my heart I think.  The chemo room was one great big room with large lazy boy-type chairs and beds all around the outside of the room.  There were big windows also all around the outside of the room too.  I don’t actually know if it is a rounded room or not but that is how it seemed.  There were nurses everywhere and they were all so very wonderful.

A nurse took me to my spot in this circle.  It was one of the lazy boy chairs because my treatment was only going to take a few hours.  The beds were for others that would be there much longer or that were weak, sick, tired, etc.  I got settled into the chair and there was a normal, smaller chair for Mike.  The nurse explained everything to us about how the medications were to be administered.  She was hooking me up to an IV system in my arm.  Then she also gave me the anti-nausea medicine that was prescribed.  There was a schedule to follow that noted all of the medications I would have to take when I got home and when I was supposed to take them.  There were two different medications to battle the nausea that I might get from the chemo.  There was also a third medication to help with constipation.  Nice.

Having a Cocktail - Fall 2005
Now, I was ready to get the chemo drugs.  The cocktail.  I remember seeing the bag with the medicine in it and there was a huge skull and cross bones warning on it.  I was more used to seeing that on my cleaning products and not on something that was going to go into my body.  The nurse that was administering this one had a bit of an accent.  So when she kept referring to the Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) as “the Red Devil” it rolled off her tongue in a very ominous sort of way.  The RRRRRed DEVIIIILL.  I think I will hear that forever in my head.  It actually is red in colour.  She told me that I would feel it moving through my body.  She was right.  It was a very strange sensation and I really could feel it entering my system and spreading through my body.  It was kind of a yucky and unreal feeling.  The Red Devil.  It was all so evil sounding and so unnatural.

Once the chemo drugs were going through the IV drip, I started to feel extremely cold.  They covered me up in some blankets, Mike adjusted the chair so that I could lean back, and then I tried to relax and took out my book.  Mike did some work on his laptop and wandered around and spoke to the nurses and kept getting me water.  It was important to keep drinking lots of water to ensure that my system would get flushed out as quickly as possible.  After the first drug was finished they started the second one and then when that was done there was a final flush of saline.  During this time I had a visit from the oncologist as well as the lady in charge of the home care nursing that I would receive.  That was quite comforting to know that I would have a connection to someone that would come to my home.  We live about a 45 minute drive from the Cancer Centre and the home care nurse is from my community.

At one point during my first treatment session, a lady made her way to this large bell that was firmly attached to the wall with a rope hanging down.  She grabbed that rope and rang the bell.  It scared me at first because it was so loud and then I thought that maybe we were getting dinner but then I saw the sign above the bell and it simply said, “VICTORY BELL”.  This lady had just finished her last treatment and had earned the opportunity to ring the bell.  Everyone clapped and cheered and she left the room with a smile on her face.  A victory smile.  It was so special and I really looked forward to the day when it would be my turn to ring that bell.  I suppose all of us in that room were looking forward to that day.

Anyway, the entire treatment went by faster than I thought it would.  It took a just over two hours and I was back home by 5:00 pm.  And guess what?  I didn’t have to drag myself up the driveway and collapse in a heap on the floor just inside the front door.  I actually felt quite good.  A bit odd but not bad at all.  When I walked in the house my Dad, Sheila, Alex and Tasza were all standing there (I think they were all holding their breath and had their fingers crossed) and they were staring at me and not knowing what to expect.  When they saw me they all breathed a sigh of relief.  Although they all thought I was very pale I really didn’t feel too bad at all.  In fact I was hungry and glad that Shelia had dinner all ready for us.  She had made lasagna, garlic bread, caesar salad and these are some of my favorites.  (Little did I know that I would not be able to eat those favourite things again for a long, long time.)  After dinner I decided that I needed some fresh air so we took the dog for a walk.  When I got back I had a challenging game of Yahtzee with Tasza and Sheila and then we watched a movie.

Everything seemed somewhat normal.

Devil Inside - INXS

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