Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Quiet contemplation

There is something to be said for some peace and quiet.  I love my busy noisy life, but I seriously need down time on a regular basis to re-charge.  I love my solitude, perhaps from my quiet childhood I learned to enjoy my own company.  I rarely feel lonely or bored, and I do like that about myself.  

I have had the last day to quietly go about my tasks in privacy, though I am hugely grateful for the offers from my loved ones to accompany me, drive me, visit etc, I am also grateful that I can still do this stuff on my own.  I spend a decent amount of my fear on the prospective loss of independence in my future.

I enjoyed the sunny drive to the city in my spiffy little car yesterday, and I felt comfortable checking myself in to the chemotherapy unit at Sunnybrook and reading a book in the lounge chair I scooped.  I quietly sipped away on my couple litres of water (have to be very hydrated to receive and recover from any type of chemo or immunotherapy) and observed the familiar scene.

I recognized some fellow patients from previous visits to Odette, the elderly gentleman with stage 4 melanoma (who didn't recognize me though we have spoken a couple of times), and the Greek lady who recovered from breast cancer only to get a painful form of bone cancer.  My Mom chatted her up on one of our visits so she would totally have snagged her for a chat (and her spanakopita recipe) had she been with me yesterday. 

The nurses are very helpful and with a few of them I am on a first-name basis, they commented on how it has been a while since I was here?  I filled them in on how busy I have been since October with my thyroid surgery etc, and they just shook their heads.  They must see all kinds of medical cases there, they are special people to work in that field. 

All settled into my IV chair, it was monumental to me that I was able to make it to the chemo recliner for the fifth of my eight allotted treatments, after so narrowly missing being forced to opt out of the trial.  

I was warmly greeted by the other patients in my room, and we had some chance for small talk between nurse Amy darting around hooking us all up.  I amused myself by noticing that I could see my car in the parking lot from my window, and it occurred to me that I could take some photos to share with you a bit of how it is inside the chemo unit.  It is peaceful inside, and the windows are mirrored on the outside of Odette Cancer Centre so no one can see in, but I can see my Honda! 

Can you see my car there..?  -------------->
Its the little black thingy right under the pink star on the window LOL  It's not a great photo but I couldn't get up from under my nice warm blanket with my apple juice. ;-)

Here are my feet under the warm blankie, showing what each chemo chair looks like, I was in #2 yesterday, but this gives you an idea.  Normal hospital stuff. 
Oh yes, and this is my $30 000  per dose chemical shot.  
That tiny brown bag up there?  That's my melanoma's worst enemy.

The infusion went well as expected, vital signs during treatment and for an hour afterward were all good, I can't believe how comfortable I feel with the whole process, it's a strange feeling but hey, gotta go with it I guess, it is part of my experience.  One foot in front of the other.

I remember the characteristics of each treatment visit (and no, no celebrities this time, as the girls asked me on the phone last night LOL), and I remember being the new one still figuring out the rhythm of the chemo unit.  

Yesterday an elderly lady was in for her second treatment of chemotherapy, and I recognised her vaguely-mystified look about some of the goings on.  I felt badly for her, as she seemed to have a bit of a language barrier as well, and she looked like she was ready to receive her treatment but really maybe didn't want to be there at all.  Thankfully she had her son with her, he was attentive and obviously experienced in the medical field.  We had some opportunity to chat and it was a nice way to pass the time, sharing stories and exchanging tidbits of helpful information.  

Yesterday I met people from north of Peterborough, who stayed with their son in the city when here for Dad's treatments, and the lady across from me, accompanied by her sister and brother, were all from Toronto.  Plus my neighbour with the son, who travels all around Ontario for work, but is based here in the city.  Neat to hear everyone's stories, cancer-related and otherwise.  And there is always a warm farewell to each other as we are discharged one by one from our recliners... everyone seems to say "Take Care" in the most sincere way.  We're all in it together. 

I was super zonked and crashed early with my habitually sore post-IV infusion arm, large bruise on my hand this time also - oops Amy!  Up this morning and yummy coffee and breakfast, now getting ready to head over for my three-month CT scan.  I hope they are on time today, it can be a gamble.  

I have embraced my quiet time and I am not really ready to let it go just yet, but I must.  I have to will myself to pack my bag and move along to my next appointment.  I feel relaxed, and I have just been willing my cells to behave themselves and not show anything bad on the CT scan today.  This is my fourth CT scan, and I will have results later this week.

OK off I go. Quietly and anonymously, I will be able to finish my book today as I drink the vile CT scan stuff and pretend it's a big-ass mojito.

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