Western education 2013

Monday, November 16, 2009

.... round two weekend!!

... I was lucky to get into my chemo appointment early - the waiting room seemed unusually quiet compared to the day before. As I was getting up a man walked passed - his head was held high and his hollow eyes scanned me but he never moved his head, just his large blue eyes that were sunk in to a deeply etched face where skin was pulled taught over high cheek bones with little flesh beneath. His body showed the same skeletal outline in the clothes that hung off his frame. I had seen men like this in pictures of a concentration camp and shuddered inside. His eyes captured mine as he passed and I sensed a hint of defiance - I am still here and walking tall! I was weighed the day before and the nurse had informed me that I had lost 5 pounds... in less than 3 weeks. I take solace in the fact that I am eating well and taking care of myself.

I chat amicably with the nurse who is attending me today. I am tucked away in a quiet corner of the suite and my anxiety, although less today, is still there. It is the same cocktail of three chemicals today and is the second of three that I will be injected with. The next series of three according to the nurse has different side effects..... I dare ask and she gives me a sidelong glance. She asks me if I work out and I indicate that I am active when I can and get to the gym when my energy is up. 'Even our most athletic women find that the muscle and bone aches are too much for them to deal with' she says as she packs up the syringe that she has finished injecting. I will do my best and deal with what comes, everyone is different, at least I convince myself half-heartedly. The upside is - I will be done my next treatment 3 weeks before Christmas. I have been assured that they will not schedule me on Christmas eve but sometime shortly after. Perhaps getting a pair of skis or exercise equipment can wait for now :).

A young woman appears and places her things in the lazy boy next to me.... I recognize the look on her face and ask if she is OK. She admits to being anxious as this is her first time and I assure her that the nursing staff is fantastic and that she will be OK. She doesn't get settled before the staff moves her to another spot. I am glad for the quiet as I open my book and quietly read to myself. I am done in an hour and get my things ready to go... funny how I never really started carrying a purse until the past year - after I got my reading glasses and couldn't squeeze them into my back pocket along with my wallet!! It now houses all my stuff, including a new wallet, books, water bottles and a collection of pens and notebooks. I do not write my thoughts down in those notebooks... they are just there to write important notes from appointments and to collect information.
Mary M. comes by wearing her oven mitts and a very hot freshly baked chicken with baguette and salad!! It was divine!!

Saturday - I was feeling pretty good and got myself ready at a leisurely pace when the phone rang. My friend Barry concerned about how I was doing. We were concerned about him and his recent operation of a hip replacement. I have never seen anyone go through so much yet stay positive and upbeat about getting better!! We chat for a few minutes asking about each other when he lets me know that his brother passed away in the early morning hours. How tragic to lose a close sibling and I try to keep my emotions at bay - I do not want to upset him but it is hard, I am going to a memorial in a half hour to commemorate a long time friend who passed on the 4th of November. We end the phone call with hugs and kisses and a promise to get together when I am up to it... he has also been on chemo and clearly understands the downside... no worries, when we can, we will.

Max accompanies me to the memorial. I catch a glimpse of Nancy's daughter climbing out of her truck wearing her military marine uniform. She is stunning and glows with the face of an expectant Mom. She is 4 months along and has left her other 2 at home stateside with her husband. It is hard knowing that her own mother will not get to meet this newest addition and of the little girl she leaves behind that stands with her older sister. I brought little Nicole a gift that Max carefully picked out and a little sleeping bag that I had sewn up for her barbie or stuffie to use. She had her 8th birthday a few weeks back and I used that as an excuse.... I wanted to do more. Her Mom was a good kindred friend to me for 20 years and I will miss her for the rest of my life. The parking lot began to fill quickly and out of the cars poured colleagues of Nancy and mine from the college. Smiles and hugs to my friends Sara and Elaine - it is always great seeing these two gals. There were current instructors and retirees who had been contacted and handshakes and hugs later, we moved off into the Legion to show our respects to the family. One of Nancy's sisters approached me and said that Nancy had spoken quite highly of me over the years - I can safely say that the admiration was mutual. I looked into her eyes and I could see Nancy - the same large blue eyes and I caught my emotions... barely. There was no service or speeches but a simple gathering of friends at the tables provided along with a meal. It was great touching base with John, Ken and his wife, Sara, Elaine and another gal from the college at our table. I miss these interactions, I miss my life!!!
I leave with Max and catch up with Christine - I need her address so that I can send the new baby a gift when it comes and know that I will not lose contact with Nancy's oldest daughter. I am praying that all works out for her little sister Nicole - she is very loved and surrounded by loving and doting family members. xoxoxo

Dinner came by way of Lynn - it was fabulous and the children greatly enjoyed the vegetables over chicken and rice. I ate way too much but enjoyed every morsel. At least this time I was able to come down and say Hi to Lynn!! Thank you so much!!

Sunday - what is there to say about the 48 hour mark...... yuk!! I am in bed most of the day... I am not feeling well and know that my brain is once again disconnecting from my body in a dreamy kind of state. Parts of me are numb but my stomach constantly reminds me to eat something or else!! I spend the day reading a Robert Ludlum book which keeps me occupied but I find that I have to re-read parts again and again.... not able to fully grasp and make neural connections today. I am now remembering why I should read my blog - more of a review actually - heartburn is one of the side effects of chemo - it's as if the liver, under attack decides that a good defense should warrant a strong offense. This amounts to an incredible amount of pain which wavers somewhere just under my ears and persists in hanging out through most of the late afternoon and into Monday morning - I have been up intermittently throughout the night attempting to combat this with something stronger than water and yogurt. Pepto in the pink bottle is located and after one tablet, I have secured the relief I need. The sun is just starting to come up and I will be heading up to bed. Today will be spent at home trying to regain some strength and feel a little normal. I am still happy I have my eyebrows.... for now!!

Thank you to Donna N. for the wonderful Nacho plate - apparently you make better Nachos than Palasad!! That is a huge compliment coming from the children!!

I wish to thank everyone for their lovely notes and messages and kind words of support. The supper club is fantastic .... too fantastic - now my children are questioning my culinary abilities!! Seriously, they are so excited to see what comes to the door and who is bringing it. I wish to send out my very best to Nancy's family and to let them know how gracious they were to their guests on Saturday. xoxo

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