could’a, should’a, would’a

I know a lot of people think I have positivity oozing through my veins – probably because I’ve told you I do. Today was a day I found hard to remain positive. The nasty soul-crushing thoughts worked their way from the back of my mind to the front. Why? Today should have been my last round of chemo. I am nearing three months of chemo; a timeframe I had accepted and was prepared for. The front of my mind has accepted the extra six weeks. The back of my mind spent all day invading the front, saying “should’a, could’a, would’a.” I think it’s normal, no need to send over a straightjacket.

Today’s appointment wasn’t until 10:00 am. The late start was perfect as I hadn’t finished packing – tomorrow we leave for eight nights on the Gold Coast! Whoop! I also had Uni work to finish (of course I decided to do online study during chemo, standard). It was a quietish morning at the oncology ward, after only a 20-minute wait, I was called to see Dr Oliveira. Nothing to report from me: I had a fairly easy last round with minimal side effects. Nothing to report from Dr O: I was fit to have chemo.

There is one thing I really don’t like about chemo day: weighing myself. With mother standing over my shoulder I watched the number creep up, and up, and up…  “The scales must be wrong,” I said to mother. I’ve put on 3 KG! I went back to the waiting room thinking of all the treats I’ve had over the past few weeks, trying to work out HOW I put on 3 kg’s… “I didn’t take my shoes off before stepping on the scales, that must be it!” Problem solved. Relax.

They were finally ready for me and I was called through to the ward. As I walked in, I saw the nurse setting up at chair seven. Really, SEVEN!! She quickly remembered (after I reminded her) that I am not allowed in chair seven. Eight was free, phew. As she was preparing my chart she asked my weight. “68,” I said reluctantly, informing her it was with shoes on. She laughed and pretended to write “with shoes on” on the chart. It’s the small things… Next step: cannula. I was unlucky and the cannula didn’t go in with the first attempt. It was the same vein that was also a failed attempt last round. We have decided to never attempt that vein, again. Good decision.

The pre-meds were delivered, and I have come to the conclusion that this is the part I hate most – feeling the drugs travelling through my body and the rush of the steroids. People pay big money for that kind of rush, I think… It’s a strange feeling (I should try harder to describe this, considering I’m doing a creative writing course!). After the pre-meds had settled into the system the nurse sat next to me and started administering the chemo drugs. The photo below is the Epirubicin – one of the three drugs I receive. I find it quite fascinating and sit there, eyes fixated on the colourful liquid entering my bloodstream. Time passes quickly as I jibber away, talking the nurses ear off. The last bag was attached and it looked like we would be out in record time.

The final piece of the puzzle was completed after I received my Zoladex injection – another four week holiday for the ovaries. After a round of “Merry Christmas” wishes in the ward, we departed. And we did in fact make it out in record time: four hours!

Back home at Casa Macrae and I’m prepared with a stash of anti-nausea drugs. I have a few new concoctions I can start taking today, if I start feeling a bit icky. My motto is: Why wait! Take them all now.

Normally, 24 hours after chemo is completed, I go back to the hospital for my Neulasta injection (WBC booster). I have decided this week to give the nurses a break and self-administer (read: more time on the Gold Coast). Just when I thought my days of jabbing my stomach were over…

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