Let the Chemo Commence! And a free iPod!

The Chemo Ward

Today I relearned two things: I hate needles and I love my in-laws. I don’t want to go to much into the needle thing because I’m trying to stay positive about my upcoming needle/IV infested life. But I will say this: it took the nurses three tries to get an IV in me this morning and I passed out during the first attempt. You can imagine my dismay when I came to and realized that there was no IV in me.

My in-laws, Georgia and Hartmut, continue to be a bottomless well of love and support — and frankly, I don’t know what Dawn and I would do without them these days. Hartmut drove into Madison (they live in the country about an hour outside of the city) to sit with me and make sure I got home safely this afternoon. Then, he continued to hang out with me until Dawn made it home from teaching. We have great chats about all sorts of things, and I always enjoy his company enormously.

So, the day started quite early today, with Dawn and I crawling out of our warm bed at about 6am so that we could make it to the “collection room” one last time. I was seriously in doubt about my ability to perform in that room one last time at such an early hour. You’ll all be pleased to know that things worked out okay, and I’ll probably never have to visit that room again!

We then headed to the Oncology clinic where I will be receiving my chemotherapy, and waited. And waited. And waited. The doctor waits on days like these can be very frustrating, because we were all anticipating the results of both the MRI and PET scans. Fortunately, neither test turned up anything new — no metastatic activity in the brain, and no new tumors indicated by the PET scan — so, we appear to know what we’re up against: the tumors in the lung.

That was good news to get from the doctor, but I was anxious to get to the chemo. Which is to say, I was anxious to get it over with. But, of course, there was more waiting in the cards for us. And waiting.

Once we made it into what I’ll call the Chemo Ward (pictures later in the week — perhaps tomorrow), I was relieved to find it nothing like the giant open room in which my father had to undergo dialysis treatments in the final years of his life. I was dreading that, because my dad had to sit in rows of people and machines, each distinguishable only if you knew and loved one of the people sitting in the chairs.

The Chemo Ward here is laid out so that most people can sit in some privacy and with nice views from its fourth floor perch. They also have several private rooms, which I was pleased to be in on my first day — especially considering the hullabaloo that was my IV placement.

I was, of course, inundated with information about chemotherapy, the drugs, the complimentary drugs, and a host of other related information. All of it came from a very nice, and obviously skilled RN named Nettie. I was also helped quite a bit by another RN named Cindi. These women are amazing, and I have to say that I feel fortunate to have them around. I think we should all be grateful that people like this, willing to walk into the Chemo Ward everyday and give comfort to folks far worse off than I, exist in our communities. What would we do without them?

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In other news….

In the mail today a gift arrived. It was an 8GB iPod Nano. Where did it come from? I don’t know. If someone out there sent me a get well gift, I’d love to be able to thank you profusely for your generosity, so please, please, please, FESS UP! (Did I say thank you already?)

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I’ll write more about the Chemo Ward and the treatments and life tomorrow. I’m quite tired now and should shove off to bed. Thanks again for reading…

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4 Responses to “Let the Chemo Commence! And a free iPod!”

  1. hey mon frere,

    i can safely say that the ipod was not from me, but i’m really glad that someone was kind enough to supply you with it. i hope they let you listen to it (watch it? i don’t even know what kind of crazy capabilities these technologies have these days) while you are being treated. i’m really glad you got through your first day (relatively) unscathed. keep us posted!

    with love

  2. okay, well thanks for confirming that it wasn’t you…I think I found out this morning in a rather cryptic email that it was some of my buddies in good ol’ Austin. Thanks for the message & i’d like to chat on the phone soon too. p.s. i love your bogus email address!

  3. Thank God for the good news on the latest test results. Probably St. Peregrine already at work. xxoo

  4. yes that was a relief. a huge relief! And yes St. Peregrine is in my pocket now–he arrived yesterday. I tried to email you, but the internet connection in the chemo ward won’t let me send email out…oh well.
    love –m

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