joy of chemo 3.1.2: Taxol

oasis of care
so gentle and positive
sunshine lights my heart
♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦

It totally amazes me that I can get excited about going to chemo. You’d think that this would be something I would dread. Philosophically, I see it as a little battle in the big fight, so I’m sure that’s part of it. This week, too, was emotionally tough in many ways, one, in particular, having to do with finally getting into my thick skull (as Mom used to put it) that, for whatever reason, a friendship that was important to me has ended. Lately, I have been fighting with the emotional acceptance that I have breast cancer metastases, advanced cancer, whatever. I just don’t do that well. I truly hate that I have this f*&-g disease. I find myself repeating, I don’t want this. I really want to wake up and find out it’s a dream.

So, today with Marvin’s sensitivity and sense of humor and my chemo team’s smiles and encouragement, I felt felt a sense of healing and warmth. It was that feeling that it’s going to be all right. Absolutely silly, perhaps. But, riding the emotional roller coaster of this stupid cancer, sometimes you need to avoid the overload of complex information and frightening moments and wholeheartedly welcome a whitewashed, don’t worry, it will be all right. You recognize none of this is all right; it doesn’t matter.

It started, as always, in Chao’s lobby with greetings from Marcella. Then, up to the infusion center’s reception desk with Michelle and Gema and our volunteer Dolly. I got Room 1 right away as I had no blood tests today; Jessica came right away to take my vitals. Every person is courteous and friendly. It’s really enjoyable to see everyone and hear how they spent the holiday weekend.

Sherry and Claudia, chemo nurses, UCI Chao

Sherry and Claudia, chemo nurses, UCI Chao

Then, here comes my chemo nurse, Claudia, efficient and quick and always ebullient. She has been my nurse for the last few infusions, and every time I look forward to seeing her. Don’t laugh. She makes it fun. No kidding. It’s not just that I feel confident in her skill, it’s also that personally she is charming and caring. She makes me feel so comfortable, I’m immediately at ease and lie back to relax and sometimes even meditate.

For my infusion Claudia started me with the usual prep of saline, Zantac®, Decadron®, Zofran® and Benadryl®. Even though I was cleared for the Avastin® I did not get it today but will start next week. My schedule for Taxol® is every week for three weeks; for Avastin it’s the first and third of those same weeks. Then, I get a one-week break. So, today I got Taxol. Sherry did the verification with Claudia; I’ve known Sherry since the first time I came to the infusion center, where she’s the nurse supervisor. She always seems to exude a kind and calm strength.

IMG_0565Meanwhile, Marvin zipped over to the hospital cafeteria for our breakfast burritos. My veggie burrito today was full of cooked spinach and mushrooms, even more yummy than usual. Along with breakfast he brought a little white gift bag carrying a scarf with multicolored flowers on a white background. Fresh and pretty. Another favorite for my collection.

We were able to leave at a reasonable time and ended up running a few errands: book stores for computer books on work projects for both of us. I waited in the car since I was feeling out of it and wobbly from the cocktails. Then, we visited one of our favorite antique shops on Fourth Street and finished the day going to see a movie. It was wonderful to be outside on such a gorgeous day.

I’m sure I’ll sleep well as long as the bone pain and muscle spasms don’t wake me up.

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