Monday, December 20, 2010

My Chair

Monday mornings I head to what I call my chair. This chair isn't the most comfortable chair or the warmest for that matter but I still affectionately call it mine. From the first chemotherapy treatment that I received as an outpatient, I have sat in this chair (until today when someone else was already in it.)

I have learned a lot about myself and life in general because of this chair. You see, I willing go to this place, sit down with a smile on my face and let someone else put poison into my body in order to make me better. This seems so counter intuitive to me but I know in the end it is what I need to do.

My view isn't the greatest but it works for me. There is a large 60" flat screen TV that always has some sort of noise on. (First come first serve on the remote so you never know what you're going to get.) The other reason I like this chair is I can see the doorway. I can be nosey as to what doctors are walking by. You see when I was in the ICU, I probably saw every specialist in the hospital and I find it kind of cool to see them walk by in a different setting. Often times, they stop by to see me as well and see how I am doing. I have a special connection to all of these doctors and they all hold a special place in my heart for all of the hard work and compassion they put into my care.

I'm usually in my chair for about 3 1/2 hours each time. It doesn't take that long for the chemotherapy to be infused but there is a process. When I first arrive, the nurse cleans my port to prepare for chemo as well as draw some labs that are drawn each time. Once she draws the blood, I have to then wait for the results before they start with the chemotherapy. If certain levels are too low, they cannot give the chemotherapy and they are also looking at certain levels that might require a blood transfusion. This is common with chemotherapy. i have not had to deal with any of this yet. While I am waiting for the labs to come back, I usually see my hematologist/oncologist just to say hey and check in as far as treatment. Once done with that, I head back to the chemo lab so they can give me an IV bag of fluid as prehydration. By the time this bag is done, the labs are back and it is time for the chemo drug. I have been asked what it feels like and I can honestly say, it isn't as bad as I expected but it does compare to "flu in a bag" if I have to find a description. As it infuses, I start to feel a little nauseous and my joints get achy and I just feel blah but otherwise not too horrible. (It usually gets worse through the rest of the day and the next but I have drugs that help a lot.)

Once the chemo drug is in (which usually takes 45 minutes), they give me another bag of fluids but this one goes quick. As soon as this is done, it is a quick unhook from the IV pump and a "see you next time."

(I'm not a big fan of having pictures taken of myself these days as I see the side effects of the drugs but I also figure this is part of my life now so I should embrace it. The big round chipmunk cheeks and dark circles under my eyes are a result of high doses of steroids. You can't see the distended belly but it's there and that too is from the steroids. The yellow thing in the upper left hand corner is the needle that is placed into my port. Normally I see a pale purple lump just under my collar bone. As much as this makes life so much easier because I don't have to have needle sticks any more, it is a constant reminder of what I am now living with. I guess looking in the mirror now has just taken on a new meaning for me.)

I am not the only one that sits in this chair on these days. I have always had things with me from all of the special people in my life - drawings from the kids, earrings from my mom, a bracelet from my mother in law, a bag from my very first race I ran and of course Mike sitting in the chair next to me. My newest addition is my quilt from my very special 07B Bond Girls. These things make this process so much easier. To know I am surrounded by such love, compassion and support is sometime overwhelming but always reassuring when I am having doubts or moments of weakness.

For now, I will be happy with my chair and take the time that I sit in it as a blessing. To have the option of a treatment sure beats the alternative. So, I give you my chair...

1 comment:

Sally said...


This is a great post. Thank you for sharing what your days are like. I'm so proud of you for finding the little things that can make a chore seem like something not quite so icky.

Lately, I've been thinking....maybe you were given running as a gift last year in preparation for this challenge. It made your body strong, but it also prepared your mind to persevere when tasks were painful and you were ready to give up.

I hate that you're going through this, but I'm so very proud to see how you're doing it. I'm honored to call you my friend, never more so than now. Love you.