It’s been a long two weeks in Cancer World. I have been the sickest I have ever been after my second chemo in a row. It began almost immediately–the crushing fatigue and nausea. I foolishly tried to muster through work, taking a nap when I had to, but really not functioning. Feeble, bald and anemic are the words that come to mind. In retrospect I won’t try that again. Better to stay in bed and sleep my way through it–and when I say sleep, I mean hours and hours of sleep and a boat-full of medication. After 7 long days of that you can imagine how excited I was when the tide started to change and I began to feel better on my 2 week break. I was so looking forward to Easter weekend and being more like my old self.
It started well with a wonderful lunch on Saturday with my visiting nephew and his wife and various family members on both of their sides. So happy to see them and the new babies that have arrived. I gotta say, The Cheesecake Factory is not for the faint of appetite—-the portions are gargantuan and the desserts I can’t even talk about they were so big. Europeans must go there and wonder what is wrong with us. After we said our goodbyes we headed to the most expensive candy store in the world and made a small down payment before proceeding to Nordstrom’s with the large bag of candy in hand. Tim Blanket decided to sit and wait by the escalators while I wandered around. I tried on a few dresses but it was so crushing to my self-esteem (bald, ashen gray, bony, scarred) I decided I needed to escape before I was too damaged to come back from the abyss. I found Tim and headed out when he suddenly said “where’s the bag?” We hurried back to where he had been sitting–no bag! On a whim I said let’s ask the girl at the counter and sure enough–some nice person had turned the bag in! At this point the big fatigue was arriving and my catheter port started to inexplicably hurt–time to go home.
The cath port was red and swollen and beginning to ooze. I face timed Nurse Kelsey who took one look and said “you have to call your doctor immediately”. What!? This is my big Saturday night–the one day a month when I feel okay. Reluctantly I sent Dr. Rachel a picture and immediately she said I had to go to the ER at Brigham and Women’s. What!? I begged not to go, promising to go in the morning but she wasn’t having any of it, nor was Tim. Kelsey and her friend Katie, who is an ER nurse at Brigham, met us there. Kelsey had a bag of clothes for me. What? She announced I would probably be admitted for IV antibiotics over night. Why doesn’t anyone tell me the whole story instead of doling it out in pieces? Fortunately the ER was kinda empty. Apparently Easter isn’t a big drinking holiday or maybe everyone stays home and waits for Jesus to rise up and cure them. Kelsey, Tim and I sat on a gurney in the middle of the ER watching the action although I had to wear a mask. Finally we got a private room and the poking and prodding began. Not one, but two IVs later my blood and wound were cultured and sent off and the nice ER doc consulted with Dr. Rachel. Since I did not have a fever and looked perky, they agreed I could go home on oral antibiotics and wait until Tuesday when I see Dr. Rachel. She would have the lab results back and could decide if they could save the catheter or not. So I got my pass jail and go free card in time to get home before midnight and crash for 11 hours. As we walked out of the ER I made a crack about the silliness of it all. Tim’s response: “I can just see the Facebook post now—“good news, Barb’s not going to die of cancer after all, bad news–she died tonight of a blood infection.” I guess I am stubborn.
Happy Day After Easter to all–sometimes I’m going to be late on these things.
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