Back to School

Well, Friday came around and time for my next ‘chemo teach’ session. This is my fourth – it wasn’t my favorite, though I’m not sure I remember the other three. I felt pretty awful that morning, I had done my show from 7-9 a.m. and immediately upon leaving the studio I threw up (notice my body waited until the show was over, radio really is therapy for me). The night before I had thrown up six times, but that was after I took the morphine. It seems that the pains are not going away as I thought, they are not there all the time but enough that it is interrupting my life. The morphine didn’t seem to have any additional effect to the Endocet, but maybe in time I will change my mind about that. Anyway, back to the meeting with the nurse.

I felt like ****, was cold and hot, like a 300-year-old woman (or thing), and pain was coming over me in waves. A nurse gave me a blanket to cover me while I was cold, then the nurse practitioner came in. So, most of the stuff had already been covered. But we had to cover the side effects, which in this case was acne, they even had photos of someones acne to show as an example. It didn’t look too bad, it actually made me laugh looking at it, I thought of people in a plastic surgeons office getting their pictures of perky breasts and younger faces and the oncologists patients getting pictures of bald and acned people, well I thought it was funny.

However its the nausea I have trouble with, it scares me throwing up when I live alone, I am more afraid of dying choking on my own vomit than dying of cancer. It seems some of the nausea drugs make me sick, but medical personnel tell me ‘no way.’ Anyway I look at the photos of the acne and ask the nurse if I can’t have a shorter infusion rather than the four hour one they have set up. “Oh, that so that the Erbitux can go in, it has to be put in slowly (like the Avastin I had last time), and in time that will be quicker – if you don’t react adversely to it”. Well, in that case I will not react adversely to it. Also she said something about seeing me every week. (Note to self, follow up on this.)

OK so I lose the bid to get a short infusion. I’m trying to take control of my health and ask all the right questions so the next one I ask is – (and this is difficult because you are sort of confronting the authority figures) – well I saw Erbitux’s own website and they said it doesn’t extend life, so whats the point, what will it do? Nurse was nice about it and said something I don’t recall clearly and also that it makes tumors smaller which makes people more comfortable but they don’t know if it prolongs life (this I don’t understand, if the tumors are getting smaller why wouldn’t that extend life, theres stuff I don’t know here). So, shrinking tumors sounded good enough to shut me up, mine hurts me so much now I will go through chemo to stop it! I would have asked more questions if I was feeling like a human being, but I feel pretty proud I at least got those questions and comments out, have to make sure I feel in control of all my health care.

Real Help

So, the last time I saw my doctor I asked him about caretakers and whether he had to sign off on getting one, as I know with Medicare/Medical someone is going to have to sign off on something. He said no and that that was something I had to take care of myself. Sheesh, that worried me, so I asked again – the nurse this time. And lucky me that the nurse has a developmentally delayed child who had to use In Home Support Services so she gave me their info. By all accounts Medical will pay for it (and hopefully my Medicare will as its paid for by Medical) and I choose the person I want to be my caretaker and they will get reimbursed at minimum wage. Well, its hope, so I am pleased. I hope not to need anyone for long but I can’t ignore my situation and its becoming apparent that I need help. So, Monday I will call In Home Support Services and see if I can’t make things better for myself.

Different Routine

My nurse practitioner suggested that I deal with the pain by taking one of my Endocet pills every three or four hours (rather than as needed). This I have done today and it seems to be a good thing. I took the dogs (I have one visiting a cattle dog called Meka) to the beach and threw the frisbee for thirty minutes (well, I thought it was thirty Meka would tell you that it was only three minutes, she can’t get enough). After frisbee we walked home through Main Street.

We walked past Pat’s Restaurant which is my favorite diner. They give Simon a bag of milk bones when he walks by on our morning walks (if he can get eye contract with the waitress that is.) This day I walked the dogs on by and I could see Donna (who is Simons biggest fan,) was there but didn’t know if she had seen Simon (I don’t always want him to stop, he has a weight problem and shouldn’t be eating so much) so I walked on by, Simon was pulling enough to leave marks on his neck, he was adamant about getting back to Pats! But, I’m the boss and on I go – it takes about two minutes to get Simon to walk straight rather than turned backwards, facing Pats, standing firm waiting for his treats. About a block and a half later I see someone I know and stop to talk to them, when at the same time I hear “simon” shouted and around the block comes Donna! She had run all that distance to give my guy his bones. This is one of the reasons I love Guerneville so much, the community is so open and loving. This is the small town I always dreamed existed. I know now that places like this are rare and I appreciate it so much for that. Life and people would be healthier if there was more community spirit out there, this I know for sure.

Clap Clap I Ate Healthily

After that I had to go back to Pats for breakfast. But help, their menu is full of delicious but not very healthy items?? But things were on my side because as I sat down I saw that the people next to me had ordered a fruitcup. I knew they Pats had one on their menu but didn’t think it was the season, so I had a fruitcup too. And, just because I felt so good, I also ordered poached eggs on toast, which comes with some more fruit. Being in pain is a good motivator to change your behavior. Maybe I should write a book about that.

Point is that I felt well enough to eat all that. This is the second time I have eaten in five days and the previous time I threw up shortly after. This time it has been down for about three hours and I feel fine, and healthy. So, regular painkillers it is until my tumor behaves itself.

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