Chemo Reality

Big reality check.  I went for my lupus chemo treatment yesterday.  I take them every four to six months, and each treatment set consists of two treatments, two weeks apart.  This was the first tiime I’d been with a group that was expressing the difficulties of their situation.  Previously, I’ve been surrounded by people who were either cheery or not talking.  Yesterday, I heard sadness, bitterness, anger, frustration, resignation…a pastor who was there for treatment was writing a sermon, which he titled based on some of the sad things people were expressing.  He talked briefly about hope and prayer, sitting there with his own IV, probably not ten years older than me.  One patient who passed through told another that he wasn’t returning to work, that his doctor had given him six months.  Someone said “When someone finds out I have cancer, the first thing they ask is ‘When are you going to die?’.”  A nurse passed through, commenting on the vigorous conversation in our group, and a neighbor said “Yes, look how we’re all smiling as these chemicals kill every cell in our bodies.” 


Now I’m not saying that everything was gloomy.  It was just a realistic, vocal bunch of people who are pissed off at what disease is doing to them.  After 16 years of lupus, you know I sympathize!  We still commented on each other’s activities (one with a computer, another selecting Christmas gifts from an NFL catalog, two of us with knitting, the pastor consulting his handbook and scribbling notes) and shared our water, candy, knits, and even a few phone numbers.  My nurse was older and experienced, the best ever, popping my IV into my requested vein and checking on me regularly, with interesting conversation.  The coffee was freshly made.


Inside I had some tears for the fresh pain some were exhibiting.  I had some more tears when I found that my medication grant (my treatment isn’t covered by Medicare) wasn’t going to cover these December treatments.  That $2,000 translates directly into more college loans for my daughter next semester.  I am more than fortunate to have some resources to draw from in these crazy economitis days.  I try not to let the economitis eclipse my decisions about treatment. 


This morning I called my parents early.  They told me they were still getting dressed, but they stopped to talk.  We had some big laughs over some of my mom’s boudoir lessons in my childhood.  They were happy and cheerful and expressed great anticipation for their day, relishing the pancakes for breakfast, morning newspaper, soap opera time together…at 89 and 90, they enjoy everything.  What a boost for me!


I’ve got LOTS to do today.  I can’t let chemo fatigue oveertake me.  I’m delivering two donated knitted pieces for a church silent auction.  The proceeds will go to a recreation/education center in a depressed neighborhood.  Then I’ll make a huge post office run, sending back some mail order items that won’t work, and posting a couple of packages to customers.  Yikes!  I had forgotten.  I got another order last night.  I have to find the product and pack it.  What am I doing playing on my computer?!



One Response

  1. I’m so glad that you had some realistic, conversational people around you this go around. Congratulations on another order – You’re staying awfully busy, girl!

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