Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chemo almost KILL-MOed ME!

There comes a time in your life that you learn to deal with any situation given to you. My next step within my journey was chemotherapy. Much hype has been created regarding chemo. Amongst these are the pros and cons alongside the side effects. I make no regard to educate anyone on all this; we will merely agree chemo itself is an adventure.

I was told that I will have chemo once every ten days. Prior to my first round, I received numerous medications to assist me in any reactions to the chemo. Translation? Chemo is a powerful drug. As I arrived, my stomach was already in knots. I recalled stories I heard from other patients and was not prepared for the kill-mo drug.

I waited for my name to be called. The clinic was hot. I was hungry (for once) and I think I needed to use the restroom. I finally approached the back where I was all prepped up in timed increments. Nurse Ali assisted me this day and took out what appeared to a be a vial as thick as a toilet paper roll. She put on long gloves the reached her elbows.

My @FighterGAL tweet: They have "special gloves" to administer it. Nurse say's its toxic. Yet they are putting it inside my body. Niiiiiccccceeee #sarcasm

At this moment I am in a community room receiving chemo. You heard random clatter amongst patients and nurses and sporadic BEEPS that let you know when others are done. As I look around the room, I feel like walking around and asking, "So, what brings you in today?" Everyone looks sad, I wish a clown would walk in and cheer everyone up.

I sit. I tweet. I sit. I wait. I eavesdrop on the conversation next me. I sit. And then, oh my, and then - it HITS me. I can feel it going in my body.

My tweet: I've had two kids, kidney damage, and a major surgery yet NEVER experienced a feeling like this before.

I continue to sit and fight what I think I feel. I close my eyes in an attempt to distract myself. When I open them, I notice a man across the way throwing up. I convince myself that I don't feel like that, so I am alright. I didn't eat this morning, perhaps my stomach is just crappy. I feel light-headed. I feel nauseous. I feel dizzy. I feel like I can't breathe. I feel hot. I feel cold. I feel confused. But it's chemo, it isn't suppose to feel good, right?

Nurse Ali comes to check on me. She looks at my vitals with a perplexed face. She replaces the cuff twice. She touches me and I tell her that her hands feel like ice going through my skin. She looks at my eyes. She stares at me. She yells and I mean yells - "I need an epi."

I receive an epi-shot. It was at this moment, that me and the rest of the world learned I am allergic to cisplatin. They allowed me to relax and filled my IV with fluids. Fluids make you need to pee, and I mean a lot! I started making trips as though I had a child's bladder. Grandpa Dean sits near the restroom and has a good view of everyone coming and going.

Grandpa Dean: "Well you look new."
Me: "Why is that?"
Grandpa Dean: "Because you have hair and cause I ain't see you here back here before."
Me: I tug on my hair. Yep, still there. I reply "it's my first time...."
Grandpa Dean: "Well hang-in there sweetie...It only gets better from here.I've been fighting a long time." He looks at my IV hook that is following me. "what kind you got in there?"
Me: I smile. "I got the good stuff!"
Grandpa Dean: He laughs. "well Sharrreeeeee"

Grandpa Dean appears to be in his early 70s. He has a shirt that reads: This is my cancer fighting shirt. I look at his IV's. He has three and an iv-port. He physically looks tired and worn out. He is in good spirits and speaks with everyone. He is a fighter and I desire to be like him. I go to the restroom and return back to my death row and sit. Nurse Ali returns to inform me that we are moving forward with a different combination that has a lower chance of an allergic reactions. I'm not ready, but then again, I wasn't ready to have cancer either. Doc comes by and checks on me.

Doc: "How are you feeling, Nicole?"
Me: "You tried to kill me, how should I be feeling?"
Doc: "I'm just giving you a flash into the future - everything is fine now."
Me: Rolls eyes. "May I please hit 30 first..."

Doc precedes to tell me a story about death and living.

Me: "Are you speaking from experience or hearsay?"
Doc: "How can I speak from experience?"
Me: "How can you speak from hearsay, wouldn't she be dead?"
Doc: "Your something else."

Nurse Ali returns to check on me often. "Still breathing," I say. She laughs.

Nurse Ali: "May I get you anything?"
Me: "If this is how it's gonna be, I want some sweet tea."

Nurse Ali laughs and she never brings me any tea. What horrible service! After a few hours and changing of Chemo drugs, I BEEP. It is done. I look around the room and notice a group of fighters. Everyone here is a fighter. There are two different people in this world, those whom live life and those whom are fighting for their lives. The compromise is becoming the fighter who lives life.

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