The pump quietly whirs. The sound of it reminds me of childhood times. I used to lay on the floor next to the washing machine. The rhythm of the avocado green appliance would stay in my head for days.
It’s not the washing machine, the sound comes from the chemo pump standing over my light green lazy boy. The chair is comfortable, though not as cozy as my chair at home. The tubing ends at a butterfly needle inserted into my port. There is a blue napkin- like thing over my shirt. It reminds me of the dentist office.
Nurses shuttle around between patients. As usual, I am the youngest patient in the infusion room. The guy next to me is having an allergic reaction to his chemo. I recognize the name of the drug; it is used to treat lymphoma.
This is my 19th infusion of chemo. The first in 15 months. Through surgery, I have been able to avoid chemo. It’s our last weapon against the cancer that is intent on invading my organs and taking my life.
Adrienne holds my hand and weeps silently. I don’t have any tears today. If I did, they would be for her. She tells me that I am brave. Maybe. Yes, maybe I am.
It is an interesting proposition; fighting a battle that can never be won. I have come to terms with the idea that I will die. But like I said in my last post, I will fight for time as long as I am able.
When I started this blog just over a year ago, I didn’t think of it as a cancer blog. I knew I would write about cancer, but also about records, kids, parenting, and my gender transition. In the beginning, I did have time to write about those things that I love. But since December, cancer has ruled our world. Every decision has to be weighed against my health, how I am feeling, and where I’m at in treatment.
I’ve finished the pre-meds, (medication to help with side effects) and have moved on to the chemo. The one I am getting now has a funny name that the nurse called, “A Sesame Street” word. Sounds like, “Afliperset.” I’m flushed. The medicine feels warm as it makes its way into my blood stream. This one causes low white blood cell count. I have to come back tomorrow for a shot to help boost my immune system.
The next drug is called Ireotecan. It, of course, causes diarrhea. Most fun with a colostomy. But there are drugs for that as well. And my new pothead status will help me eat and keep the overwhelming anxiety from invading my conscious space.
The guy on the other side of me is getting 5fu. All of my previous chemo treatments included 5fu. My doctor decided to spare me from it this time around. Last time it leaked out into my hands and caused chemical burns. And I wore it in a fancy fanny pack for 48 hours every two weeks. Not fun. I feel for him.
I don’t have anything profound today. My brain feels passé. Nothing big, just doing what needs to be done.