And so the journey begins – 23 April 2013
The above photo was taken four days ago – it seems like forever!
It is hard to explain how you feel when you walk into the Cancer Centre as a Cancer Patient. I still don’t really associate that word with myself. I still don’t really believe that I have CANCER. Despite the endless tests, operations and pain, I keep feeling as if I am in a movie!
I was lead into my ‘CHAIR’ for my first dose chemo by my cheery nurse Nikki, who had had an overdose of coffee and was animated and shaky! Prior to that sitting outside we had met with my sister-in-law’s mother Joanne, and father Bubba Townsend who is also undergoing chemo. He has lost a lot of weight and said he had not been too well. I also exchanged smiles with two other Katherine people booking in for their regular chemo!
The nurse talked me through the process, all the while hooking in the blue and white cannula tubes to deliver the nuclear medicine into my body. It hurt just a bit. See explained that they would first, take some blood as requested for a Tuberculosis Test, inject saline to clean the vein and then deliver the anti nausea drug, followed by and hour each for Docetaxal and Cyclophosphamide. She had to cover up in mask and apron, gloves when handling the products.
I think there area bout 10 -or 12 chairs in the Chemo room and all were full with people in various stages of delivery of their chemo. Everyone chattering and happy, and all so surreal.
Typical me I try to make light of everything and keep telling myself I am one of the lucky ones – I don’t know what the prognosis is for all those other people in that room but I keep telling myself – It is only FOUR DOSES and that all my tests are clear.
It has been a stressful time but Shaun continues to be loving and supporting, making me cups of coffee, (when I asked for tea) carrying bags, opening doors and making sure I am comfortable.
I have play with the remote control to get my big blue chair in a comfortable position. Pressing different buttons makes the legs go up and down, the back up and down etc and listen to the nurses talking to the other patients. I hear a nutritionist gently reprimanding a very scruffy thin man about his diet, telling him that he must try to drink his Sustagen. He says, ‘It makes feel sick.’ I hear another man talking to a Counsellor about his fears about paying the bills for his wife and children. He is very stressed and distraught and eventually a Doctor comes in and leads him out – still hooked up to the drugs on the metal trolley tree with wheels.
Shaun has left to do a few jobs. I bide my time – trying to rest under the ultra bright lights – but cant really relax so I decide that I will find something on YouTube to watch and lighten the load.
I remembered that Megan has told me one of the funniest shows she has ever seen is ‘Mrs Browns Boys’ = so I find a skit to watch. HOLY HELL- I FECKING LAUGHED AND LAUGHED AND LAUGHED OUT LOUD! Not sure it was the most appropriate place but it helped release some tension. Not even sure it was that funny – but it hit the right spot and all the nurses were asking what was so funny!
After three hours in the chair I was unhooked and waltzed off out the door – to return the next day for a White Blood Cell Booster Shot.
I felt fine that night and the following day. Walked back into the Cancer Centre like an old hand – had the booster shot and left. Dropped into the Cancer Council NT to discuss the lack of support and services for Cancer Patients in the Katherine. That is another long story that I will pursue!