Clean Closet and Cancer Hurts!

First, forgive me since I am slightly drugged and feeling like I am 90. I am walking downstairs, then think why did I come down here or standing at the sink brushing my teeth wondering where my toothbrush is? So, even though I may sound a little foggy, this time was way better than last time. Big kudos to the cleaning crew at the closet! Toilet paper, soap, and so clean everywhere, plus they spaced the patients out. I realized that some were in examining rooms, so no need for me selling my chair to the highest bidder. Of course, there are still broken chairs and broken IV machines, but every little improvement is nice to see. I also learned something while I was watching a new patient. She demanded the one room with the bed. That room seems like it has no oxygen, but could have come in handy for earlier treatments. Who would think to be so demanding? I thought asking for toilet paper was a bit much. After my email to my doctor saying I did not want the same nurse as last time who pumped my drugs so fast that I could not see or go to the toilet by myself, I got one of the nurses who had suggested the slow drip in the first place. Thank goodness! She is not the most personable, but who cares about personality when I need someone with skills and she has that down! Of course, my blood tests and urine tests tell the same story, platelets messed up, white count too low (watch out for germs-oh yes, that will be easy at this time of year, I will stay locked up in my room), urine has signs of protein which is not that great, but it is still a “GO” for treatment. I think if you have a pulse they want you to continue. Unfortunately, before my entrance to the closet, I had to order some food and quickly eat it when someone was tapping me on the shoulder. Who do I know here? (except for my cousin Margie who does not tap) This was a familiar closet mate who I apparently made friends with during my very very drugged day when I was talking to anyone and texting everyone. She is the type I call, the cancer in your face type. “Bald and proud, look at me I have cancer, look at me I am such a lovely shade of grey, and non stop talking about herself without taking a breath, and let’s talk about anything disgusting, so you should not be able to eat anything” type……well, she decided to show me her new port which was infected  just at the time that I was taking a bite of egg. Needless to say, I had to shovel the rest of my breakfast without tasting, breathing, or looking. Of course, only chair open in the closet was next to hers, but I was happy to have a good nurse and loved seeing the cleanliness of the place. I just tried to ignore her, but it wasn’t easy. There is still not an adequate amount of oxygen. I think Jim is allergic to the place as he has a sneeze attack every time he is in there. I just look like a crazy person smelling my scented candle every so often. Finally, my neighbor got a call on her phone which is highly illegal, but she breaks the rules often in the closet because she is “grey”, has “cancer” and a surgeon messed up on her surgery.

My doctor stopped by to chat (I did notice that he did not chat with any of his other patients) and we talked about my aches and pains. With one of the drugs, a side effect is that your intestines blow up (not really, but there are issues), so I had been having my aches and pains ready for Jim to drive me to the hospital for fear of intestine blow up. Of course, this turned out to be nothing that gasx couldn’t cure. Oops! My doctor informed me that cancer does not usually hurt and explained symptoms of intestinal blow up or blow out? I was fine with his explanation, but realized that cancer does hurt. While I watched another newbie enter the closet with her husband looking like he was going to vomit, he smiled at me and asked me if I was finishing my treatment because I looked great. I did not have the heart to tell him that I am only half way done. I told him that I was feeling really good and I know it is difficult, but it gets easier. Of course, the newbie could not be more than 35. The other nurses came to say hello to me and thanked me for the fruit basket (I brought fruit this time because they always complain about all the junk food they get). They also told me about the increase in the number of new patients and how busy and crowded it is and how I should know that new patients require a lot more attention. I do know, but I did not like seeing the newbies. I really did not like seeing one woman with her husband and friend who were coming here for another opinion and treatment. I listened to the doctor who told me “you are going to lose your hair you know”. He is just like that, but really cannot be any other way. Who could deal with this day after day? Seeing all these very young women having all this cancer. I listened as he made a call to this newbie’s old doctor. He said, “it is not that she doesn’t like you. She is looking for alternative treatment.” Then, he said to the nurse while shaking her head about the giant tumor this patient had with 18 lymph nodes involvement. It did not sound good. So, I would say that cancer keeps hurting. I don’t know if it is my treatment or just the visit to the closet which impacts me so much. It is really in your face. I still smile and laugh especially when Margie does some great SNL impressions, but there so many women here and they are not old. It really bothers me, but I usually can put it into perspective until my next appointment when it is in my face again.

Another nurse came to tell me that they will be moving in 2 months. I told her great news and told her that is my birthday month, so it would be a great gift to be in a nice new closet. She told me that there will be little walls in between each patient. I am not going to judge, but could only think of the boy in the bubble. Will the walls be glass with holes for breathing? Could there be such a disconnect with the clinic and the designers of the room? Then again, the doctors are busy trying to cure, heal, and help the patients and barely have time to do much more.

Some of you have been wondering about my ole’ gynecologist letter. I did tell her that she should listen more, give vaginal ultrasounds and ca125 blood tests for high risk patients, and refer people with dense breast tissue or history of breast cancer to the Pacific Breast center (which she already does refer patients to, but chose not to refer me). I asked her to keep up with gynecological cancers and really take the time to listen, not just hear her patients. So, guess what? I came home to a message from her. Jim said it was a weird message. She did a lot of “um, heh, um”, but said she received my letter and thanked me for taking the time to write it and wishes me the best. That was it. She really cannot say more, then she would be admitting that she could have made a mistake. I really did not expect much more. In fact, I expected much less. I think she will try to listen more and it could possibly have helped one patient.

So, I will be off to bed until school is out. Then, I will get some strength to be super mom to Alex. Well, almost super mom.



4 Responses to “Clean Closet and Cancer Hurts!”

  1. Kelli Says:

    You are the most amazing woman! I feel so lucky to have been at Canyon Vista, where we could share our stories. I miss that! And your way of saying things like they are!!! You are a great lady and so generous to share with so many people in this way.
    I usually laugh through most of your posts, even the sad ones, because of the way you say things and hearing your voice.
    This post really got me….the tears are flowing, but it’s important to remember that cancer DOES hurt….
    Thank you, Joanie for being you and being so brave!!!

    • joantri Says:

      Thanks to you and thanks for your comments! Today is World Cancer Day…who knew? One out three people in the US will be diagnosed with cancer. I am hoping for a cure NOW! No one especially children should have to face this challenge.

      Feel free to forward my blog to anyone who needs a good laugh, cry, or anyone who feels alone in this “fight”.

  2. Nancy Says:

    Hi Joanie. I, too. look forward to reading your posts, and think that you have a real gift for writing. I share your stories with my best friend whose brother is battling cancer of the stomach and esophogus. His chemo experiences are similar to yours. Sadly his cancer has spread to his lymph nodes in his neck and it doesn’t look good. But like you, he has a supportive wife and beautiful young children so he is fighting the battle. I miss you, my friend, and wish I could give you a hug. Know that I pray for you every single night. Sending you lots of love and good wishes!

  3. joantri Says:

    Thanks Nancy! I appreciate it! Tell your best friend to never lose hope. There are always new developments daily!

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