Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Doing Quarters in the Chemo Cocktail Lounge

Yesterday was my final appearance at the chemo cocktail lounge for 2010! How weird is that to say after the past two years. But Ya freaking Hoo!

These days I'm just a quarterly maintenance person. My chemo sistah Shelly had her very first maintenance check-up too, so we naturally we scheduled our appointments on the same day so we could haunt the chemo lounge the day after Halloween.

Our chemo sistah, Julie or "Cruise" was going to be having trick or treatment, so we were excited to hang out with her. We call her cruise, because we often have had treatment at the same time as her, but then she goes on all these cruises that messes with "the schedule" and we have to wait for another cruise or something to bump her back on schedule with us. Anyway. I've written about Cruise before asking you to pray for her when you pray for me, since we have the same name and I figured it would be no sweat. Her breast cancer has metastasized to her bones and liver but she just blazes a LIVESTRONG path that inspires me. She is leaving for a cruise tomorrow and it didn't surprise me when she said her itinerary was chasing a hurricane. Watch out, hurricane, is all I can say.

We inducted a new friend into our little club. "Etch a Sketch" has super long and beautiful hair that she had just had a lovely photo shoot of before it goes into hibernation during the winter of her chemo. Her positive energy positively lit up the lounge. It was so great getting to meet her. She is probably not having the best day today, as she was doing her second round of Adriamycin and Cytoxin. (Sorry if those are spelled wrong but I dislike them so much I don't feel like doing a spell check on them). Anyway, I hope you'll say a prayer for or send some good vibes to Etch a Sketch.

We got to the chemo cocktail lounge at 11:30, in time for Cruise's trick or treatment. Shelly's appointment was at 1. Her counts were good! Yay God! She got her end of chemo scans scheduled for later this week, so let's all pray for the happy all clear! She also has to have a MRI on her leg because it's been super sore. So we're not worrying about it, but praying that it will stop being so sore and trying to rain on our parade and stuff.

After Cruise got her trick or treatment and went home to pack for her cruise, Shelly walked me down to the labs because I am at the bottom of the totem pole of appointments now;) While we were standing there waiting for me to get called back, we met an amazing survivor, very appropriately named Joy. She heard us mention Herceptin and we got into a delightful conversation with her, where we found out that she was on one of the Herceptin trials, which made this miracle treatment available to both Shelly and me! How cool was that?! I remember seeing the Herceptin movie, Living Proof, and just being amazed at the women who took it as a trial drug way before it became the drug that saved my life. I think it was the first time I really cried after I got cancer. I was so overcome by the amazing women who went before me. I was just as overcome yesterday, getting to meet one of those women. I actually got to say thanks. Wow.

Then I got called into the lab to get my blood drawn. First I step on the scale. The day after Halloween and minutes after eating not quite a quarter of Cruise's birthday cake. I made a comment about packing on the pounds since my last visit and my nurse said, "Yep." Or something like that. My temp, heart rate and bp were a happy menaje trois. And when she drew my blood I said I had done my part to make her job easy at the Hallow-wine party I went to at my next-door-neighbors after the trick or treaters went home to count candy.

My counts were all good. I have to wait to hear on the tumor marker and my vitamin D count. But there is no reason to think those will be anything but good.

I have to wear this sexy paper shirt now, when I go in for my check-up, so I had to change out of my Beatles tee shirt. But I was glad that I had chosen my white TOMS to wear with it that morning, because they so went with the white paper shirt.

One thing I noticed during my the wardrobe change was that I guess I was nervous because I had pitted out my tee-shirt. I couldn't remember the last time I'd had body odor but I'm not kidding, I almost knocked myself out. Here's the tricky part. Since I had lymph nodes removed I have this thing about putting on antiperspirant because it feels like my underarms have enough issues and antiperspirant seems like it would just constipate things. I don't know if everybody who has had breast cancer thinks about these things but I do.

Anyway, my exam went fine. I had Dr. Lower check a tiny pea that has developed in my armpit and she said it is nothing, and nothing to worry about. I didn't feel like worrying about it anyway, because it would only make me sweat more, so I'm not. I only mentioned it to her because it's stupid not to say stuff about things you could potentially worry about when, if you just said it you could put it out of your mind. That's my PSA for the day.

On my way out of the office I ran into Leona, who I hadn't seen since my bookreading bash. Shelly and I met her during her last chemo, and right before her surgery. They found a little lymph node involvement, so she is currently half-way through her radiation treatments. And doing fabulous! It was so awesome catching up with her and seeing her head sprouting the salt and pepper. It reminded me of when my head was fuzzy and my Redheads couldn't walk by me without petting my head because it was so soft. I didn't really have many favorite things about chemo, but that was one.

I hope you'll also remember Leona when you remember me, and Shelly, and Cruise, and Etch a Sketch.

And until next quarter, that's a wrap from the chemo cocktail lounge, and thank God my cancer is old news. Here's to hoping it stays that way.



Anonymous said...

I am so glad you got good reports on your checkup, that is great news. Cheryl printed it off for me and gave it to me at Acapulco Joe's. Love you!!! I will keep your
chemo buddies in my prayers, too. Hope everyone continues to go well.
Love, Your Mom

Tami Boehmer said...

Good news and congrats on being done for a year. You're smart to ask about your armpit. I've learned to always ask, and I don't care if they think I'm being paranoid. Love your sense of humor. We should meet sometime.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for adding me into your wonderful blog!! I feel so honored. Here's to many more years of good blood counts and picture-perfect health for you!!

Love Etch-a-Sketch, aka Anne

Anonymous said...

Hey, Julie, did your get the results of your marker and Vit D?
Prayers going up for you and Shelly, Cruise, Etch a Sketch and Leona.
Becky E