After writing about the things I dislike in my July 25th blog post, I decided I would write about the things that somewhat mildly amuse or entertain me. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing good about cancer. As my friend Heidi Toth has put it before, “It’s not as if there are people who are pro-cancer and anti-cancer out there.” We’d all like to see the end to this disease. I of course have my “Cancer Sucks” pin, which a nurse at the ER in Provo gave to me. I have not gone around wearing it yet, but I think it sums up what the world thinks of this epidemic.
Here are the things I have come up with that have been interesting, amusing, or entertaining. Maybe I’m just weird!
* Getting my blood drawn in the complete dark. To see if the chemo has exited my body enough to be released from the hospital, for one particular blood test, they take a blood sample and it must be very dark when they do it. The last phlebotomists went to great lengths in doing this; pulling the blinds, shielding any extra light with one of my pillows, and finally it gets drawn directly into a dark bag and stays there until getting to the lab.
* Some of the things I’ve said or done. Ok. I guess I’ve had a few hallucinations. The nurse bringing me the kitty cat (bag of sodium bicarbonate), and the spiders in my hat crawling all around. Then there was the time I awoke to the arrival of my friend Leslie who I gave my regrets to about the boyfriend “from the east” who apparently I thought had just broken up with her, and that I hoped she was going to be okay. I was dead serious as I patted her arm, and very sympathetic toward her. It took me several minutes to realize where I was, who I was talking to, and that she did not have a boyfriend, nor one “from the east.” There are more stories, but I may incriminate myself…
* Doctors, Nurses, and staff mildly amuse me all the time! I have met some great people! Jenn, at IMC in Murray made me a couple of hats. They are awesome. She is awesome. My surgeon, Dr Scott said he rides his bike to work in the morning wearing an orange jacket and thinks he oftentimes gets confused for a UDOT employee. The kitchen and housekeeping help at IMC; we’ve become friends. The CNA’s and RN’s are all really fantastic. I have liked them all. I think I am a familiar face around there now.
* Stonehenge. It was awful in the beginning. I went from the hospital straight to a skilled nursing facility and I was not happy to be moving in my fragile state. But it ended up being the best place I could have spent recovering for 30 days. It is a very nice facility. Everyone was family there. My physical trainers and OTC were great, kitchen, housekeeping, administrative, and ALL of the nurses were fantastic. When I left, it felt as if I was leaving home, leaving family. They really do care. One of the mildly amusing days at Stonehenge in my memory was when I got help in shaving the rest of my hair off. One of the nurses, Elizabeth, was there and Amy Petty who works as a beautician there. This was an emergency that several of the nurses and staff took seriously. They made things fun, we took pictures, tried on scarves, and they made sure it was a positive day I would not forget. Mostly I will not ever forget the kindness and love shown toward me. Hair grows back, that is a temporary loss. But memories last a lifetime.
* The new “equipment” in my body. That may not sound amusing or even funny at all. But to me it is just so very interesting to think about it. Now when I see my x-rays, I know exactly what is inside of me and how ultra cool it is that we’ve come so far in technology and medicine to be able to slice a person open and make something bad…good once again. I can’t wait to go through the airport scanners.
* Having my leg drilled into for a biopsy of my bone. The biopsy traveled through Utah as well as Massachusetts because an official cancer title could not be determined. It was thought to have been a fibrosarcoma, a synovial cell sarcoma, or a melanoma. Fibrosarcoma was determined to be the official cancer of my femur bone, but not until after my surgery and they got more to look at.
* The most pain I’ve ever experienced in my life was breaking my femur bone. The mildly amusing part to me was that I did it while trying to turn off my alarm clock in bed that morning. Most people who break bones are jumping off things, playing sports, or otherwise being quite active. But all I had to do was turn over in bed ever so slightly. The bone was paper thin, wearing down, and I knew this…so I was somewhat prepared.
* The surgery. My doctor originally wanted to do the surgery on Wednesday March 31st, but after looking further at the x-rays and MRI’s, decided I should do some chemotherapy cycles beforehand to try to shrink the tumors. I ended up only having one day of chemo, March 29th. I broke the femur on March 30th. Then, on March 31st I had what ended up being emergency surgery. I was so glad just to get the bone out of me! It hurt and I knew that it needed to go. How grateful I was that my surgeon could still perform the procedure, and on the original day we had planned for in the very beginning.
* Calling 911 on myself. I have called 911 a couple of times in my life, but for other people or happenings. Looking back on it all, I see that everything and everyone was prepared for that morning. The call went smoothly, my neighbor (Derek Arnot) was awake and ready to go for the day and just in the nick of time to let the paramedics into my house for me, the paramedics arrived within minutes, I had one ambulance ride to UVRMC in Provo where they called my doctor and did things to prepare me for transport, my family and a friend showed up there, then I had another ambulance ride to IMC in Murray where I would stay. What a day! Much of it is blotted out of my memory.
Whew! Long list. Guess I'm easily amused. But then...I knew this would be a long road ahead of me from the beginning...I may as well take note of as many things as I can that are not negative (because there are a lot, like feeling sick) so that I can keep going. Just keep going. Almost there.