This blog was supposed to be this aging ladies compilation of her eclectic thoughts during retirement. To some extent it still is though we have had a kink tossed into the mix.
Tuesday of this week we reached the halfway mark in the treatments for my boyfriends cancer, Diffuse Large B Cell Non Hodgkin Lymphoma. We were happy to celebrate this milestone. The pre-check with the Dr was good news with his blood counts in a good range and no weight loss. The infusion went off same as before. These nurses know their stuff! We spent the morning as the two previous with reading, chatting and munching as the miracle oil entered his body.
He had the same amount of very slight nausea, the metallic taste and the bone pain that he had experienced before as the drugs were introduced. While these side effects passed almost as quickly as they came, he also had the ginger inhaler to be more comfortable as they waned.
Pause for a small commercial break…..I discovered this inhaler (1) last year when a friend who also had cancer was complaining of nausea. I said there has to be something. I found this on Amazon, ordered her a bunch of them and waited to see if they worked. She said they did. With our diagnosis, I ordered one just in case to have on hand. It works. It said it was for pregnancy and chemo. Wonder if it would work for flying? It is so simple. We shared this info Tuesday with our next door neighbor at the infusion center before we left.
I have been asked about the medicine. R-CHOP fascinates me. Before any treatment happens we stop at the lab to give blood. Next is the weigh in with the Dr visit. Once he is in the infusion chair more questions before the nurse sends the order down for the bags of drugs. The drugs are mixed right then specifically for my boyfriend. They are sent up in stages. It is fascinating to me that since this is such a well used combination that it is not already in a bag somewhere waiting to be used like the saline that goes in first. We chatted about that with the nurse. She made the point that if it were ready and the pre-checks were not good we would not get the treatment today so what, then, would they do with the drugs. In fact on Tuesday there were 3-4 patients who came in to cancel appointments due to their blood work being off. Medicine certainly is miraculous.
Another question we received from a friend was why are we using a blog as opposed to Caring Bridge which lots of people use when they are ill. I have three reasons. One is that our experience is that many who use Caring Bridge are really, really sick to the point of some of them no longer being with us. I did not want to have that amount of seriousness right now.
A second reason is Caring Bridge asks those who participate to donate money. Did not want our families and friends asked.
Thirdly I needed a reason to get back to blogging. I set up the blog a few months (many) ago as I said for retirement. Now seemed like a really good time to kick it off.
Lastly this week, I have to share a story with you. Medicine in the form of diagnostic tools, tests, drugs in pill form or otherwise has come a very long way. We are indeed extremely grateful we are in this time to receive such good care. We are aware there are also alternative ways to heal. Believe me we will be looking into many of those when the maintenance part of this journey comes along in October with the last treatment. There is one other form of medicine in which we believe. Let me share it with you.
We are in the middle of a hot summer. Here in the middle we have had mostly 90 degree days filled with high humidity. On the coast of Maine where we had planned to spend our summers it too has been blisteringly hot. They too have had high 90s with high humidity for a lot of the summer as well. The difference here is that we have air-conditioning whereas most of the cottages and homes in Maine do not. Many people of course have units, yet to find air installed as part of the heating system is not common.
We were sitting on our couch watching some TV weather when it came to me that God works in mysterious ways.
I mentioned this to the man sitting next to me on the couch, “How interesting is that.”
My boyfriend said: “What?”
I said, “Do you suppose God in his wisdom knew it was going to be hot so kept us here so I would not complain (I used another word) all summer? You know I would have done so.”
I went on to say, “God would have known it would have to be something drastic to keep me here.”
Now the man to whom I am married, aka my boyfriend, is slow to anger, slow to speak as well as a man of very few words. He looked at me gave me the quizzical over his glasses look and said nothing. Typical end of discussion.
Today we were on Skype having our weekly visit with a dear friend from NJ. Once again the weather came up. It has been as hot in Haddonfield as the coast and the middle. I reiterated my theory about the heat and cancer.
I posited my theory by saying, “I wonder if God kept us here because he knew I would complain about no air-conditioning unit to the point of a being real pain in the neck to irritation and anger.”
My quiet man of few words piped up this time with a louder than usual exclamation saying, “I would have rather had to hear that and go buy the (really was a blankety blank stream of words) air-conditioner than go through this stuff!”
The way he said – rarely swears or raises his voice – it made me break out in gales of laughter, he joined in as did our friend across the country on the internet. We had a real belly laugh over this exclamation of his choice. This brings me back to one of the best medicines of all – laughter truly is it. If you can share it during hard times with the ones you love – even better.
Truly, know we are well. It is day 3 and, Thank You God, looks like he is feeling well enough to go out jamming tonight.
…..ONWARD TO MOREMISADVENTURE….