Nov. 12.

Chemo Cycle 1, Day 1

My Status: Overall good day.
Mood: Cheerful 😀

Today started off after an unusual, but completely welcomed, good night sleep—only to be followed by the first bump in the journey. I’ll talk about the bump after the chemo update, but suffice it to say that it rocked me harder than I expected.

Onto the chemo experience. The first cocktail I had was Rituxan, and being me, I had already thrown the doc a curve-ball before the first drop hit my system. You see, standard practice with Rituxan is to have Benadryl standing by, in case the patient has an allergic reaction to it. So what’s the curve-ball?? I’m allergic to Benadryl. 🙂

I am the first patient for my doc in the 12 years Rituxan has been available who has not been able to accept Benadryl in response to an allergic reaction. The doc decided with my respiratory system issues and the number of allergies I do have, it would be best to give me a steroid along with the Rituxan treatment, and she slowed it down initially so she could more closely monitor in case of a reaction. So my treatment was longer than the anticipated 6 hours, but that’s okay by me. I’d rather they went slower to make sure I wouldn’t have a major reaction than to proceed at the normal pace only to have to get the ambulance to carry me next door to the hospital.

I was actually able to do a little work on the WIP while I was having the treatment, but I had to keep taking my headphones out when the doc would come in to check on me, or the chemo nurse, etc. and then I’d get distracted by Facebook (ooh the shiny) or having conversations with people. But progress is progress. I caused the doctor some concern when I was telling Denny (the hubs) that I brought a blanket as recommended because I might get cold, but I was sweating. The doc thought I might be having a reaction to the chemo, but I run hot, and had just plugged in my laptop because the battery was down to about 20% and had both a hot laptop and a hot power supply sitting on me. I told her I could stop the sweating and lifted the laptop in the air. **Magic**

I’m not really sure how the rest of the journey will go, but right now, my laptop is the most important thing to have with me, after something to drink (and I say that grudgingly only because keeping the fluids up should be the most important thing, but—shhhhh, the laptop secretly wins with me every time.)

That was pretty much it… I was the most active of the patients in the room … I kept going walkabout—mainly to use the facilities. I loved listening to the other people in the room as well. Like the lady who was brought in by her sweetheart from junior high … they got married out of high school and had been together ever since. I think she said they had been married for 56 years. And the lady who came to pick up her husband had come to the United States from Japan in 1956 … and her husband says, I think she’s going to stay here…

About the morning bump in the road … it boils down to communication or how we’re dealing with the situation … and the we in this case is my husband and I. He jumped in the shower shortly after we woke up this morning, and I thought he was getting it out of the way while I was trying to choke down something to eat (morning eating has not been kind to me of late). Then he came in and announced he was going into work to resolve some pay problems and ask whether they had anything for him work wise, as he is a rover and hadn’t been fully scheduled for this week. My response was along the lines of You’re leaving??? and then the volatile nature of me kicked in and I said, Fine! Just go!!

Dear husbands, partners, and significant others everywhere – the words Fine. Just go. translated from their subtext mean Buddy, you’d better stick around and explain what kind of crap you just pulled/said, because you have PISSED me OFF! After seventeen years of marriage, my husband still doesn’t understand the subtext, so he left.

I had a brief meltdown. My first for this journey, but I’m sure not my last. While I have gone through this entire process so far pretty prosaically, it rocked me hard to feel abandoned before the first treatment. My thoughts were along the lines of if he can’t even be there for me for the treatments, how am I going to survive the next six months?? I know he’s scared—more than I am, truth be told. Sometimes it is harder being the one not going through the process. And yes, I know he wants to bolt and come back when this is all over, but I was unprepared for how bereft it would make me feel when he did run. Because I fully expected him to run (briefly) at some point, just not this early.

Before you start a hate campaign against him, let me explain why I said the problem here was communication/dealing with the situation. Also he did come and sit with my mom through most of the day, came back and put my slippers on when I needed them, and checked on me throughout the treatment and left a little early to go pick up some medications I hadn’t had a chance to pick up. He left this morning because he had completely blocked out the fact that I was still home because today was my first day of chemo. And I had no idea he had blocked it out because I was still home and preparing to go to my first day of chemo. Remember when I said he is more frightened than I am. That is the truth and he is suppressing all of his emotions to the point that he has turned blinders on about the whole thing.

Before he told me he completely forgot, that idea would have been incomprehensible to me. This is the man who can tell you a baseball stat for the Titans from 2004 without having to pause to think about it. It’s the man who can tell you the anniversary of our first date, first kiss, proposal date, and the list goes on … none of these things can I tell you (I’m lucky to get the anniversary date right—and that has been since the very beginning … I requested time off for the honeymoon for the wrong month.) So the fact that he had suppressed what was about to happen so deeply that he had “forgotten” it, never occurred to me. I know it is possible, and it is not outside the realm of normal when it comes to a huge (negative) life event for someone you care about more than yourself. Your brain blocks it out because you can’t deal with it yet. And he certainly didn’t know he was going to have an issue with it—because his brain blocked it out.

Tomorrow morning I’ll know to remind him about the appointment. And once I post this, I’ll add my list of appointments for the next two months into his phone. Lesson learned: Don’t assume he won’t block things out.

I love the picture at the top of the post because it really symbolizes this day for me. The sun rising (new adventure) over rippling seas (a few bumps, but not too bad) and casting glorious colors to help light our way.

Oh—almost forgot… no nausea yet, and I was able to eat when I got home and am having a nice cup of warm tea. Life is good.

By Liana Gardner | Posted in Good Day | Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

  • So, time for the first deep breath. So far so good and in chemo treatments that’s an awesome thing! Glad they took the first doses slowly – we’d all rather you spend the time with your laptop and chatting with friendly people at the center than at the hospital with an out of control allergic reaction.

    I totally get the thing with your hubs – men (shaking my head) “bless their hearts”. My husband would probably have left as well – because if yours hasn’t learned to read the subtext after 17 years there’s no hope for mine at 11 years.

    In marriage so many things like this come down to communication and the different personalities involved – and that becomes even more difficult when navigating unknown circumstances resulting in abnormal (for you and him) responses. I’m so glad you were able figure it out so you have a better idea of what is going on (or not going on) in his head and can put a system in place to give him a tangible reminder of what is going on with your treatments.

    I’m also so happy that he was able to be there to give you the much needed love and support you needed on a scary day like today.

    I just want to hug you both!!!

    • Good to know hubs is in good company. Yours and mine would be off together. We had been talking about the upcoming treatments so much, it never even occurred to me that he had blocked the actual appointment details. 🙂

  • Love your bravery and honesty. Prayers continue!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *