Since then here's a list of the things I wasn't expecting to experience in my 34th year.
- Ambulance rides: 2
- Hospital stays: 9 for an approximate 55 days total (thus far)
- rounds of chemotherapy: 7 with one to go
- surgeries: 3, one for a biopsy, one to install a port for the chemo, and one to remove the tumor.
- number of staples post-tumor removal: 55
- home health equipment: walker, bedside commode, and elevated toilet seat
- number of interns: who can count?
- Doctors on my treatment team: 3
- cat scans complete with barium swallows: 4
- average number of times it takes to thread an I.V. into my arm, even with the I.V. team: 3
- times I've lost my hair: twice. It grew back when I had a break from chemo after surgery.
- poems I've written about this experience: 4
- Days where C. Dale's blog has been too difficult to read: several, especially when he's had patients with terminal diagnosis.
- prognosis: very good. the cancer responded to the chemo even though there was only a 40% likelyhood that it would.
- what my 8 year old said: "I'll love you when you're bald"
- new vocabulary words (medicine): zofran, anti-nausea
- number of labs (ie blood drawn): twice per week
- days I feel lucky to have such a supportive husband: every minute of every day
I've had a difficult time writing about this, obviously it's taken 6 months before I could even broach it on the blog. One of my doctors has encouraged me to write about my experiences, I don't know that I have much that is helpful to say, I don't feel brave or strong or as if I've had an epiphany along the way, but I can say, "here I am, here's what I know." Perhaps that can be enough.
Before the CT Scan
by Amy D. Unsworth
The older gentleman looks my way
a time or two.
It isn’t difficult to figure
no hair equals chemo
equals cancer equals my familiarity
with the IV team, needles, and
the shooting pain of a tube
threaded in the vein.
I’m not used to this sort of thing,
he tells the nurse
who mentions bee stings and
a few moments hum of the scan.
His doctor wants to rule out
a mass, a blockage, anything
visible that causes
a little dizziness,
a little trouble breathing.
The nurse forgets to draw the curtain
before pulling the elastic tourniquet tight.
I can’t meet his eyes
as she fails three times to find a likely vein.