It was, all things considered, a happy day all around. We were in the Room of Orange Chairs with other treatment pals – Gloria and Deb – and the staff and nurses were their usual positive, joyful professional selves. There was a little concern over my high blood pressure readings on both arms, but Jan and Co. agreed that the culprits were probably my continuing relationship with salt and just being back on treatment, the anxiety/stress of which can affect it.
Lauren told me that my unfortunate encounter with chest-shaving last week had healed nicely and then poked me with her needle and began a relatively short 1 ½ drip of various magic potions an poisons. It went well. The time was filled with our usual fun banter and spirited conversations, including one about neuropathy and Epsom salts and B-12 and ALA which, unless you suffer neuropathy won’t mean much to you. Suffice it to say that those of us who do suffer from it share our experiences so we can help each other. For while every cancer is somewhat unique, the negative side effects can be remarkably similar. Knowing what works for others – and what doesn’t work – can be very useful indeed. So the verdict at the end of this discussion was yes to Epsom salts in warm water for the feet, yes to B-12 and ALA, and a little more hope for the return of feeling to our fingers and feet.
For those of you on Facebook who know that my chemo wife, Monica, just adopted a new basset hound named Otis, you will also be pleased to hear that she likes my idea of printing teeshirts with Otis’s face on them and the words “Otis Fan Club.” He is truly a soulful addition to their family and to our conversations. And a very lucky dog
San and I left the Clinic and grabbed some Mexican take-out on the way home. Ramiro’s babacoa tacos, some cheese enchiladas, rice and beans. Hard to beat! But by the time we finished our feast I was experiencing that “down” slide that often accompanies a good poisoning. I had planned to go to campus and meet my pal and editor Erika, who was visiting her authors in Phoenix, but I just couldn’t manage it. Plus, when I am like this, San refuses to let me drive. Probably a good call. I slept and dozed through a couple of episodes of Herman Wouck’s “The Winds of War,” (1983) which may have some of the bad casting, worst wooden acting, and bad soap-opera plotting in it of any television mini-series. How it became described as a “smashing television success, and a US national television event as never seen before,” probably says more about the popularity of the book and the identification of the audience with Wouck than it says about the series, but hey, it was the early 1980s and not a particularly memorable time for television.
Nic and San make constant negative comments about Ali MacGraw and Polly Bergen, and of course Jan-Michael Vincent, who, at 39 in real life is complete failure at trying to appear to be 21 or 22 in this film, but hey he’s courting Ali, who at 43 is truly an “older woman” regardless of how young Jan-Michael is supposed to be trying to be. So we watch it anyway. It’s all in good fun. Besides, Nic and I like any movie that depicts that tumultuous era, and of course, both of us are big Robert Mitchum fans.
The steroids kicked in later, and late enough to prevent me from getting to bed or to sleep before midnight. Given that my usual bedtime is 10 with a little “pre-sleep” time in the blue chair prior to it, this is late for me. Oh well. It means only that Thursday I should have a decent level of energy and I am looking forward to attending the launch of our new Center for Strategic Communication. But tomorrow, well, tomorrow will be a low day. The steroids are out of my system by then but the after-effects of the chemo produce a predictable deep tiredness. It will be a good day to finish the “Winds of War.”
So, the second treatment in the “lightweight maintenance chemo” regimen is over and I am not feeling too shabby. Can’t complain. Instead, I focus on the gift of another day and all of the good will of everyone who helps us to navigate the uncertainties inherent to this path. And – here’s the big smile – who joins us in wishing the newest member of “The Happy Dance Club,” Gabbee Padula Bagby (pic courtesy of Donna), much happiness and ease of mind as she enters this new phase of her cancer-free life!