Friday, June 27, 2014

First Chemo Yesterday

Yesterday was my first chemo treatment. When we'd seen the oncologist for our first meeting, she said that some very tiny percentage of the population lacks an enzyme to deal with one of the drugs she would be giving me, and because of that, they die. Their very first chemotherapy treatment proves fatal. And the only way they discover this is when it happens, there is no way to test for it!

That was disconcerting, to say the least. We both went in yesterday morning wondering if I'd survive, or be in the group lacking the enzyme. Apparently it happens immediately upon the start of the infusion,  so within a few minutes, they know you're fine. I sat in a quite comfortable reclining chair, with pillows and warm blankets, and dozed through part of it. I talked to my neighbours, who were a very nice older couple from one of the islands around here. She'd had some vague bleeding, and went to her doctor to receive the devastating news that she has cancer.

I came home from chemo and slept for most of the rest of the day, getting up at 11pm to eat a little cottage cheese. I had hot and cold sweats, but other than that, I was just exceedingly tired.

So none of my not-very-invasive fears of what it would be like, came to pass. I'm hoping things will continue to be this way. I'm attached for two more days to a little bottle contraption attached to the PICC line, which is infusing more of the one drug for another 46 hours after the in-hospital treatment.
Robert was willing to be trained how to detach the bottle when it's empty, to save us a trip to the hospital for a ten-minute procedure. 

He is such a loving comfort to me, with his willingness, his loving caring, and his wicked sense of humour. We were lying in bed this morning laughing, and I felt that same enormous gratitude that the gift of his presence always stirs in me.

Yesterday's lesson was another one in gratitude for the wisdom of Al-Anon. Apart from a few qualms I've already mentioned, I was able to detach from the future possibilities, stay in the moment up until it was time for chemo, and be happy and relaxed. I was able to push intrusive thoughts out of my mind, and as my first sponsor used to say, "... firmly shut the door on them."

When I consider what going through this would be like, did I not have close to 30 years in Al-Anon, it gives me pause. I used to live in the future, or in the past, with most of my days sliding past me almost unnoticed, while I railed over the past hurts, losses, and sorrows, or trembled and raged in fear of what my future might hold. I was a supremely negative person. I have changed so much as to be almost unrecognisable as that terror-stricken woman with a non-existent self-esteem.

And I owe it all to the wonderful program of Al-Anon.

May your Higher Power be close beside you, and may you feel a sense of delight in today, because as a wise old AA gentleman used to declare:
"Today is all you get, so you better make it a good one."


  1. Your posts are always so inspiring :)

  2. Your gratitude and serenity shines through.

  3. So thankful you are off to a good start and have a wonderful attitude. Robert sounds like such a prince of a guy, and you are a beautiful person, with a brave heart. Hope the treatment continues to be effective with few side effects, and you will continue to keep everything in perspective. Thanks for sharing your journey. We are cheering you on, and praying for complete peace and healing.

  4. I keep forgetting the moment is all I have got! Working a program which means for me
    working a spiritual practice..patience and compassion for myself and others

  5. So glad that you made it through and all is going okay with the treatment. I think that it is such an important part of the program to stay in the day and not to project what the future holds. It is sometimes difficult, but I am grateful to be focusing on just today more than before. Sending good thoughts that all continues to go well.

  6. I just checked in here for the first time a couple weeks and I am so glad that your prognosis has miraculously changed with a visit to a new doctor! Please keep posting if you feel up to it…I am so very happy for you!!!