So as you now know, one of my best friends (Jeri Lynn) came out for my 3rd chemo treatment. By this time, the 3rd round, I feel more confident about the appointment and the fear isn’t what it was concerning the treatment itself. The first treatment where I had the bad allergic reaction caused some initial stress for the 2nd but the 2nd went fine so I expected the 3rd to go fine too…and it did.
I didn’t have to get started as early as I’ve had to in the past so I could sleep in. (Ha, right?) We took the 12:20 ferry and drove straight to SCCA, parking was a nightmare. Nearly non-existent. The parking structure is such that nearly every spot is for “compact” cars and even my Subaru Outback balks at the idea of having to squeeze into those spaces. Jeri Lynn is bold enough to see some lights on a vehicle and she knocks on their window. In my head the conversation plays out one of 2 ways:
1: “Are you leaving now or just planning on hogging up the space while you check your email/FB?”
2: “Hey, parking is horrible in here, before we continue on looking, are you just getting here or are you about to leave?”
I feel certain she went with option 2…people who know me probably realize that in some driving situations where I’m pressed for time (already 10 minutes late for my lab appointment after searching for parking) my brain runs a loop of option 1. I’m that person…but these days I don’t say it out loud. I would also actually use option 2. (see, there I go publicly outing myself)
At any rate, they were leaving, we sharked their spot and rushed up to lab where there was no shaming us for the late arrival. I pressure myself but they know that I’ll either show up or I won’t. They don’t hold my spot, they fit me in and they’re just as polite and kind as can be. Port accessed, labs drawn. Easy peasy.
Next up to the 3rd floor for my oncology appointment. The doctor looks over all my labs (which are the perfectly normal lab results of a regular healthy person. While waiting –they were running behind– we had endless fun playing with Snapchat filters. We may have been cutting up so loudly with it that we ran people off. We didn’t care, we had fun sitting there laughing against a lovely Seattle backdrop and forgot for just a little while that I was there waiting to discuss how the chemo is treating me and suppressing the knowledge that I’m actually here to accept the cell-killing agents into my body. It was a great stress reliever/distraction.
Jeri Lynn and I have been friends for a very long time. We met just 2 months before The Mr and I got married and she actually drove down for our wedding so that was in 2001. She was there filming the birth of our son in 2002. She went on the Susan G Koman walk for breast cancer 5 years ago. That was 60 miles of walking in Atlanta, GA. We had the best time together but I recall being somewhat let down that we didn’t really connect with many other people. I think we missed out on a lot of opportunities. I say this now as a person with breast cancer and I say it for the reader. I’m not saying I regret it because it’s done and over but I’m saying that you should take those uncomfortable topics/moments and use your experiences to connect with people. I feel like I could have gained so much strength from the stories of some of those women there. Jeri Lynn did remind me that during opening ceremonies I told her that I always felt I would get breast cancer one day. I said this for a few reasons:
1: my aunt had breast cancer (she had the BRCA gene), all her kids have the gene. ( I don’t but that’s new information after my own genetic testing)
2: I’m a woman and 1 in 3 women will face breast cancer. I know a lot of women in my life who don’t have breast cancer, it was bound to be one of us.
3: I can’t explain the last because it sounds crazy but I just felt that was my path, I felt it would be my reality at some point. Turning 50 was a big milestone for me. I didn’t want to do it because it felt like the biggest obstacle to me. I started having all these visions or glimpses of my future. They were scary but also calming. I pictured me in a hospital bed with The Mr sitting patiently by my bed reading his iPad quietly. In the vision, it felt as if it were years in the future (he had all gray hair) and I thought that it meant that I would die first. This caused some anxiety because in my head I was always going to live forever. (Though I’ve never seen myself getting really old)
So anyway, several things happened to make me feel that this would be my reality and the biggest one was really that 1 in 3 women are faced with it at some point. I’m thankful that 50 made me determined to seek medical attention asap with I found the lump. And now you’re caught up to speed there.
So after an hour or so messing around with Snapchat, laughing until our cheeks hurt, we got called back to my spot for chemo (got a bed again instead of a chair, I’m not sure how they determine that). My nurse was Julia, she appeared a little edgy with her purple hair, shaved side of her head and multiple piercings, and I liked her. She was nice, funny and seemed to “get” us. Funny how nursing here is so different from nursing in some places–some facilities seem to think that piercings and tattoos must compromise your ability to perform patient care and they have all these strict codes about hair color and tattoos. They’re missing out on some great nurses.
Chemo itself was uneventful. The Mr showed up as we were getting hooked up. He doesn’t intend to miss a treatment. He’s my lobster. We sat around chatting, snacking on Tillamook cheese and playing Farkle. The chemo treatment didn’t feel like it took that long and we made it to the ferry without incident. I have felt pretty good since treatment. The doctor prescribed me something to help me sleep and I tried it. I’ve slept better the last 2 nights and it makes a huge difference in my anxiety just being able to get some uninterrupted rest.
Jeri Lynn set out for the airport this morning, I dropped her off at the ferry at 0445 where she’ll catch an Uber to the airport. So much easier than driving around! It was so great to see her even if it was a short visit. I hope it helped her to see the process, to see me and see that maybe I’m handling things better than she thought I was. We had some real heart to hearts and I even cried in front of her which is a big deal because I don’t think she felt as if I was properly processing things. I hope she feels a little more at ease in that regard. As I was getting ready to blog about chemo I thought about the idea of a guest blog to gain other perspectives but also to help let people know about me from those perspectives. It’s always interesting to see how other people view you–it’s a lens you don’t often have access to. I appreciate her honesty and her kind words. I’m so glad we’re friends. She is more than that, she is like a sister. She is my sister.