Today was my first day of Doxil chemotherapy. All things considered, it went fairly well. Mom and I stayed in a hotel close to the hospital last night because of the ungodly hour I had to be there this morning. In spite of the massive construction project on 635, we got there on time. It's funny how the surgery protocol is old hat to me. The first time I had surgery at MCD, we got lost in the hospital and I remember well feeling like I would throw up from anxiety. This morning, I knew exactly where to go, what to expect, and even knew a few surgery nurses by name. My favorite nurse, Cynthia, was my pre-admit nurse when I had my major procedure 2 years ago. She said, "It's back? Well, CRAP."
That just about says it all.
I opted to do the surgery with minimal anesthesia. I did not want to feel very groggy or have to spend time in the recovery room. The anesthesiologist gave me a "margarita" of drugs and they injected numbing meds around the site. It's a very odd feeling to be aware of someone cutting you open. I am in more pain now than I was during the surgery, although I remember saying "ouch" a few times.
I was wheeled straight from surgery to chemo. My chemotherapy is administered in a large room that can fit 10 patients at a time. There are partition walls between each recliner chair, giving the false sense of privacy. At least I don't have to look at everyone, or worse, endure them looking at me. Pre-meds were minimal, only fluids and an anti-nausea drug. The Doxil itself is red. Kool-Aid red, homemade Valentines red. The shade of red that made me think of happy celebrations instead of a wretched bag of life-saving poison. I was wishing so much that I had a bouquet of balloons and a cake with delicious butter cream frosting instead of bruised skin and an unshakable headache!
Mom and I tried to watch a movie together on the TV screen that was provided, but a very unhappy patient across the room dragged her IV pole over and asked us to keep it down. Humph. The woman at the station next to me asked the nurse if her friend could grab a snack from the stash they keep for patients. Although the nurse made it clear that the food was for chemo patients only, the friend went ahead and gave the nurse her order: peanut butter crackers and cranberry juice. If they didn't have cranberry, she would settle for grape juice, but was obviously displeased. They then carried on an in-depth theological discussion for the remainder of the afternoon that was just loud enough for the rest of us to hear.
The good news is that there is a fish tank in the room. Worst case scenario, I can watch the fish.
Even with all of that, we still made it home before the cowboys got off the school bus. I feel...well, I don't feel crummy. I feel very tired and sore and a little bit sad. But my cowboys--they came in like nothing was wrong. They talked to their Nana and hugged their mom and I knew. I KNEW that I am doing the right thing, even though it is hard. I would have rather been a hundred other places today than at that hospital, but at the end of the day, I am their mom. I laughed at Goliath's story that he told about his friends, I helped Little Middle study for his spelling test tomorrow (who knew that "unusual" would give him so much trouble?!?), and I listened to Baby read Green Eggs and Ham to me. It's his favorite. Those three little boys are all my favorites.
As this day comes to an end, I realize that I have experienced God's mercy, grace, and kindness in a thousand different ways. Hundreds--literally hundreds--of people prayed for me and my family today. Knowing that simply blows my mind. I came in contact with helpful and compassionate doctors, nurses, and staff who made a hard day easier for me. My sons are healthy and happy.
"He told me, 'My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.'" (2 Corinthians 12:9)
My Jesus is all I need...yesterday, today, and forever.