Life lessons #31 by Regina Brett
No matter how good or bad a situation is, it will change. ~ Regina Brett
I’ve intentionally jumped over many of Regina’s life lessons for a reason, I haven’t just forgotten how to count
This lesson is one that I can definitely relate to from recent experience. Things have been looking up for me in recent months. My financial situation was getting better so that I could start doing some of the things I’d been wanting to do. I had successfully weened myself off of antidepressants and found myself with more energy and being much more self-aware. On Tuesday, I had several appointments at the Veterans Administration hospital that started off well. In physical therapy, I was given a new exercise regimen to go along with my stretching exercises and was looking forward to bettering my physical condition. My mental health appointment went well (e.g. I wasn’t locked up in a rubber room with a nice clean, white “hug myself” jacket). I was generally feeling pretty good about my overall situation and determined to continue with changes in my life that I’ve been needing to make for some time. This is where the “it will change” part of the quote comes in.
Next was labs for my Oncology check-up. The phlebotomist that I ended up with was a “chatty Cathy” and wasn’t paying much attention as she inserted the needle into my vein to draw blood. Somehow, she managed to nick a nerve while finding the vein, thereby earning the title phlebotoMISSED. A wonderful searing pain ran from my elbow down to my hand and then went away for a moment. As soon as I tried to roll myself out of the lab in my wheelchair the pain was back. Now anytime I have to do anything requiring a strong grip (rolling my chair) or bending my elbow or twisting my wrist while holding anything (like tipping my coffee or tea mug up to my mouth) that same wonderful shooting pain comes back. I’ve definitely obtained a healthy appreciation of what sufferers of chronic pain go through. All through lunch, I’m wincing every time I do anything and wondering how much worse the day can get.
If this day was a four course meal, then the next little episode would have been the main course. The last oncology checkup that I had 6 months ago showed that my Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma might have come out of remission, but it wasn’t definite. This time around it was definitely definite. My white count and abnormal white cell counts had skyrocketed and my red cell count and platelet count had plummeted. I knew this day would come eventually. Because the type of Lymphoma that I have is not aggressive it can’t be killed. On the good side, it doesn’t kill me, either, but complications from it can. As long as none of the tests that I start the day after Christmas show that it has become aggressive, I’ll be going through the same chemo that I completed in 2005, except they’re going to add another drug to the two that I took back then. If it has become aggressive, then there are other drugs that they can use. If none of those works, then there’s always a “hail Mary” pass (bone marrow transplant). I’ve got a bone marrow biopsy, P.E.T. scan and a port implant scheduled from the 26th through the 8th of January (possibly with a lymph node biopsy thrown in between the 2nd and the 8th depending on the results of the scan) and should start treatment in early to mid January. Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to another 5 or 6 months of puking my guts out all the time and not feeling like getting out of bed, but the alternatives are worse.
As if the “main course” wasn’t enough, I got the dessert yesterday. My preoccupied arse left the windows in my car cracked about a half inch on the way home from the hospital. They stayed that way while a steady wind-blown rain storm poured water on the area for two days. Needless to say, the interior of my car was soaked. Fortunately, the rain let up and the humidity went down and, with a day of wind blowing through the open doors, it’s pretty well dried out now.
Again, this is where the “it will change” part of the quote comes in. I’m confident that, after 5 or 6 months of chemo and another year of once a month maintenance drugs, I’ll be able to say goodbye to Mr. Lymphoma for at least another 5 years. It irks me that this has to come along at the same time I was trying to get back into the habit of reading and writing around here. I’ll be away from my computer a lot during my treatment, but, on the good side, it’s convinced me that I need to get a tablet so that I can stay in touch whether I’m in the bed or in the hospital. Good excuse for a new toy, eh?