So here I am today finding myself reflecting in a bed at the Red Deer Regional Hospital. First, once again, let me say that the knowledgeable care and compassionate attention has been humbling.
I have been going along with my chemo feeling great really…unbelievable considering what I was anticipating, good energy, walking the dogs every day, trying to focus on nutrition and the best way to nurture my body while taking treatment. It has driven me nuts when people tell me they are sorry I am sick…I have not felt sick, just that I had to deal with a relatively self contained cancer. I have not wanted to allow people to put thoughts of me being sick in my mind as I have so often said (and believe) I am or become what I tell myself.
Well, this last weekend I got sick.
I had my chemo Friday, came home and curled up for a nap (abnormal for me to allow myself to do as I usually try to drown myself with fluids when I come home in (my thoughts) an effort to minimize any side effects from them being in my system too long). Friday night I began using the ice cream bucket hidden in the drawer by my bed as a just in case but out of site out of mind scenario. Again, and again, and again. I was unable to keep anything down all weekend, my belly became hard and distended, I was in pain and yet I might be a little on the tenacious side and determined not to waste tax payer dollars by coming into Emergency for something that I thought could just be a chemo side effect. After some firm prodding and a promise that if it didn’t get better Sunday night I would call the Cancer Centre Monday morning or come into hospital…around 1am I called a taxi and came in to the hospital.
The staff was fantastic. They are a teaching faculty and seem able to allow the balance of students trying first, then taking over if/when things get serious. Turns out I have a bowel obstruction (can be common side effect from scar tissue after a hysterectomy and/or chemo), and a chest infection. I am in a private room now, under isolation, and finally “eating” after almost a week with the bags hanging from my IV.
So why the heck did this have to happen? Now chemo is postponed and once again that was not in my plans. Perhaps it was to be reminded of these things….
Truly amazing friends, a sample of such, “Nana Daisy” that I can text at 6am to ask to go and take care of my dogs, and she does, because she loves them like her own and I know how fortunate I am that she loves me too – who expected that out of working with someone?
The friend that prodded and questioned me “are you sure it isn’t bad enough to go to the hospital” that made me think a little harder about being strong and not wanting to show up and feeling silly that it is “just” chemo side effects but actually listen to what was happening…..then seeming to install some sort of contact chain to hornswaggle me in future “determined” times.
Neighbours that suddenly happen to text, then show up at the hospital Sunday night to give me heck that their number is as easy to call as a taxi and let me know they are looking out for me because they too care (how wonderful this world is with only a few moments to get to know our neighbours).
The roommate to take care of the house when I am not there.
The strangers and friends that donate blood that allowed me to receive 2 units this week and put some perk in my pants.
My family, not only for traveling to rally around me but to also spend extra loving time with my Mom knowing it is difficult for her to be unable to be physically helping me at this point.
The friends that I have, until now, put off coming to see me because I really needed to allow my body the time to rest between the care and attention of the staff.
The knowledge that I need to perhaps look again at how to redirect any extra energy and focus on remaining well for the duration of treatment.
The St. Patrick’s Day celebration when I finally had a little fart this morning (still waiting for more).
My nurse Stephanie, in particular, on Unit 23 that kept a calm, professional, reassuring and compassionate demeanour on Tuesday when things suddenly went downhill for me very quickly with my O2 stats and others around started showing fear in their eyes.
The surgeons and internists that have run all kinds of tests looking for funny things that may have caused the sudden down and then quick recovery… they are still kindly searching out answers for me.
And even some folks, though few, that remind me how blessed I truly am to be an optimistic kinda gal.
I didn’t need this now! And yet when I look back on timing of many things I find that it was when they were last needed I needed them the most to remind me of something. That once again I am nowhere near alone in this, that there are so many folks caring for me and genuinely go out of their way, and that, yes, I still need to take a little better care of myself too.
Someday I will figure the balance of living in a fishbowl bubble vs living…..maybe by treatment 17/18.
Wishing you the gift that opening my eyes to what was really happening around me when “I really don’t need this right now” has given me.