There is a scene in the movie, "As Good As It Gets", where Carol [Helen Hunt] uses allot of expletives to complain to the doctor that Melvin [Jack Nicholson] sent to take care of her son, about her insurance company. Her mother shushes her for using this particular language and the doctor says, "It's okay, actually I think that's their technical name".
I would not go so far as to use this type of language to talk about my insurance company but a couple weeks ago, after my first chemo treatment, had I been capable of yelling or screaming, one might have heard me. As Greg, Ali and I were being given lessons on chemo, what to expect and what to do, I overheard my nurse, Amanda, [not my daughter as she was at ROTC], say as she got off the phone, I didn't know --- was one of the insurance companies that did this". When she came over I asked if there was a problem, she said no, that I would be getting two anti-nausea meds and the chemo cocktail as ordered.
I have to say that I was not nervous. We met with Dr. T and she assured me that all would be done to assist me and that the nurses in the chemo room were wonderful. She was right. They were kind, caring and very supportive. I walked into the room prepared to fight for my life and knew that this was the way to do it.
It was uneventful to tell you the truth. It was decided that even though I had drank all the water and more that was asked of me the day before that I would need a port-a-cath since my right arm cannot be used anymore for blood draws and IV's [due to nodes being taken out of my arm during surgery]. They were able to get a needle in and the meds started going in. After two hours of assorted drugs I was sent home. Not more than four hours later it started. A sickness I have never known before. Everything came up as fast as it went in. I was violently ill. I could only sit in bed and not move a muscle. I was so ill I couldn't even take one of the anti-nausea meds, to swallow with water meant it came right back up. The chemo treatment was on Friday and by Sunday Greg was calling into the service to see if we needed to go to the ER. The concern was dehydration but thankfully, with all that I had before the treatment it didn't seem to be a problem. Greg, as ever, was wonderful in caring for me. He told me that even if this is the way it was going to have to be for these first four treatments, I would get through it and live. He gave me warm sponge baths and told me all the things I would live to see: graduations, weddings, grandchildren. But, by Monday I was headed to the Oncologist again.
Ali drove me and my mother-in-law met us at the door to help get me out of the car. I was incoherent and barely able to move. After bags of IV fluids and more anti-nausea for hours the staff wanted to put me into the hospital. I wanted to go home. I wanted to sleep. They agreed and allowed me to go home on the condition that I called in the morning. I was able to sleep semi-comfortably and even made an attempt to go to work the next morning. By Wednesday, I felt a bit like myself again and by Thursday even more so.
Now, to say that I was apprehensive this time, for my second round of chemo, would be an understatement. I had an appointment in the morning for a port-a-cath to be put in. Once fully awake and watched for an hour to show that all was okay, Ali and Amanda [yay, she's home!] wheeled me over across the street to my Oncologists office.
The good news? Getting so ill allowed me to get the third protocol that the doctor ordered for the type of chemo cocktail I am on. The insurance company approved me to get it this time, they had not the first. Dr. T was not happy that I had to go through what I went through. She was very professional but clearly upset. I was taken into the Chemo room and as the radiologist had kept an access in the port-a-cath it was easy for the meds to go in. Actually, I don't even remember getting the meds. With the "twilight" meds that I was given for the port and another to help me relax, I fell asleep almost immediately and didn't wake up until it was over.
I did not get sick, I have a small appetite and am able to sleep. I am tired and stop to rest when I feel the wave of exhaustion but that is fine by me.