I had my third chemo treatment yesterday and got my lab results back yesterday from the end of the first treatment week. Numbers jogged back up to exactly where they had been when I walked in the door. I already knew that was expected status after the first week of real treatment. So nothing really new there.

But I’ve been having a really hard time getting settled in here. It’s not like any place I’ve been treated in the US, and it is in the South, so even though we’re talking about Atlanta (a metro area), I haven’t spent any time here in almost 30 years. It’s still the South in many ways … not that that’s all bad, but it’s just different.

Today’s post comes from my iPad, so no graphics for you today! The mobile WordPress app is all well and good, but I gotta admit to a bit of frustration with its visual editor. OK … a lot of frustration.

Speaking of frustration, I have experienced so much frustration here from the get-go. I came here expecting cutting-edge technology and maybe that’s what I’m getting. From the success stories I’m hearing from the patients around me, it must be. But it sure doesn’t feel like it.

Getting information around here is like pulling teeth. I keep seeing and hearing about mistakes being made all around me. When you’re in a large room with lots of other people, you’d have to be blind and deaf not to get a distinct “fly by the seat of your pants” feeling up in here. I see patients getting insulin and not being monitored carefully enough (IMO). It’s disarming to say the least. And if the goal of this clinic is to restore one’s immune system, anxiety is something that should never be allowed to happen in that infusion room, no matter what.

So being the delicate flower of the South that I am … I keep getting called to the “principal’s office” on a weekly basis. It kind of feels, by this point, like my life just isn’t complete without my weekly visit with Bradford. We made the suggestion that he hire just one more nurse so there could more eyes on patients once insulin is on board. But he explained that would raise patient cost by about $1100 and that would exclude a lot of people. He is currently able to meet people where they’re at, financially, so I guess there’s something to be said for that so long as his main goal is “first, do no harm.” And it is, or so he says. So another week of watching, listening and observing, except for when I’m down the rabbit hole, as we call it.

Let me tell you about that rabbit hole. That’s a very interesting place to be, if you’ve never been there. That’s that distinctly hypoglycemic place where they pound you with the chemo followed by immediate sugar. It’s so odd. They give the IV insulin and you taste it immediately … kind of a rubbery taste, much like you would imagine a bandaid tasting. But you don’t feel it at all. Takes a bit for the blood sugar to drop … in my case, almost exactly 26 minutes. And then you’re down there … chasing after the Red Queen and Alice. I get lightheaded, but since Benadryl is one of my pre-meds, I am already light-headed so I have to pay real close attention starting at about the 20-minute mark.

There is a point where, for me, the light-headedness turns a bit heavier … something deeper … where I feel myself pulling into myself, if that makes any sense at all. That’s when I call for the nurse. Yesterday, she thought another five minutes would be about right. Wrong. She walked out and within about 60 seconds, I had to have my hubby go get her with the chemo because when I start to go, evidently I go quick. That heaviness quickly turned into shaking and getting really light-headed … almost a place of desperation. Very strange indeed.

But then they pound the chemo via small syringe into my IV and, within a minute or two, I’m drinking an electrolyte replacement like Gatorade (but not Gatorade) and eating fruit followed by a sandwich. I haven’t been able to enjoy food in a few years now. It is a chore to be endured … the choices are few now … more like what can I get down and, on most menus, there’s not but one or two things. And they’re never the things a self-respecting cancer patient should eat for their health. Oh nooooo, never. So the dilemma … should I force myself to eat things that are alkalizing even though my body really can’t process them well and/or they don’t taste good any more … oh yeah, and they don’t have enough calories for the small amount I can eat? Or do I go for the calories and protein needs?

As far as enjoying food goes, that seems to be a thing of the past. I get hungry as in literal pain in my stomach.. But appetite is non-existent and, if you’ve never experienced a true loss of appetite, lemme tell you, not much food is going in when the appetite has disappeared. I never knew just how big a factor that appetite was. But when I’m hypoglycemic, omg!!!! Food tastes like it hasn’t in years! And I can’t get enough of it. That is a very unexpected pleasure. Gives me a huge bright side to my chemo day! So now I can think of things to bring to eat on chemo days that will taste uber good when in that rabbit hole place.

Well, my lymphatic massage gal just signaled me in … more next week after spending the weekend with my old college roommate raising cain!

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