I am trying to sort out, organize and manage my upcoming appointments and it’s proving to be complicated. Here is a snapshot of what my schedule looks like between now and Nov 18. And this does not include the actual stem cell transplant process, which will have its own calendar.
It is unrelenting!
Aug 31 – Chemo #6 Sept 5 – Weekly Bloodwork at LifeLabs Sept 7 – Chemo #7 Sept 11 – Bloodwork and Appointment with Dr. Tiedemann to clear me for cycle 3 of chemo Sept 12 – Chest X-Ray/CT scan – Thorax. Weekly Bloodwork at LifeLabs Sept 14 – Chemo #8 Sept 19 – Weekly Bloodwork at LifeLabs Sept 21 – Chemo #9 Sept 26 – Weekly Bloodwork at LifeLabs Sept 28 – Chemo #10 Oct 3 – Weekly Bloodwork at LifeLabs Oct 5 – Chemo #11 Oct 9 – Echocardiogram (Heart Scan). Electrocardiogram. Pulmonary Function (Lung Test). Oncology Dental Appointment Oct 11 – Weekly Bloodwork at LifeLabs Oct 12 – Chemo #12 Oct 17 – Bloodwork and Appt. with Dr. Tiedemann to clear me for cycle 4 of chemo Oct 19 – Chemo #13 Oct 24 – Weekly Bloodwork at LifeLabs Oct 26 – Chemo #14 Oct 31 – Weekly Bloodwork at LifeLabs Nov 2 – Chemo #15 Nov 7 – Weekly Bloodwork at LifeLabs Nov 9 – Chemo #16 (the Final one – Hurray!) Nov 13 – Bloodwork. Clinic Appointment with Dr. Tiedemann to clear me for Autologous Stem Cell Transplant. Meeting with transplant coordinator. Nov 18 – Surgery at Toronto General Hospital, to insert Hickman line into my chest, in preparation for Stem Cell Transplant. Sometime after Nov 25 to to Dec ? High dose chemo and stem cell transplant.
At this rate, I will be practically living in the hospital and the year will be over before I know it. And during this period, I have a pretty heavy client workload that I intend to honour. This is looking quite insane, even for me, but the only way I know how to cope is to consciously make a choice to live life and not get caught up in the vicissitudes and vagaries of cancer.
The Dexa continues to provide me with moments of merriment on chemo days. My family does not see it the same way. Case in point: After one of my appointments at Princess Margaret last week, Nagib, Sabrina and I went to Cineplex-Yonge Dundas Square to watch Alladin. When the song, “Prince Ali, Fabulous He, Ali Ababwa” came on, I jumped up from my seat and started to dance, rather energetically, much to Nagib’s discomfort and consternation. At the end of the movie, I clapped with all my might, while Nagib pretended that he did not know me. We are trying to find a happy medium, where he does not have to be serious caregiver all the time, and I respect his need for rules and order.
In the meantime, my friend Leila from Vancouver, is having a grand old time coming up with clever dexa-related puns like: “Till Dex do us part.” “Time to shuffle the Dex.” “Not playing with a full Dex.” “Dex in the City.” And as Rod Stewart would say, “Do ya think I’m Dexy?!”
My appetite is all over the place. There are days when I can enjoy every morsel I put in my mouth; and then there are others when I can’t even fathom eating. My mom has been trying to coax me by making my favourite foods, only to see me pick at it reluctantly. And when she sees me eat, her joy knows no bounds. With her indominable will, she insists on making me a daily concoction of carrot juice, beets and celery, and adds to it anything she hears that might make me better. It’s moments like this that I just want to hold my 92-year old mom close and never let her go.
Shayne, Sabrina, Afzal and Cherrelle have now all returned home to Kenya. Parting is such sweet sorrow. I have so many wonderful, poignant, fun, beautiful, joyous memories of their visit and will await to see them again in December when we “Dex the halls with boughs of holly.”
August 31, 2019. Today was my sixth chemotherapy treatment. Nagib and I started the day for brunch at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village before we headed to the hospital.
For Nagib’s sanity, I have only taken half the dose of dexa today, and will take the other half tomorrow. It is an experiment to see if this makes me less manic, cushions the inevitable crash and keeps our relationship in harmony.