June 8, 2012
First Chemo done!
I survived! All the anxiety I had the night before had been calmed in the morning through prayer and supplication.
Both my daughter and son shared in this experience with me at University of Chicago. I think it really helped to begin in prayer. We actually traveled first to the National Shrine of St. Jude on 91st Street on the South Side of Chicago. The Shrine has been a special place of prayer for my parents and I have always supported their mission too. But to sit in silence with your children, light a candle and offer up prayers of mercy and love is really powerful.
It was exactly how I wanted to begin chemotherapy. I am so glad they were with me also. After a half hour or so, we as the Lord to keep me safe, to be with all those ministering to me today and to help with the side effects that are to come later and we left the church. St. Jude is the patron saint of the impossible. As a disciple of Christ, asking him to pray for you also to our Lord is very powerful. Just as we ask our friends to intercede for us, Catholics believe the Saints are intercessors on our behalf in heaven. I love those images and richness of the Communion of Saints we talk about in the Creed.
After we left the church, I wanted to go to my roots. We drove south one block to 92nd Street, which was the street of the home I grew up in until moving to the suburbs. My first six years of life were right off of 92nd and Stony Island. And the home looked beautiful. I blogged about returning to my roots at my other blog: www.balancinglifeandfaith.wordpress.com.
Now I could not avoid the inevitable. And I really was not trying to. I wanted this first Chemotherapy to have a ritual, focused on faith and my life. And it was perfect. My adult children were happy to pacify me and were glad they were with me.
Checking into University of Chicago 6D in the DCAM building – Oncology department. Welcome and move right over to 6E for infusion. After taking my vitals and checking my blood work, they escorted me to the infusion center. Since there were three of us, they placed us in a corner window area. Funny thing, Jaclyn and Zachary got to face the window, I looked at the nurses station. Oh how I longed to look out, even if it was just as other hospital buildings. The sun was out and shining, it was 3:00 pm.
After going over all the “newbie” information. They had me take some nausea medicine that would take a half hour to kick in before the infusion. First came the “red devil” as many call it. The Adriamycin needs to be pushed in. That means, Sharon, the wonderful oncology nurse, pushed the toxic chemicals into the IV and watches it go in, while periodically pulling back to see blood is flowing also. This took some time. This is called the red devil by many become of its potency. But I saw it as a saving chemical that will be attacking the rapid growing cancer cells.
After completing that round, we waited about twenty minutes, then began the Cytoxan. This is a drip from the IV pole and gives you a terrible metallic taste in your mouth. So as we were talking Sharon suggested when I wanted, someone should get me a sucker from the nurses station to help with the taste.
After a few minutes, I needed to have something to help with my taste buds and asked my daughter to grab a sucker. She said “what flavor” so I said, “grape”. I was starting to tire and feel the side effects were kicking in. So she went and grabbed a grape sucker for me. Oh course I could not open it one-handed. My left arm is still very limited movement from surgery and my right arm has the IV in it. Reminder to get the port placed before my next chemo treatment.
So my daughter opened the sucker and I could not believe it. On the side that was facing me, was a “J”. We laughed and thought that was cute. Then I said “Look!” The other side had a “C”. Now someone might say it was the sucker manufacturer, but I know it was a sign from Jesus Christ, that he was with me and . He had my back.
I was comforted.
Not only were my children with my, My Lord was with me too.
I knew I would be alright, no matter what side effects I had to deal with.
I was not alone on this journey.
After completing the infusion, we left and although I was thoroughly fatigued as we drove home, I was filled with grace.
Grace embraced through a simple sucker to help me with a side effect, but went so much deeper to the core of my heart. Thank you Lord for every miracle I have been able to experience..