The whole cancer story.
All the waiting was leading up to Monday. Siobhan’s Mom arrived on Sunday and, anticipating a big day, we all retired early.
We arrived at the Cancer Centre around 8;30 Monday morning, went up to the 5th floor and checked in to the little hospital ward. Then it was back down to the lab on 3 so she could have her blood drawn.
Shortly after we got back up to her room her nurse, Phillip, showed up and took her vitals and, eventually, got an IV line into her. Then Dr Cooper (not at all like Coop from Nurse Jackie) stopped by and laid out the day’s game plan. Once her blood work came back, and assuming all was good with it, they’d start pumping fluids into her via the IV and once that was done they’d hook up the chemo bag. After it was all in her, it was back to the plain fluids. Oh yeah, and the time there would be peeing. Lots and lots of peeing. And during all this she would go down for her first radiation treatment too.
The blood work was good so they hung a 1 litre bag of fluids and we all sat around watching it drain. And drain. And drain. Then it was time for radiation so the IV was unhooked and the porter brought her down in a wheel chair. First to the mould room so they could do a couple of last minute adjustments to her mask, then downstairs to the radiation therapy rooms where she got her fist dose. Back up to her room and the IV was hooked up again.
She was well hydrated. It was around 5:30 when the chemo bag was hung, and it would take about 2 hours to drain. By now she’d been given a handful of anti-nausea drugs which were definitely having an effect.
When the chemo was done it was time for more fluids. Another litre bag was hung and it slowly made its way into her system. The day was wearing on us all, and we were all getting pretty tired. Her Mom, Josie, said she was staying overnight there so I went home and got a few hours sleep before getting back before 6AM (when Josie’s parking pass would expire).
WAITING FOR RADIATION
The Tuesday radiation appointment wasn’t until 2:30. This meant sitting around in the hospital ward until then. We tried to get it moved to the morning, but apparently it was pretty busy down there so no dice. We had one final visit with Dr Cooper and he explained the 7 (!) prescriptions we had to get filled and more warnings about upcoming side-effects. So many side-effects.
Finally got discharged and had the radiation treatment and went home. The cats were, of course, indifferent – almost like they didn’t realize she’d been gone for 30 hours – to her arrival.
The radiation treatments on Wednesday and Thursday both went off without a hitch. The treatments themselves are less than 10 minutes and it looks like if we show up early, she gets in early.
AND SO ON
And that’s pretty much what’s going to be happening for the next few weeks. Daily radiation from Monday – Friday wit the occasional, intrusive, chemo session. But we’ve already seen a dramatic change.
I can’t say enough about the various nurses and doctors and other staff we’ve dealt with at the Cancer Centre. Every single person has been kind, helpful and generous. They have made this a far more bearable process.