Cancer log 157: I was…

Cancer log 157: I was feeling anxious about the infusion today (because they've had some trouble accessing my port the last few months, and it's been painful and stressful), and they'd recommended I take a Xanax before coming in today, so I did.

And on the one hand, I was totally chill about the needle pokery, so it worked, and that was good. (Also, I got my favorite nurse, the one with the incredibly sure hands and who is also super-communicative and informative and keep in mind she has a six-month-old and a two-year-old and a husband who works full-time and has also signed up as a volunteer firefighter this past year, meaning a lot of time away from the house, so she is clearly some kind of superhuman and I love her, but that is all tangential, so I'm going to close this parenthesis now.)

But Xanax apparently makes me so relaxed that I get chatty. The one time I had it before, for the areola biopsy (gosh, just saying the words makes me wince), I was super-chatty all the way through the procedure. And today, instead of reading my book or playing video games the way I normally do, I started chatting with the woman sitting next to me. And I asked her, "How long are you here for," meaning, is this a 1/2 hr infusion like mine, or one of the longer ones. But she misunderstood me, and thought I was asking how long she'd been in treatment.

So she told me, and it turns out that she'd had breast cancer and done chemo and a lumpectomy and radiation, just like me. But then the cancer came back. And so they'd tried some other things, including a bilateral mastectomy. And now they think it's gone, but they're not sure, and they're trying to decide whether to stop the follow-up treatments or not, and all together, it's been five years of treatment now.

I think I must have looked a little freaked, because she suddenly started trying to reassure me, explaining various reasons why her cancer was unusual (her initial treatment was interrupted for some months, and this was all before the Herceptin + Pertuzumab combo was approved, and something something inflammatory I'm not sure what that means). And I nodded and smiled, and not long after, I was done.

I went to the grocery store, and cooked a new curry and wrote down the recipe, and had lunch with a friend, and helped Anand with his performance anxiety and drove everyone to and from the kindergarten showcase tonight (he did great), and I somehow got through it all. But then I came home and just burst into tears. And have been crying off and on for a couple hours.

I did just get up and strip the bed and change the sheets, which I've been meaning to do for a couple of weeks, but just hadn't gotten around to, and slipping back into lovely clean sheets actually helped. Thank you to past me for washing the other sheets and putting them away nicely.

It's been a super busy, heavily scheduled week, much more so than normal, and I haven't had nearly enough downtime or writing time, and maybe that's all it is. Or maybe the Xanax has emotional meltdowns as a side effect? But I have to think that some of it was that my chemo-compatriot freaked me out a little bit. Which wasn't her fault at all, poor woman, and in fact, she was remarkably cheerful and matter-of-fact about her own situation, and I hope if I end up in treatment for five freakin' YEARS that I end up with exactly her attitude about it all.

But still. Rough day.

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