A Little Catch Up

August 3, 2006

When I last left you, O Best Beloveds, I was on my way to what proved a hot and humid and otherwise utterly divine trip to New Orleans. Food porn to come, I vow, but first I have to write about it professionally (Frommer’s is tapping its collective foot), and also I have to recover from this week’s goop. Dr. Buzz Kill had me back in the chemo chair less than 14 hours after my return, and as a nice welcome home, otherwise brilliant Chemo Nurse Lisa could not hit a vein. It took her four whacks–and number two attempt was a loo-loo that had me crying, and her crying, and the couple across the way staring which made me hush up because I don’t want to upset anyone else and make them anxious–and a final last ditch attempt using my hitherto untapped left arm (the one I had the lymph nodes taken out of, which makes it a candidate for lymphodema, so we avoid doing anything to that arm). Victory! CNL left the needle in overnight, so we didn’t have to go through this again on Fluid Day, which didn’t help my battle against self-pity. Neither did visualizing lovely bowls full of shrimp in spicy garlic butter sauce, or sitting at Cafe du Monde with Brigid, Caroline and Jean, or in the warmth of the Abbyads kitchen…instead of taking me to a happy place, all that did was make me pissed off I wasn’t still there. I don’t know; these breaks are good for my spirits, but it’s harder and harder to come back to this crap afterward.

In the end, it was decided that I would, at long last, submit and go the port route. It’s disappointing; I’ve made it this long without it, but since it’s not going to get any better–my veins are fried, thanks to the Gem-whatever it is–it seems silly not to do something that will ease up my experience considerably. That the Gem-whatever also burned some this time, even with a good vein, only proves the point. The port means no hunting for veins, and no burning, as it’s in a big vein that can handle it. I’m resistant for a couple of silly reasons: 1) I don’t want another procedure, even one that will immediately help me, and 2) it’s just another way of being an actual Cancer Patient, rather than someone who just has this annoying long term problem. Plus, I keep thinking “But this is going to be over soon, right? So isn’t a port installation a lot of fuss for just another couple of go-rounds? Can’t I just make it without it?” But if it’s going to take four or more aborted IV tries twice a week even just for a handful more weeks, then, no, it’s not something I should wait out. Phooey.

So the plan is that a week from Monday I will go in to meet with the surgeon who will do the port procedure, and learn all about how much I’m going to loooooooove my port (Julia Sweeny has a routine about her brother and how much he LOVES his port), which I in fact believe to be true, I just don’t have to be nice about it before hand. Then I go in early Tuesday and get a minor sedation (knowing me, that means a heavy snooze, but hopefully no vomiting upon waking up), hang out in recovery for a bit, and then go right off to test the thing out with my regular chemo visit. Neat! Fun!

This whole thing is a little bit more sarcastic than I usually get, so forgive me. This week’s chemo has been somewhat more stomach-grinding and grog-inducing than usual (as I had suspected it might be; it’s cumulative), and I’m overly miffed about the port. All I need to do is start writing about NOLA food–I should here mention that in nine days, we didn’t have one meal that wasn’t terrific–and I will perk right up.

But first, a nap!