Dave has his own routines and preparations for chemo days. He makes sure his Nook (now his Kindle Paperwhite) is charged up and ready to read. He packs bottled water, snacks and his insulin and meter. After he showers, he uses a lidocain cream on his port which numbs the skin so when it is “accessed” he doesn’t feel any discomfort. The bulk of his preparation is mental though, I’d say. Understandably he is usually a little grumpy the morning of or even the day before chemo. He has to brace himself and get himself psyched up for another round of feeling crappy. I don’t know how he does it.
I don’t routinely go with him on chemo days. When he starts a new medication, I will usually go just in case he has an adverse reaction which would make driving home unsafe or challenging. Although he has been on Irinotecan before, I am going today because it is a much longer drive home and we don’t know how quickly or strongly he might react this time around. I have my own little things that I do when I go with him to appointments. I don’t wear my normal perfume or any kind of scented lotion. If your stomach is already queasy, the last thing you want to do is have to sit next to someone wearing a strong scent. I pack mints and bottled water ever aware of morning coffee breath. There is one involuntary response that I have that I can’t seem to avoid. Whenever I am in a situation that requires quiet, like a concert or speech or sitting in a doctor’s office, inevitably I will begin to cough. Nothing brings on a cough faster than being in a waiting room with the sign that reads “If you are ill, please see the receptionist for a mask or reschedule your appointment”. I will be as healthy as a horse and that cough comes on. I am sure it is stress. The last thing I would want to do in a room full of immunocompromised people would be to spread germs. I don’t blame them for giving me the stink eye. So, today armed with assorted candies and drinks, I am hoping to stave off the nervous cough.
I’ll let you know how today’s treatment goes. Here’s hoping to stopping those numbers from rising and stomping those tumors back into place.