24 January – day #5, post-chemo

Things I’m grateful for:

1. Home-cooked meals prepared with love and care.

2. My daughter’s little teddy bear, that she wanted me to take to the hospital. It reminds me of her gentle, sweet spirit every time I look at him.

3. My resilience and sense of the ridiculous over this bizarre turn of events.

4. My ability to engage with a wide variety of people.

Welp, time to over-share here for a moment. I haven’t… umm… pooped in about three days even with the stool softener meds I’ve been given. I told my nurse about this last night and this morning just before shift change, she brought me a couple containers of prune juice. ??? Really? You want me to actually drink that stuff? I’ve had prunes and I rather like them, but juice? With some trepidation I poured the thick dark liquid into the styrene cup I’d been given. It smelled a bit like smoky molasses.

Huh. Who’d a thunk it. Prune juice. It is a warrior’s drink! :))

And OMG, it works.

It’s nearly noon and I’m waiting to be whisked off to radiology for my lumbar tap. After the procedure I’ll have to be flat on my back with my feet slightly raised for several hours. The techs are going to draw a bit of spinal fluid in order to check for leukemic cells. If they find any, the chemo will be injected right into the spinal column, rather like an epidural. I don’t know why this doesn’t make me nervous, but it sounds so straightforward that I’m not really worried. Just another part of the treatment.

Great. I got some odd attitude from one of the techs down in Radiology that rankled a bit. She asked me what I was being treated for and when I said, “A.L.L.,” her response was a long “Oohhh…” which in this case, sounded like verbal shorthand for “I’m so sorry, but you’re f*cked and haven’t got a chance in hell of surviving.” Are you effing kidding me? I don’t need that kind of negativity. Yes, I know I’ve got a long hard fight in front of me but in my mind, I’m already well on the way to full recovery. Yes, I know this disease can be a killer but there are survivors. I can’t afford to think about the “what if” scenarios right now. My family and friends are all pulling for me and I’m doing my level best to stay positive. I have an excellent doctor and great nurses. I have a helluva lot to live for. I’m not giving up, not by a long shot.

Uuurrghh… not feeling great heading into bedtime. Angela, my night nurse, just checked my vitals and I’m running a low fever, which probably means that my white cell counts have bottomed out and my body doesn’t quite know how to handle that.