I Don’t Have Time for Cancer!

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So many people have asked me why I haven’t been writing in my blog and ironically I answer “it’s because I don’t have time for cancer”. Six years ago when I first went through treatment, I made the time to write about my experiences. This time, though, I am focusing much of my efforts on continuing my computer business and drum lessons, but also have opened a new chapter in my life…getting my book in the hands of cancer patients and their caregivers.

To that end, I have started a new company that will allow companies to purchases a case of books which I will donate in that company’s name to a cancer center. Starting another company is time consuming, but I truly believe that I contracted this disease to help others get through it. So that makes starting this company exciting and so rewarding for me.

In the meantime, I do have stories to tell. So let’s talk about my mid treatment CT Scan on June 2nd. I had Mother Theresa take me to my Scan up at the hospital and we arrived a bit early. I wasn’t able to eat or drink anything that morning so I was thrilled to be presented with the “lemonade flavored Chrystal Lite” like solution they gave me to drink moments after I checked in. I commented to mom that we should get out early given how quickly they have attended to me.

Within 1/2 hr. a nurse came into the waiting room and invited me back with her so she could access my port and get the process started. I complied while leaving mom in the waiting room watching Jerry Springer (not her choice) on the TV. The nurse was very pleasant and listened to my specific requests for cleaning my port area with Betadine (I’m allergic to the regular stuff) and other requirements. When she inserted the needle, she was able to push saline through the port but could not get a blood draw (critical to proceed). This has happened before and usually if I cough it clears it up. Not this time, I coughed, I sang, I raised my arms, I was flipped backwards in the recliner and eventually transferred to a gurney. Nothing worked. My nurse even took the needle out and inserted it again in a slightly different spot. Nothing.

So my nurse called the treatment center and the head nurse was summoned to the Imaging Center to take care of Pam Lacko. When Siobhan came down to help, she too had problems with my port. We did the singing trick, the coughing and all of that and she determined I had a clot in the port. Now I’ve had my port for 6 years which is somewhat unusual in that most patients have it removed after their treatment is complete. My veins still do not cooperate and because I need blood drawn every month for the rest of my life (to test my cancer marker), I decided to keep my port as long as possible. So Siobhan called Petra (my oncology nurse) to get a doctor’s order for a “clot buster”.

Meanwhile, it’s been 2 hours and I have been holding my “lemonade flavored Chrystal Lite” like concoction and I am desperate to pee. I have mentioned this to everyone that has worked on me saying that I really need to pee but am holding out for the CT Scan. My nurse Petra came down with a vile of something (the clot buster) and instructed the nurse to administer it and then to try and get a blood draw every 15 minutes until it worked. Mother Theresa was invited back to keep me company and keep my mind off of my uncomfortable situation.

Luckily, when the nurse came back in 15 minutes and tried the port, it was clear and working fine. I announced that we really need to get me in the CT Scan machine ASAP or I was going to have an accident. So she called the room and came back to tell me that the technician said it would be another 10 minutes. 10 minutes later, Debbie came out of the Scan room and said I could come in. I told her that I really had to go to the bathroom and I had been holding it for two and half hours. She said, “oh you didn’t have to hold it. You could have gone to the restroom anytime.” I answered, “really?” Needless to say my first stop was the ladies room before the scan. What a relief. And my scan came back negative, which is great news!

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