Friday, 3 October 2008

Second Chimio

There, now. You have a new French word: chimio, short for chimiothérapie. Sh sound.

I love rolling up to the hospital and seeing the staff sitting outside for a cigarette break. Not right outside the cancer wing -- those are the visitors -- but next door. Hello in there!

This is Dr. Litor. She's much prettier than this.
I think I embarrassed her when I asked her for a
I embarrassed myself, too.

First stop: doctor. Good news: my CA-125 count, a marker, which had doubled in two weeks, has halved, again. It's still about 25 times as high as it should be, but the drop does mean I'm reacting to treatment. Bad news: I've gained 3 kilos. I do believe I'll have to stop spoiling myself quite so much.

The session went just like the first one, really -- nothing to report, medically. But the hospital was even more disorganised than last time and I had to wait even longer. The pharmacy was closing for the afternoon; some kind of maintenance, maybe repairs from the floods last month.

I didn't know this, but each patient's drugs are mixed in the pharmacy right before treatment, so yesterday all the afternoon patients had to come in during the morning, making a great shortage of beds. A nurse finally came around with a blood pressure machine on a roller rack and measured and took temperatures in the waiting area. Some were offered portable tables and lunch. The nurses promised me the next bed and asked if I'd mind waiting for lunch. No, not at all. Meantime, they started the infusion in the doctor's office and I sat in the waiting area until a bed was available. And lunch.

I amaze my Type A self that I don't get impatient; all because the nurse in the original interview warned me that they're always behind. Waiting is so much less a trial when you're prepared for it.

My roommate this time was a 28-year-old mother of three with breast cancer. Because her breasts are small -- she's terribly athletic looking -- they did a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy, so now she has reconstruction surgery to look forward to after her chemo and radio. Talk about unfair.

She had a great wig. I thought it was her hair and, after spending time with the coiffeuse in the morning, I was so sure I could tell the difference, too. It was very short, but she said her own is normally shorter. Punk, I suspect. Anyway, she was nice enough to say she thought my hair was real, too.

I'm still not crazy about it. I'm going to get more cut off.

Unfortunately, when I sent Nick to the pharmacist for my prescriptions I forgot to give him the one for Zophren and I'm having to struggle without until about three this afternoon. I do have my other anti-nausea pills and cokes, so I'm not doing too badly, but I'm looking forward to 3 o'clock.

I also slept badly last night for the first time in 2 or 3 months. Got up, watched the debate recap, read the reviews and went back to bed. Mio was still on the pillow. I grabbed a set of legs in each hand and wrapped her around my head.

I thought it best not to wake Nick at 5:00 am to get the appropriate picture.


  1. Are doctors allowed to wear that kinda footwear in France? HA!

    Chimio is like pregnancy: cut yourself some slack on the diet/weight. If it's fluid retention, can you take a diuretic?

    Good on the numbers, bad on the Rx wait. Is there a way to fill the necessary scripts before you really need them?

    I went to a few sessions with a friend. The waiting room times should have seemed interminable. Somehow they weren't. I believe it was due to perspective.

    I like your wig, but I like your real hair and the hats better. I would think a stranger wouldn't be able to tell the difference - looks real. It is human hair, ain't it??

    Read the journal. What are the splotches?

    I'm glad Mio was there for you.

  2. That's a wig? You can't tell in the don't look that dissimilar to other pics I've seen of you, anyway.

    Wondering if lunch in a French hospital is better than lunch in a US hospital...

  3. There's no problem with the prescriptions; I just have to remember them. I'm pretty sure I will next time.

  4. Lunch in the two Montélimar hospitals is actually *good*. I only had a light lunch on Thursday,though: a slice of excellent ham, a roll, buttered pasta, yogurt and applesauce. At the clinic I had things like duck, boeuf bourgignon. . .

  5. Don't sweat the weight. That's the least of your worries.
    All chemo is specially mixed for each patient. Your dose is weight-based, so it's very individual.
    I really like your wig. I think it looks very real.

  6. I've worn the wig twice now and am sort of getting used to it, but I'm still going to get it cut some more.