On the morning of my first chemo round I nervously approached the Oncology Day Stay Unit. The staff were so lovely. They are very welcoming, trying to put you at ease, especially when it's your first time. You can tell the newbies - we still have our hair! I was set up in my comfortable lazyboy chair. Beth and I were greeted by the other patients and their support people. Everyone is so friendly. There is a real sense of camaraderie and support, that we're all in this together. Finally I was settled in and the morning was progressing well. Beth wandered up to the cafe to get me some treats and everything seemed to be going to plan. I was feeling way more relaxed. This was not as bad as I thought it would be...
Apparently about 5% of people are hypersensitive to the chemo drugs. It turns out that I am one of them! After a while the sensitivity kicked in followed by an allergic reaction to the drug they used to manage it. I felt like I was going to black out. My usually low blood pressure and steady heart rate shot up. I was so shaky with the shock. Suddenly it was how many medical professionals can you get in one room?
So while the other patients are sitting peacefully receiving their chemo and chatting quietly with their support people, I'm all sobbing and fainty with 25 medical staff around me! Not the day Beth and I had envisioned!! Eventually everything calmed down and I resumed chemo with the second drug, which proved to be absolutely uneventful. Whew! Our lovely friend Zoe had arrived at the height of the madness with a beautiful corsage for our chemo date. Finally I was able to put on my corsage and enjoy the fine company of Zoe and Beth.
It was a long day. You know you've stayed too long at the party when they start stacking the furniture and mopping the floors around you! We gathered up our things. Beth went to get the car and I made my way to the door. The Cancer Society had left bunches of daffodils there for people to take home. So when Beth came back to get me, she found a shaky lady by the door holding a bunch of daffodils in one hand and a bright yellow Cancer Society balloon in the other!
The perfect ending I think... Round One of chemo with a side of daffodils.
Daffodils in Wellington for Daffodil Day.
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They give us all hope!