Today we picked up a chocolate and peanut butter ice cream cake. It’s all planned out: I have my last chemotherapy treatment on Thursday (December 23rd) at 2.30pm, after which we’ll come home and order a pizza. Following the pizza we’ll have a champagne toast (really non-alcoholic fizzy apple juice) and cake. When asked what should be written on the cake, Mom told them “W-O-H-O-O-!-!-!” Wohoo, baby!Chances are I’ll be a chemo zombie during the celebration – but nevertheless, I’ll be a happy chemo zombie. It may be emotional. (what else is new?)
Last Friday went really well. I showed up to the Cancer Centre and was shortly thereafter shown to my bed.
Differences between England and Ottawa:
England: I have an easy chair. Premeds are taken in one bag. Treatment takes 2 hours. I know all the nurses. There is a terrible chemical smell. Someone chances my picc line bandages. No one takes my blood pressure.
Ottawa: I have a bed. Premeds are given in several small bags. Treatment takes 2.5 hours. I don’t know any of these nurses. There is a state of the art facility that does not smell. No one changes my picc line bandages. Someone takes my blood pressure.
The chemo ward in Ottawa is really beautiful. It’s so big and light and spacious – quite fancy. Yet I do miss knowing the nurses and having that familiarity I had so struggled to originally achieve (but which made the process much easier). It’s strange because I can’t quite joke with them, or ask how things are going, or see what’s new from last time. Mind you, so what? Right? This isn’t my life, and I never want to it become my life. Chemotherapy is done (almost) and so those connections would have ended regardless. But I do miss my nurses.
Mom, Dad and I arrived at the Center in Ottawa and Dad had to stay in the waiting room. Only one person per patient allowed. Dr Canada said ‘serious things are happening, so we take that seriously’. He then said it was basically to reduce the amount of chatter. Funny eh, chatter. In the UK the chemo ward was full of chatter. Serious things were happening, but everyone was happy for a distraction.
Apparently in Ottawa it’s policy that with my chemotherapy I’m given a bed. I choose a berth beside their giant window (a wall made of windows) and enjoyed the view. Frankly, it is nicer than back in England . . . I can’t lie – money has clearly been poured into this place and it makes a difference. There were so many times over the past five months that I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to see the sky?’ as they pumped the drugs into my veins. I more or less envisioned a spa-like retreat with cedar flooring, a central fire place, Enya music, people in bathrobes and tempting steam rooms – well, this new centre isn’t exactly spa like, but it’s still quite nice.
There is a difference. I think it reflects funding. But you know what, the nurses are still lovely. I really admire nurses and couldn’t toot their horn more loudly. They always have a smile and a kind word. Cheers to the nurses!
After chemo we came home and I slide into my parents bed. The rest of the day was spend watching Modern Family, talking to Zsolt, eating some rice pita pizza and just resting. It was tiring, but it’s always tiring. Today I feel better, and that follows my pattern. Chemo day, followed by two good days, followed by two difficult days, followed by a better day, followed by chemo again. And so we go – until next week.
What will happen in the weeks to come? I don’t know. Will I be on a high from the freedom? Will I be on a low from the sudden lack of drugs? Who knows. But one thing is for sure, this part of the journey is nearly over; I will cope with the change and move past it.
Goodbye chemotherapy. I hope we worked well together. So well, in fact, that this job never need be repeated. Goodbye.
(Until next Thursday, but after that I really mean it. GOODBYE!)
PS – tomorrow is the Brunelle Family traditional Christmas trip to St Hubert’s. Oh yeah baby! I am looking forward to some ribs, fries and awesome gravy. Yum freaking yum.