Angels as Bartenders in These Foolish Things

  • Sept. 9, 2021, 10:41 a.m.
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Where were we?

Last I wrote was the morning of Chemo #11. It’s kind of weird to say, but it was a good one. I’ll tell you why:

It’s nearing the end of this chemo treatment. My oncologist visit was good, with Hot Onc telling me how great I was doing through chemotherapy and that once chemo is done he’ll still be watching me closely - every three months for three years! On one hand, that seems awful, right? But on the other hand, it makes me feel safe-ish…knowing that I’ll be in good hands and watched.

The nurses were buzzing with excitement around me, telling me that I’m so close! Do you know how nice that is to hear? That infusion room is the closest thing to hell I think I’ve ever stepped foot in, and yet, it’s also saving my life. I love that the nurses are so encouraging and caring - it truly takes an incredible heart and soul to be able to walk into that infusion center day after day and take care of the scared and sick. It’s like they are part caregiver, part bartender (bringing patients their “poison” and delivering it with a smile and usually a story, joke, or simply quick wit), and part angel. Through nearly 12 poisonings, I have found a kind of love for this group.

And the other patients! Oh my gosh, every time I go to chemo I meet another incredible person. This last time, I was sad that I didn’t get a window seat, but I got as close as I could and found myself talking with the two ladies who did get the windows, one of them going through my same colon cancer treatment (FOLFOX). She was 84 years young! And she was ROCKING! We had such a wonderful talk and as she was leaving she told me that she had a whole lot of life left to live!

That’s the stuff that keeps me going.

Needless to say, Chemo #11 was the easiest torture yet - even with the horribleness of The Disco (disconnect) on Friday.

Yeah, Disco Days are always the roughest. I sometimes imagine it’s the closest thing to death that I’ve ever felt (even beating out two killer flus I’ve had in my life). My blood pressure drops, my throat feels closed and dry, and the fatigue sets in, giving me heavy arms, legs, head, soul. I describe it to friends as 10,000 hangovers in one. Once home, around 2pm, I literally fall into my couch, turn on the TV and vegetate/sleep until the next morning (but fitting in a necessary dog walk, which is probably life-saving as it gets me up and moving a little).


And then Saturdays after Disco are usually not too bad.

Last Saturday, I’d scheduled myself a haircut in the morning and I wanted to run some errands downtown so I’d also scheduled for Martini to go to her old doggy daycare to see her old peeps.

That meant I needed to get up super early and get the dog out for a good walk.

So I threw on a little sundress and my hat (no makeup and I forgot to put my tooth in…do you remember, before cancer dx I was in the middle of getting an implant and have a flipper for that space in my mouth) and ran out the door with Martini and who should I see almost immediately???

Yep. The Donut Cowboy and his dog, Toby!

Ugh! I should have known.

It was great to see him and he seemed really happy to see me, but I was so self-conscious and tried not to smile very much.

We walked and talked a little. He knew I was fresh off of my chemo, so I think he cut me a lot of slack, ha! But I had to cut our visit short because I needed to get ready for the day and get my hair washed before I ran downtown and to the salon (also remember, I can’t put my head back in a salon sink anymore since my carotid artery dissection, so I have to wash my hair at home in the shower and then put it up in a towel turban before I get haircuts).

I made it to daycare and to my hair appointment, but I 100% ran out of steam during errands so I went and got the dog early and went home and crashed.

That was all she wrote for Saturday.

Sunday was a lovely day and I slept in a little and then went to take Martini on her long walk. I made sure to look extra cute, but alas, I never saw the Donut Cowboy the rest of the weekend. Boooooo.

Honestly, the rest of my long weekend was spent watching YouTube videos of home decor DIYs, making faux flower arrangements (succulents and tropical for guest bathroom) taking walks, eating, sipping tiny bits of bubbly, napping, instagramming, and writing notes to friends.

I had a bout of pretty severe loneliness/jealousy after getting a text from Best Bud telling me all about how she was partying with friends all weekend. I suppose it was more jealousy than loneliness, because honestly, I am so in love with hanging out in the Treehouse. But man, it just hit me hard to get joyous drunk texts about things in which I can’t participate.

Cancer during Covid is a tough pill to swallow. I know it sucks for everyone, and I’m sorry about that, but being extra, EXTRA cautious is almost maddening. I’m so angry at anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers and anti-anythingers, but there’s not much I can do about it except bitch.

I told you I got my booster vaccine, right? I’m so glad I got that. But a booster doesn’t help get me out and about to socialize with so many vaccinated people still getting Covid. I have no idea how Covid would affect me right now.

I told a story on social media about a neighbor of my parents who was such a super anti-vaxxer that he actually wrote a book about how anyone getting vaccinated is going to DIE within the year! I mean, what the actual???

The guy went so far as to ask my dad to help finance the publishing of this book. Of course, my dad declined, but uhhhh - the audacity!

Well, guess what? Dad told me on Tuesday that he’d died…from Covid. Neat, huh?

I mean, can the 2020s get any weirder? I can’t imagine, but nothing really surprises me anymore.

OK. Better get a move on. It’s been a productive morning for me at work so far, but I’ve now taken enough time writing this entry. Gotta get back to other stuff. Don’t get me started on the stuff going on at work - it will make me feel worse than a disconnect day :(

But just know that ILYSM!!

Last updated September 09, 2021

Elaine Benes September 09, 2021

I am also reassured you’ll be followed closely by your doctors for a good long while. Have they explained what that might entail? Tests, scans, etc? Congrats on just one more to go!

Ginger Snap Elaine Benes ⋅ September 09, 2021

So yes, my next step after chemo is a new set of scans. I already have that scheduled. After that, not quite sure. I was talking with my PCP yesterday and told him that I have the scan scheduled (October 13th!!! Already feeling "scanxiety" as the cancer patients call it), but I didn't know what would happen after that. He told me that it's my job to simply show up.

Jinn September 09, 2021

Hugs!!! So glad you are almost through this !

Ginger Snap Jinn ⋅ September 09, 2021

Thank you. Meee toooo!

Complicated Disaster September 09, 2021

You're SO smashing that cancer!! <3 xx

Ginger Snap Complicated Disaster ⋅ September 09, 2021

Thanks, friend!!xo

colder September 09, 2021

I legitimately have thought a few times that I should not complain at all because there are people like Ginger who have to be extra extra cautious during all of this. The perspective keeps me in check.

Ginger Snap colder ⋅ September 09, 2021

Aw, yeah. Well, I do believe we all have a right to complain over the last year and 1/2. It sucks for everyone. But the extra, extra is pretty exhausting and disheartening.

colder Ginger Snap ⋅ September 10, 2021

Well, I also think - hey, that could be any of us tomorrow. Could be me. May well be someday. I have to maintain that gratitude and empathy now… and those things are in short supply these days. You seem to have a nice store of both, though 👍🏻

pandora September 09, 2021

Wow re the neighbour!! I… have no words. You sound so good! And those nurses, just the thought of them being so sweet and supportive makes me want to cry.

Ginger Snap pandora ⋅ September 09, 2021

I promise you I'm probably going to start crying the second I walk in the door to the infusion room for my last chemo. I love those nurses so much.

Parliament September 09, 2021

I love your haircut.

Ginger Snap Parliament ⋅ September 09, 2021

Aw, and I love YOU!

WhatDreamsMayCome September 09, 2021

Your story is a great one. Your attitude puts it over the top.
Best wishes all the way around!

Marg September 11, 2021

Sod’s Law on the tooth and Donut Cowboy situation - I gather it’s not a prominent tooth though? I have a flipper for two of my front teeth and I can’t even take it out at night because I look so gross without it! And I was away to ask how the hell that book got published but now I’m thinking it was probably a self-publishing affair? He’s sure not going to sell many copies once folk find out how he died! :) I’m so glad you’ve only got one more treatment session to go - you’ve weathered that storm admirably which is amazing considering you’ve had all the worry of COVID on top. Surely you’ve had all your share of Life Crap now and 2022 will be your turn for an abundance of Life’s Joys?? God knows you deserve them! :)

plushcreep September 12, 2021

Anti-anythingers suck. I don't wish ill on anybody, but man, Karma came calling for that guy, didn't it? Can't say I'll shed any tears over that.

bobbi01 September 13, 2021

Do you get to ring a bell after your last chemo? I hope so, you so deserve recognition for all you have been through.

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