Today I begin my second round of chemo meds, Taxol and Herceptin. I'm doing my very, very best to be brave. The build-up to today has been full of angst but this morning I woke up with a sense of faith and peace. It was kind of like magic. Or a miracle. Or something. Of course I like to go to that realm and not the pragmatic possibility that it is the steroid pre meds I began last night that bathe me invincible. I want to be holy, not medicated.
I fear this Taxol stuff because there is an elevated risk of allergic reaction that manifests as anaphylaxis during infusion. My oncologist and the chemo nurses and all that I have read tell me that "most people" do not have this reaction. But when it comes to Anaphylactic Shock I am not like "most people." Back in the 80's and 90's I had several episodes of going into anaphylactic shock that required an ambulance ride to the emergency room to turn it around. I went though the whole gamut of testing to find the cause, the allergen, and it could never be defined. It often happened when I was outside doing some form of exercise. Once it happened when I was in the garage sorting the laundry. I learned just how scary this severe reaction could be. You can't breathe and you lose consciousness. Once the hives transformed my face so dramatically that my husband wasn't sure it was me being removed from the ambulance. But time went on, and I learned to use antihistamines prophylactically and I was never without carrying an epi pen. The fear left behind really infringed on my exercising. But the episodes seemed to go away over time.
Then last May when I took a vacation up in the mountains to dream and prepare for my Pacific Crest Trail hiking adventure I was planning for this spring, you may remember this posting. While at the cabin it happened again. I knew the first signs, and since I knew just what was happening I took Benadryl and drove to the ER immediately. It wasn't nearly as bad and I was fine. But the bummer was, what I had thought was past was still lurking. And anaphylaxis is life threatening when you are "special".
So I am not "most people". My oncologist told me I was "special" at my appointment on Tuesday. Nice word, Dr. Zhang. But special is not what I want to be today. Special my ass. No, he is smart, and sweet, and was being kind and playful. I trust him whole-heartedly.
A recent prompt in my writing group was to copy a list of words and then choose 5 from them with your eyes closed, then free write for twenty minutes without editing about "a first" in your life. You were to use the words you chose from the bowl in your piece. Of course I was planning on something to do with romance or friendship. But I never got to this assignment. And then this morning I had the whim to write about my first day on Taxol. And here are my words. I actually have six because two stuck together on my last draw.
slope. wing. edge. crimson. kiss. hair.
We'll see what I come up with.
So my friends, I am apprehensive this morning - and calling out for prayers, good thoughts, blessings, wild dances, song, sacred space, novenas, meditations, reiki...whatever your thing is, I'm calling out for it! My appointment is at 10:30 and the infusion takes "210 minutes" (yes, that's what they wrote).