Powered by WebAds

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chemo Day

On Tuesday, Sept 22, I came late to chemo. My friend had a son, and the brit was that morning.

I called in advance, and both my doctor and the head nurse approved the late arrival.

We agreed that I would arrive by 11:00 am, and that I would call earlier in the morning, to remind them to prepare my prescription.

I forgot.

Well, I remembered at 7:30 (too early to call), and forgot at 9:00 (the right time to call).

It happens.

So, they ordered my prescription when I arrived, at a quarter to 11:00.

The delay might not have made a difference. That day, there were several prescriptions which were delayed for unknown reasons.

Unfortunately for me, the delay would have significant repurcussions. I was scheduled to get all three drugs that day: Herceptin, Navalbine, and Zomera/Denosumab.

I was also scheduled to get a full-body x-ray for the bone drug study, but that was not such a big deal. I was able to get the x-ray while I was hooked up to the Herceptin IV.

The Herceptin took a long time. If the drip is too fast, I have an allergic reaction (pain in my chest, as if someone is squeezing my sternum).

At 3:30, one of the nurses informed that if I did not finish by 4:00, I would have to return the following day, for the remainder of my treatments.

On several occasions, over the past few months, I finished receiving my treatments around 5:00 pm. So I did not understand why she insisted I return, when I would be finished by 4:15 or 4:30.

The doctor on duty approached me, and explained (rather harshly) that it was her responsibility to be there while patients received their treatments, and she had to leave by 4:00 (since she had a clinic across town).

I was quite taken aback by the hostile way she spoke to me.

Though I was not the only patient still receiving treatment, she scolded me, saying "because of you, I cannot leave, and all the patients at my clinic will be treated late!"

I understood her time constraints, and appreciated the fact that she did not want to keep her patients waiting.

Still, she could have said "I understand that it is disappointing, and inconvenient. I am sorry, but there really is no other choice."

She was completely insensitive and unsympathetic.

The nurse on duty saw that I was distressed, and offered to leave my port open, so that I could come to the hospital in the morning, get hooked up right away, and finish quickly.

I appreciated her attentiveness and consideration.

The next day, I discovered that there were further consequences from the delay.

I would not be able to have my next treatment the following Sunday, before Rosh HaShanah, as originally planned.

I dreaded the thought of coming in on the Thursday after Rosh HaShanah. I knew the ward would be swamped after being closed for three days. Moreover, I would be anxious about finishing in time to teach swimming. And, I did not know if I would be able to teach, since I am extremely tired and worn out by the time I get home from chemo.

My doctor, and the head nurse, agreed that I could come in on Sunday (today) for the next treatment.

Well, if I thought the ward would be any less crowded, I was sorely mistaken!

This time, I was instructed to arrive late. I was only getting Navalbine, so it would not take that long.


I arrived around 10:30 (instead of the usual 9:00).

It was a madhouse!

It took almost three hours for the pharmacy to deliver the drugs and for the nurses to hook me up. It usually takes one hour; on rare occasions, an hour and a half. But never THREE hours!

By the time I finished, I was completely finished!

I really wanted to go straight to sleep when I got home, but Moshe had to work late, and I had to be around for the kids.

It ended up being a late night for all sorts of reasons....

At 10:00 pm, my phone rang.

"Why are you up?" asked the caller.

I was not certain how to answer him, since I was exhausted and wondering the same thing myself!

My doctor, God bless him, was calling to check up on me.

He had sent me, via email, a referral for a bone scan, and he wanted to be certain I received it.

10:00 pm and he was still working!

Have I mentioned recently that I really appreciate my doctor?

Anyway, now, finally, at 11:30 pm, the house is quiet and I can go to bed.

I am nauseous and itchy, thanks to the chemo. Hopefully, that will pass.

Meanwhile, I am not looking forward to my next chemo day... next Sunday.

As one of the nurses said "days like today make one wonder if the chagim (holidays) are worth it!"

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...



Ahuva said...


rickismom said...

Sorry it went so bad!

Rahel Jaskow said...

Wow, what a drag.

(Hey... I'd like a chemo date!)

Anonymous said...

OF COURSE the chagim are worth it; what you could do without is the cancer!!!


A Living Nadneyda said...

Posted my response here.

Hope the itching & nausea are already history.

Great doctor. I hope part of his career responsibilities includes training other physicians to be sensitive like he is.

Batya said...

Cancer is a full-time job. Too bad that doctor treated you like a customer, not a patient.

Refuah Shleimah!