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Day One of a Long Trip

A long day, but she got through it.  There was a lot packed in today.  First a trip to Nuclear Medicine to inject some radioactive contrast.  Then back to the cancer center to get a session with the pharmacist to learn all about the meds she will be on today and how to manage them.  Pretty neat guy.  Its always a treat to meet people who are really into what they do, and who keep up with developments in their field.

Chemo was next.  Another nice person to meet / work with.  It was a bit unnerving as the nurse puts on a lot of protection gear. Full face guard, mask, one time disposable gown, rubber gloves that all went into a cart with several categories of “danger” on it All, just to hook up the bottle of fluorouracil. There is a bit of “Wait a minute, you are putting this stuff into her veins??” moment as you put it all together.  
Its kind of a strange contrast this building. When you are in the surgical ward, you feel like crap, and the surrounds are… well, crap. So there is a sort of congruence there. But this building and space are beautiful.  As you can see from the photo, the window is open, natural light coming in and birds in the trees.  Just outside the window were a pair of house finches singing away all while you are getting a nasty toxin dripped into your body. Odd feeling.

Radiation wasnt as bad as the first time for her as it was a bit quicker as compared to her initial setup.  Really great staff there too.  They know people are dealing with some pretty heavy shit, and they do everything possible to accommodate your supportive needs. So while Kathleen was being set up on the radiation table, I could be with her to distract and keep her company.  Its quite the room.  Giant whirring box panels with dozens of controls and numerous sensors.  Its something you would expect Wyle E. Coyote to have from the ACME corporation for some crazy scheme as it seems so over the top big.  Plus, when you are on the table, there are a dozen lasers all criss-crossing over Kathleen to help line everything up literally to millimeter precision.   Looking at her you have this urge to hang of a few shelves on her as they look like those laser levels you get from the Home Depot, except there are 2 dozen of them.

Then, you leave the room to wait outside for her, and you would think you are in the lobby of a very pleasantly designed movie theater.  Off in the distance, is the sign displaying the current movie being shown– “Now Playing- Radiation, With Kathleen McSpurren” There is even the little tape barrier to let you know the movie is currently in progress.  Quite the movie.

Once that was done, back to nuclear medicine for the full body scan. Since there are no markers for this cancer that can be tested for, its all monitoring self reported symptoms.  So when Kath told the Chemo Oncologist she had a new pain in her back, he ordered the scan without blinking.

Then, back home to digest the day.  Lots more handouts today.  Possible side effects, possible complications, how to manage the drugs, other support services available etc, etc.  A bit of nausea this aft that she was worried would come to more, but the magic Zofran pills did the trick along with walking around the block a few times… I didnt have to hang any gravol which is a bit of a last resort.  Although very effective, it kind of knocks her out.  But that didnt happen and we got through day one of…. well, ~ 250


—Mike

About In the Cancer Bubble

I am Kathleen's partner of almost 25yrs supporting her through this very tough and rough spot.

2 responses to “Day One of a Long Trip

  1. Jill ~ Ottawa ⋅

    Dear Mike and Kathleen,

    The love and support you have for each other is incredible and heart warming. May it sustain you through this journey.

    Thank you for sharing your story both in words and pictures.

    It sounds like you may be having treatments at the Grand River Cancer Centre. Having been there last summer to be with my Aunt through her radiation treatments, I have to agree that it is a peaceful setting and the quality of care is very high.

    Wishing you peace and sunshine and a soft gentle breeze on a June day.

    Big hugs,

    Jill and family

  2. Rosemary Pell ⋅

    It is lovely to see your smile Kathleen. Thank you for your stories Mike; I can see the pleasure Wyle E Coyote would take in that machine! I’m sure your love and humour will see you through. We are off to see friends north of Ottawa and then a couple of days in our nation’s capital after that – will be thinking of you. Hugs, Rosemary

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