Gotta keep on keepin' on.......

Cancer again...that's 3 times in 2 years. This time it’s not breast cancer, but a new one called squamous cell carcinoma. New cancer, same old fighting spirit! My blog is still named for one of many songs that kept me going the first time around. Driving home from an upsetting appointment, I turned on the radio just as this line from Steve Miller Band's Jet Airliner was playing: "I've got to keep on keepin' on" I did just that. And I'll do it again.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The day after treatment #7 (of 8): what a nice morning!

Emma went with me this morning to get my Neulasta shot. Neulasta is the brand name; I think the drug is called pegfilgrastim or something like that. It is administered the day after chemo, to help boost my white count earlier than my body naturally would, allowing me to go every other week for chemo instead of every 3 weeks.

Anyway, Emma went with me today. I hadn't brought her along before as I wasn't sure how she'd take it. Just seeing me get a shot would be no biggie for her, but seeing other patients hooked up to IVs getting their chemo? I saw no need for her to be exposed to that. She and Leah both know I get chemo (we call it "strong medicine"), and I've let them believe I just get a bunch of shots. They don't need the visual of their mommy hooked up to an IV. That might give them the willies. Sometimes it gives ME the willies, just thinking about it!

But the hospital I go to to get my Neulasta shot is not where I get my chemo. This hospital has a very small infusion center, maybe 6 chairs (there are over 20 at my cancer center). Sometimes when I go for my shot, I am the only one there. So this time, I decided that Emma could handle it. I casually mentioned that there might be more patients there, getting shots like me, but also patients with machines and tubes attached. Emma just nodded and said she still wanted to go. She's pretty brave for an almost 8-year-old! Plus she probably thought there would be special treats for her afterwards, that we'd turn the morning into a Mommy-Emma outing, something we hadn't done in a few weeks.

And it was a great Mommy-Emma outing! I got my shot, in and out in less than 10 minutes. There were 2 other patients, 1 getting a shot and 1 about to be hooked up for infusion. Emma didn't even notice. She was more interested in the orange juice and bag of chips that the nurse let her select from the breakroom snacks. (Yes, potato chips at 9AM! Would not have been my choice, but I was stuck in the chair getting my blood pressure taken, and it really was a special occasion.)

Afterwards, Emma and I went in search of a place to get a treat. My favorite coffee shop, the one I took my dad to (about 2 Neulasta shots ago), had closed. It was rather sudden. I'm still in a bit of a shock over it. It was so much better than Starbuck's. And my favorite bakery, just down the road from the now-closed coffee shop, was closed for the holidays. So it was off to Starbuck's, for coffee and a cranberry muffin (me), and hot cocoa and a donut (Emma). On the way, we chatted briefly about my shot, and the other patients there. Emma had noticed they were men. She was surprised that men could get cancer, too, and wanted to know what kinds of cancer they could get. She really does notice more than I give her credit for. She also noticed my sparse eyelashes, by the way, but wasn't that disgusted. She thought it looked different but not bad, even though I'm down to 12 on the top lids and 1 to 5 on the bottom. (I can't help but count them!) And she reminded me they'd grow back, just like my hair. How sweet.

It was a typical outing with my oldest girl. We drank our hot drinks and ate our treats, Emma tried wheeling/dealing for a stuffed animal (did not work), and we spilled hot cocoa on the floor and my shoe. Like I said, typical! But fun, as always. We took the long way home, chatted some more about her upcoming birthday party (she wants a sleepover). She wants me to make pizza, but she also wants to go out to eat, and she wants 4 friends to sleep over but also wants 10.....decisions, decisions.

When we arrived home, all was quiet. Leah and Frances were playing with their dolls in the family room, John was reading the paper, and Jesse was still asleep in his crib. Of course, Emma started playing with her sisters, and eventually there were tears from at least 1 of the bunch. But that's typical with our 3 girls. Any 2 of them can play together nicely, but add a 3rd and the peacefulness soon ends. They get over it quickly, though, and all will be quiet again until someone else's feelings are hurt or doll is stolen.

It was perfect, though, scuffles and tears and all. I've wanted life at our house to stay normal, and for the most part it has. Today was a Saturday like most others, made even better with a great morning with Emma. Maybe next time I'll bring Leah, too. But not all 3, that would be pushing it, I think!


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