Today Has Been Brought to you by the Letter ‘I’

April 19, 2011 at 2:11 PM (after chemo, Energy, Family, Help) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

‘I’ for “insane”. “Incredible.” “Inconceivable.” “Ican’tbelievethisishappening.”

Last Monday was completely off-the-charts crazy. Let me tell you all about it.

No, wait, it’s way too much. Lemme give you the highlights:

  • Awoke at 5:15AM to make 7:00 phlebotomy appointment (say that ten times fast) at The Cancer Factory.
  • Finally allowed myself to be wheeled around TCF in a chair, since I had trouble catching my breath after walking up three steps and across a lobby on Saturday night, even with 3 L/min of O2
  • Didn’t think to attach nose hose to air tank on wheelchair; stayed connected (for 3+-hour tour) to portable liquid canister that I’d been breathing on since 6:15am. Usually I hook onto a wall nozzle for most of my visit. [NOTE: this is foreshadowing.]
  • Navelbine not living up to expectations; i.e., breathing continues to worsen. Please go to radiology for immediate CT scan.
  • “Immediate” is a relative term; arrive promptly, but sit-and-wait for two hours. Scan, then return to NP’s office for further instructions.
  • A mere 45 minutes later(!), NP finds me to say that scan shows further, millimeters-larger growth of tumors in all areas. No point in continuing Navelbine infusions as they are clearly not working. Please make appointment for Thursday to come back and talk with oncologist about other potential treatments, their side effects and efficacy rates.
  • Wheel downstairs, return to parking garage, check out. Turn onto Brookline Avenue to realize my port is still accessed.
  • Around block, park at old building drive-up entrance, persuade door guard that Mom can live-park there for five minutes while I dash down to Radiology to have my port de-accessed (remove needle from chest port, left there for cancelled infusion).
  • Find available phlebotomist, convince her I don’t need access anymore today, have needle removed. Start to climb (slowly, slowly) spiral staircase from basement to street level. Get winded, stop to rest multiple times. Reach lobby, resting elbows on knees to catch breath in chair; approached by stranger who asks if I’m okay. Tell him I’m just headed to car, and stagger out front door just to realize that my portable tank, on which I’ve been breathing for over 4 hours, is completely empty.
  • Collapse in front seat as panic sets in; huffingly tell SuperMom to return to valet in other building and find wheelchair with O2 tank so I can breathe while we go back to clinic to have portable tank refilled for drive home. Total panic; feel tingly all over, nauseated.
  • Ticket-gate attendant finishing long chat-up with driver in front of us (as I continue feeling more nauseated and frantic) finally gives us our turn; SuperMom, holding it together nicely while explaining what we need, gets ticket, whips around to valet and tells him to get a chair with a tank NOW (see “Shirley MacLaine, Oscar-winning speech”), while finding me a plastic bag into which I yak my blueberry yogurt (fuchsia pink; poor dude with rescue chair must have thought I was exploding or something) twice. Finally chair dude hooks hose to tank and I’m back on three liters. Mom hands off the keys and we go back up to 10th floor. Emergency passes, and I’m pleased to notice that I’ve not only managed to keep fuchsia barf off floor and out of hair but also off pristine white tee-shirt. ::Rockstar.::
  • On 10th floor, Receptionist pages Respiratory Therapy to come help; Super-tech David gets me hooked up with a higher-caliber portable liquid tank and a complimentary refill that will get me home safely.
  • FINALLY leave hospital around 1:30 and get my post-hospital-visit chocolate milkshake by 2:10. Nap by 2:30, feeling like I’ve been run over, backed-up-on, then re-run-over by a sizeable piece of construction equipment. .
And that’s only the half of it. More to come this week. Don’t you wish you were me?

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  1. Marianne said,

    Oh Sarah, although the “Complimentary refill” part had me in giggles.

  2. Liliana said,

    Sending lots of hugs your way.

  3. Dawna said,

    God Bless SuperMom.

    Kisses and Hugs for both SuperMoms – You and Julie!

  4. Adele said,

    oh jeez-lousie, Sarah, just saw ur post via twitter– i dont even think i could have managed “awoke at 5:15.” xoxo

  5. Carol said,

    OH MY GOD!!! WHAT an awful day on all levels. Sense of humor intact. You amaze me.
    Sending love.

  6. Ada said,

    My God, Sarah, what a day!
    I send my love and hugs.
    You are in my thoughts every day.

  7. Susan said,

    Your Amazing!!! Love the attitude! But…..damn….damn…..damn!

  8. Christina said,

    jaw on the floor- that is horrendous. the rest of of the week can’t be as bad- it just can’t!! lots of love, xoxo

  9. tori said,

    I was really hoping that the Navelbine had been kicking such amazing ass that you were only neglecting your blog because you were busy shopping, going clubbing and taking long walks with the dog. farkin’ navelbine bites ass. Your mom – on the other hand – kicks ass. Hang in there Sarah. You’re constantly in my thoughts. (and last night in my dreams – you looked AWESOME btw)

  10. Mr. Wonderful said,

    With you all the way my dear. 🙂 Love you. Me.

  11. christina said,

    As much as I wish I could think of a clever quip to induce uproarious (albeit breathy) laughter…I can’t…That all just sucks. I hope those mixologists at the cancer factory figure out a cocktail that kicks that shit to the curb.

    Love and healing,

  12. Leslie Sorensen-Jolink said,

    Beyond frustrating! There’s no way one person could do all of what you were trying to do at the TCH on Monday. You need a personal assistant with you, to keep track of all the details, while you interact with the medical establishment. Any chance that your wonderful mom or a friend could accompany you for this purpose to your tests and treatments? (I’d happily volunteer if I wasn’t 2100 miles away.) One part of her/his job could be carrying books for the two of you to read during the endless waits. S/e could also take notes on everything a medical professional tells you, keep track of documents, be responsible for checking oxygen equipment, push your chair, carry an emergency kit (with food, water, nausea bags, a change of clothes, etc. for you), and do anything else on a checklist you could devise.

    I’ll be thinking of you on Thursday, with every good wish.

  13. Sue Mellusi said,

    Wow, and SuperMom are quite a team!! You’re the srongest girl I know.

  14. Kathleen said,

    I been racking my brain for the perfect words of support but I’ve come up empty. I’m so sorry that you have to go through this. As a survivor of OVCA myself, I’m pushing 40 years old and no one makes me feel as safe and loved as my mom. I’m so happy that your Mom is by your side. She sounds like a wonderful and strong woman. Thanks for the update. Much love from the bible belt!

  15. Jennifer said,

    This is one of those times when ‘dislike’ on Facebook doesn’t even come close. Your strength and will are completely inspiring. xoxo.

  16. Kelly said,

    2 Supermom’s! Your ability to laugh through it inspires me, Much Love!

  17. WhiteStone said,

    Damn! Woman! You amaze me. Wishing you the best and keeping you in my prayers.

  18. Faye said,

    Note the date: I-am-speechless. The only words that matter, “I love you….lots!”

  19. Nicole said,

    You don’t know me Sarah, but ive been following you (some may say stalking!) since my dx last year. Like everyone else I am both amazed and inspired by your optimism, strength and killer sense of humor. I get a bit panicky when you don’t blog for awhile….and while relieved to get this, I’m saddened by the experience you had and what ever comes next. This disease just sucks. But you are so freakn clever and funny!!
    Hugs and kisses all the way from Australia,

  20. Addie said,

    Sarah – Hoping you never have another day like that one and sunny skies ahead – can something please please work to make those tumors shrink? Don’t they know you have places to go and things to do and they shouldn’t be growing??? Speaking of super mom – Big hugs to both you and your mom for being SUPER MOMs!!!

  21. Stacey said,

    Oh Sarah, omg. What an awful day. Your ability to write about it with laughter is truly a testament to your spirit. And your mom! You must clone her for those in need of a mom. Sending hugs and virtual strength your way.

  22. Beth L. Gainer said,


    Sounds like a day in hell. I am sorry you are having to go through all this.

  23. Mary said,

    If laughter is the best medicine, you just cured a helluva a lot of people! I am sorry for your troubles but can relate to the breathing problems – I was there last year . . . chemo fortunately kicked it back – here’s to finding the right chemo cocktail!

  24. Jane Roper said,

    Ugh. Just — ugh. So sorry, and I really hope that the days since Monday have been at least a little less horrific.

    But the yogurt puke thing — you really are a rockstar.

  25. Deirdre said,

    Sarah, I’ve read this post 3 or 4 times now and each time I read it my heart races as you try to get hooked up to the O2. I’m panicking right there with you. You AND your mom are completely awesome. Wow. I hate that the Navelbine didn’t work for you… please, please, please let the next combo be effective. Still sending tons of prayers for all of you. You are amazing.

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