We were getting ready for my sister's second chemotherapy yesterday. We packed two backpacks and a lovely Pierre Cardin bag with everything we thought we would need for a six to seven hour stay at the cancer center. We were refusing to let cancer and the pumping of toxins into her bloodstream distract us from work and play. Or maybe we were trying to shut it out by bringing a plethora of toys with us. We packed books, laptops, ipods, cellphones and cameras into our bags and headed for the hospital. If we were occupied with our 'stuff' then maybe we wouldn't be thinking about the hard questions. When will her hair fall out? What strange things will happen to her body from the chemo this time? How nauseated will she be? What is this strange rash on her shoulder? What were the results of the PET scan?
First stop was the blood draw center where they would take a little blood to make sure her blood counts are where they should be. Then we sat in Starbucks sipping chai tea while we used the laptop and watched soccer. Then we had an appointment with the oncologist. We sat in the waiting room and watched...soccer! Then we were called back to the exam room. And that is where things began to unravel. It seems my sister's white blood count was not high enough to receive her treatment. We would not be able to have chemo until the count was higher. They are expecting it to be higher on Tuesday. We spent time discussing meds, measuring tumors, rescheduling treatments and arranging more precautions against the inevitable nausea that will follow the next chemo. We were discouraged, disappointed and defeated. And so we dropped off our bags of technology paraphernalia at home and escaped to the safety of a dark theater to watch a wonderful foreign film from South America. We were the only two in the theater and it did the trick.
So today she returned to work and I to my computer. Monday I will travel to Gainesville with my parents to find out when my father will have surgery on his spine. He is in pain and unable to walk. He is not a happy camper, to say the least. And my mother in her stubborn, stalwart manner tries to take care of everyone and fix everything because...that is who she is. So we will fill our weekend with distractions and move on into next week with renewed strength and optimism...and maybe a little less 'stuff' in our bags.
I promise not to bore everyone who reads this blog (all three of you) with continued details of my family's illnesses but it's my life this summer and where my mind and my heart will be for now.