Friday, October 17, 2008

SWMBO Report: First Chemo Treatment

She phoned me this morning, as She and The Angel Sister pulled into the parking lot at the Seattle Cancer Clinic. They were arriving on time for their 9:30 appointment, and She was cheerful and chipper. Almost ebullient. She said she was looking forward to the Chemotherapy treatment, because for the next four hours she was going to be pampered and cared for like a Queen.

I was less than phlegmatic. My thoughts were full of dark expectations, although I certainly didn't voice them. Catching the mood, I joined her joking repartee and wished her a rewardingly indulgent day.

Then I brooded. The treatment wouldn't be over until after 3pm or later, and I found myself focusing on how little support I could provide for her from 300 miles away. I envisioned problems, complications ... in sort, I indulged my lowest neurotic worrying mood.

When she finally phoned at 5pm, to announce that they were through for the day and were back at their hotel, I was astonished to hear that same lilt in her voice. Amazing. She sounded strong and in remarkable good spirits.

She said she was fine, the treatment was uneventful, and when The Angel Sister went out for lunch and brought back a pair of salads for their lunch ... during treatment .. The Good Doctor had remarked approvingly that they were eating "healthy food".

Amazing. They ate lunch during chemotherapy. Yes, and snacked too.

We chatted some more, and then She asked about my day.

"Where are you" she asked. "I'm at the office", I replied, "working".

"What time did you get to work today?"

I mumbled.


"Four o'clock", I admitted.

Silence. Then "Four O'clock. Okay."

Busted. She knew that I had stayed home for most of the day worrying about her. Damn! Will I never comprehend the concept of the Little White Lie?

She promised to phone me when they left Seattle in the morning, and again when she arrived back home. I promised to come over immediately (my bag is already packed and in the car) to "Spoil you shamelessly for the rest of the weekend", as I said.

(Liar, I named myself, you're going to hover over her for a day and a half aren't you.)

Apparently SWMBO's first day of chemotherapy went very well. Dr. Cunningham was pleased, and even remarked that although the tumor had grown in the past two months it hadn't grown much. He said that the Tarceva had "done some good" before it quite working, which I interpret to mean that it had retarded the growth of the tumor.

In fact, The Good Doctor suggested that they may be able to complete the Chemotherapy in eight weeks, instead of the original prescribed 12 weeks.

I asked her to repeat that. Yes, they may be able to reduce the duration of chemo by a full third.

"Wow, that IS good news!" I enthused.

We chatted a few minutes longer. She mentioned that she ought to go get a drink to celebrate. Then she said that The Angel Sister was going down to the hotel bar for a drink, and she would go along (even though, of course, she can't drink during treatment and rarely drinks at all .. it's a running joke.) When I teased her about going dancing for the evening, she just laughed.

So here I was, mentally prepared for a tale of nausea and general malaise, talking to the girl with the smile in her voice and an Angel on her shoulder. None of my fretting was worth the effort, certainly it was not useful.

Instead, I've found two more things that I can learn from SWMBO:

Courage, and a Constant Heart.

This was a very good day.

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