It’s called Lifecare 5000, made by Abbott (I’m pretty sure I’ve got a friend who works there…). It makes this strange squeezing noise as the saline/Zofran/Solu-Medrol/Cyclophosphamide/Saline (a final flush to keep me hydrated appropriately? I think?) drips out of the bag perched way up high on the cross-member of the infernal machine. That squeezing noise, I can only assume is the machine pressurizing the line to deliver a calculated amount of medication through a series of tubing, tubing that I likely sold in what now feels like a previous life, through a high-gauge (meaning very small, despite the initial image that may come to mind) needle, into my vein, let loose to circulate and dampen my immune system, I believe by killing white blood cells. Treatment day is a walk-in-the-park compared to how I’m gonna feel tomorrow. And the next day. And likely the day after that as well. But it’s all a means to an end – an end that is, as of now, still unwritten.
The days, weeks, I’d even go as far as to say months, over the past while have not been easy-going. Despite having successfully been diagnosed with CCSVI, having been appropriately venoplastied, I nonetheless dare not trot too far off the beaten path; I’m following the treatment course laid out by my neurologist, but I feel almost as if I’m being backed into a corner–if, at age 27, I’m forced to use antineoplastics to combat this disease, where, oh where do I turn next? What’s gonna be more effective than a cancer drug?
And, of course, it does nothing to help with my nemesis; my Moby Dick; the cerebellar tremors. I hate them. They are the biggest detriment to my quality of life. They are visible to everyone, when I eat, when I reach to shake someones hand, when I try to do something as simple as put my tuque on before leaving the house on a cold winters day (even the nice one with the ear-covers that I can use as handles…). They’re there when I try to pick Diego up off the floor ’cause he’s still too little to jump up onto my lap without digging his little claws into me (not that I have all that much sensation; I still feel sharp & hot, but have a difficult time differentiating between cold & wet – to a degree on both counts). What messes with me even more? This is all starting to be normal. It’s not a normal day if I don’t spend 20-30 minutes picking up things (cereal that I was attempting to pour into a bowl, a partial of the plethora of pills I painstakingly pass from hand to mouth as my arms flutter à la leaf-in-the-wind, the water I spill as I fill my coffee-maker; I can do this all day, but I’d much rather turn to something a little more positive, a lot more uplifting, and remarkably inspirational. But, lately, it feels as though such things have moved beyond my uncontrollably-rocking-back-and-forth-grasp. Every four weeks, I head out at sunrise to an oncology-administration facility (full of doting nurses, might I add–Isabelle, for all your hard work, I thank you, Cheryl, Jackie, Barb, and Sylvie, I doubt I could be in better hands-I only hope this blog post finds its way to you), where for somewhere between 6 and 8 hours, I’m pumped full of poison.
To the tune of squeezing drips.
I hope your lunch-time reading was enjoyable, Stephanie. JT.