That's what he said yesterday... "You are done with chemo." I said, "What do you mean?" He said something to the effect of... you won't be finishing your chemotherapy, you can't handle it mentally. That's what I heard anyway.
Oh, yesterday when I went into my appointment, I was angry...I was sooo terribly angry. The night before, Monday night, I had spent the evening in the emergency room. Monday evening I began to have a fever, and one thing I know about chemo is that fevers are bad. I really think I had a fever on and off all weekend. I took my temperature on Friday and it was about 99.5. I had been taking all kinds of anti-inflamatories which often lower fevers, so 99.5 left me a bit alerted...since my temp normally hangs around about 97. When I called the on-call doctor on Saturday, he didn't seem too concerned about my measly fever. So I let it go...I don't want them thinking I'm some hypochondriac you know. As far as my pain was concerned, he told me the only thing I could do was go to the Emergency room for assessment, otherwise keep taking the 4 year old Vicodin...call your doctor on Monday if you feel the need... have a nice day!
So I endured the weekend as the pain seemed to be decreasing a bit in a come and go fashion. On Monday morning I put in a call to the triage nurse at my doctors office, thinking surely she would give me better instructions on how to deal with my misery...and give me the one thing I knew was working...perhaps something like a NEW bottle of Vicodin... When she called me back a few hours later on Monday, she listened to me and basically told me those are the typical side effects of Taxol and then she didn't give me any Vicodin, but instead prescribed me some anti-inflammatory. I knew the moment she prescribed it, it would not work.
I understand now that a new law went into effect at the beginning of the year where doctors cannot call in narcotics to pharmacies...I guess there has to be a paper script. However, on Monday, when the nurse failed to prescribe me a suitable pain killer, and then told me that is just the side effects of Taxol, I was truly terrified...more than I was when I was just winging that pain over the weekend. I thought she was telling me that I was just going to have to deal with it, and I couldn't imagine 3 more treatments where I would have to endure such torture without medications...especially considering I was telling them what worked.
Monday night came and I took her prescribed NSAID. I thought, "well, I might as well give it a chance...maybe it will work without the narcotics." So I took it and waited. I don't know if it helped, but I know my temperature kept rising that night. Soon it was at 100, then 100.4 (the magic call-the-doctor-number), then 101. I didn't really know what to do. I had already called in twice and was feeling a bit like a baby about all this. (Maybe I'm just pathetically wimpy?) But finally my anxiety got the best of me and at about 7:00 pm I called the on-call doctor. He hadn't called back by 8:00 so I called again and he finally called. I think it was the same guy from Saturday, but I am not sure. Once again he told me the only solution was to go to the emergency room.
You know...I'm not really one of those emergency room drama people. I don't really want to spend a long evening in the emergency room...EVER!! So the question is...since I was thinking nobody was going to do much for me... suffer at home for the next 4 or so hours...or suffer in a emergency waiting room for 4 or so hours, only to be assessed and sent home. I decided suffering is suffering, and they may be able to help me in the emergency dept...so Ron and I went.
This was a good night for such a thing. I was seen right away...something that never happens in an ER. They put a mask on my face to keep all the hospital germs off me and wheeled me back. After asking me a bunch of questions they got started on urine tests, blood tests and hooked me up to some drips. They told me they were going to give me some morphine and I said, "No, I don't want morphine..." but the nurse kindly explained why I did want morphine and I said..."OK". By the time I was ready to go home, they offered me one more dose of morphine and I didn't even hesitate...LOL! Really, I didn't love the feeling of the morphine its kind of a bad/good feeling to me, but it did take away any pain and anxiety I was feeling. In fact, it was the most pain free and normal I had felt in months. All of their tests came back with no detectable reason for my fever, so... they sent me home at about midnight. My fever was down and I slept fairly well that night.
When I went into my doctor's office on Tuesday, I was just so angry. As I drove there I realized my anger could work against me and that the "ripping into" I wanted to give him, should be rethought. I prayed for the ability to control my anger and to communicate in a way that would be beneficial without offending, and took a number of deep breaths.
Before I see the doctor, there is a nurse who takes me back and weighs me and takes my vitals. She is that same nurse who seemed surprised when I told her I was terribly sick from the last treatments. As I went back with her and she began to make small talk, I just tried to keep my frustration in check. Unfortunately, she kept asking me how my weekend was and how I felt. At first I told her I felt really bad, and that I was so very angry about it that I didn't want to talk about it, as I began to cry. She didn't just leave it there and I opened up, crying and ranting (as quietly as one can do that while crying) about the weekend. She informed the doctor and he came in ready to hear it.
He said, "Start from the beginning." So I did and explained it all to him. Now in the past my Oncologist has been extremely patient and kind and compassionate with me. However, when he told me that I called on the weekend and there was nothing that could be done, I ripped back at him, "I SHOULD HAVE HAD SOMETHING BEFORE THIS EVER GOT STARTED." At that moment the expression on his face turned defensive and he told me, you are in the 99th percentile for reactions like this and then he said, "Your chemo is done." Shocked, I said, "What do you mean?" And he told me I can't handle it and I'm done.
Now you might have thought I would have stood up and shook his hand, clicked my heels together and left the room like George Banks after he lost his job at the bank...but I didn't. I sat there shocked. Thinking I had offended him and he's bagging my treatment. I found myself apologizing and practically begging him to continue my treatment, explaining that given the proper medications and instructions, I could handle it. We discussed this for a while to no avail. He told me he was going to be out of the office the next week and that we could discuss things in 2 weeks when he got back. As I left he handed me a prescription for Vicodin. I left his office distraught. I sat in my car crying uncontrollably. I went home and did more of the same.........