Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stage 2 - Day 2 = COMPLETED!

Hi VP's...You can't imagine how trashed we were when we got back to the apartment last night. With the blood draw, the long chemo infusion, going for the radiation "dry run" and all the WAITING associated with those treatments made it a 12 hour day. You'd think that just sitting around and walking from place to place wouldn't be so tiring, but it's absolutely exhausting. Brenda handled it...like everything along this journey...like a real trooper. She got her naps in and that really, really helps. Thank heaven for all the wonderful medicine that she takes that help her sleep, ease her anxiety, and keep her stomach and other side effects under control. To all you health care professionals out there...you have our unwavering love. We couldn't do what you do on a permanent basis and we have a deep respect for all that you do. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your dedication to helping people with their illnesses. You rock! Please keep doing what you're doing!

So today was another LONG one but we got a break in the middle. We ended up squashed in what I think was the smallest chemo treatment room they have at MD Anderson. Now those of you that know us, know that we are "gear girls" so it was quite challenging for me to get all our stuff organized in that tiny room. Maybe I should look at this like an MD Anderson compliment that we are small women so we could fit nicely in a small room...yea! That's it! Ha!

They got Brenda's chemo going. It's a 5 hour treatment today. We actually got out about 1:30 PM and we went and had some Meditterean food at a place called Skewers...not bad. It was fun to eat some place besides the hospital. So after that we went home and I absolutely crashed out on the bed for 3 hours. I think I'd still be there but I had to get up to get Bren to her first real radiation treatment. Since Bren had such a good nap during chemo...like a good 2+ hours, she played her slots on the iTouch (more on that later Michele), talked with a friend, read her e-mail and took another shorter nap before we went for the evening appointment.

OK so we motor over to the Radiation Treatment Center for our 6:30 PM appointment. Mind you, this is only supposed to take an hour tops. Well, something on the machine wasn't quite right for the guy in front of us so they had to fix that which caused us to wait an hour before they got her in for the actual treatment. There's a tremendous amount of waiting in this journey. We're both trying to put it to good use. Brenda is very competitive and is determined to beat Michele in Slots. I'm catching up on some reading. So we got out of the treatment center about 8:15 PM and Brenda wanted to treat herself to an ice cream bar so we drove to the grocery store for a box of Eskimo Pies!!! YUM!

She said the treatment wasn't bad, but this is only day 2. Her eyes were closed, the mouth stent was in, the face mask was on and she's strapped down so she doesn't move. She said she could see lights through her closed eyes moving around and could sense the machine was changing it's beam to radiate the different areas that need to be zapped. We're both visualizing "shields" around the critical areas that need protection and exposure to all the cancer cells. We'd love if you'd help us visualize that for her as well.

Brenda went through the "Daily Self-Care" chart I made this morning and did the rinses and fluoride treatment that she has to do before going to bed. You might laugh and say...Man! That Nurse Dee is really taking her nursing duties to a new OCD level. HA! That's true, but if you saw how many things Brenda has to do DAILY...multiple times daily I might add...I think you'd make some type of chart too. It's amazing!!! And most of these she will have to do the rest of her life so the faster we develop the habits, the better. Thank heaven she is such a complient patient...God Love Her. This really could be a nightmare with some stubborn folks!

So now let's talk SLOTS!!! Brenda started yesterday with $2000.00. She was at about $1200 last night at the check-in time. Since Michele said she hit the big 7's, Michele might have won last night's round but I'm still waiting to hear how she did. Michele, Jodie, and Jackie, I have to warn you that before Bren went to sleep last night, she hit the big triple 7's betting the max amount which added up to 10,000 credits. It's 10:15 PM and she's at $4012.25. How's everyone else doing?

Tomorrow will be a little longer than today because after chemo we have to see the radiation doc at 2:30. Then we get to come home and then back for radiation at 6:30 PM...that time really messes up dinner!! Oh Well! It is what it is!

Sleep tight everyone...more tomorrow.
Nurse Dee and Chemo-sabe.


  1. What's that quote Toni said earlier in the journey? Something like "Hang on to your tits girls, it's gonna be a bumpy ride!"? Well, hopefully the bumps won't last too much longer. Just know we are thinking of you both and love you very much! We're off to St. Louis tomorrow (if we can get out). We'll be in touch!
    Love you, Becky, JP and Roo

  2. Okay so I am shaking as I type. Why the big lapse between chemo and radiation? Is there no way MD Anderson can make those two modalities, chemo and radiation, more complimentary in terms of timing? Seems to me that minimizing the negative affects is tantamount to cure - not the opposite.
    Youse (NJ speak for the plural of you) need to have a chat with the scheduler at MD Andresen. Be demanding - this schedule sucks and should be more complimentary to your needs.
    Most of you know I am a tad bit inpatient and hate having my time wasted. This just irks me.
    Okay I got that off my chest. Back to the slots tournament.
    My current score is 7216 credits. I fear we are not playing the same game. The max score on my vegas slots game is 5,000 credits. Did I mention I hit that yesterday? How did chemo sabe hit 10K?
    As I thought about it, I thought perhaps the radiation played a part, but screw that - this is a competition. What game are you playing?
    Tell MD Andersen that Chemo sabe is engaged in a very competivite slot tournament and albeit not her primary focus; a diversion none the less and she needs to be available to compete. This way we eliminate any excuse for why I have kicked her butt!!!
    Looking forward to talking in the am.

  3. Well Michelle I was thinking that we should level the playing field and maybe get you a mouth stent, face mask and some good sleep meds... can't Karen help you with this? and them you and chemo sabe would have similar playing environments... hmmm maybe your job might not appreciate that but it certainly is a vision to rival the Blue Bonnet pix we all have in our minds! And Karen might want to go all the way and strap you down... hmmm... Well that is my best cheerleader suggestion!

    At this rate it sounds like you two are going to pass out just from the schedule forget all of that chemo & radiation... We better order some Pep pills for Nurse Dee so she can keep up her caretaker duties... thank goodness she has a union break coming up next week... and the stand-in nurse better start eating her Wheaties now!
    Sending lots of Love, Hugs, Visualizations & Blessings, Cathie & Evelyn

  4. Cathie, Cathie, Cathie - you crack me up. I got a vision of a "Silence of the Lambs" type mask and a gag. Karen would love the gag part of the costume just to keep me quiet. Then I could accessorize the outfit with my Blue Bonnet, Vic's wedding pumps and Wendy's orange purse:) You are correct, work would not appreciate the outfit, but they do know me so they would certainly understand.
    Speaking of work - time to get back to it so I have some time later to up my slot score
    Two days marked off the calendar toward the cure!!

  5. as the novice slot player in the tournament, I came to realize that I was not playing the same game, and also figured out that I could take more money from the atm than the $500 it said I had. I started over, with $2000 and found the 5 coin max machine, with the $10,000 jackpot. so as they say - a day late and a dollar short. I am warming up my fingers. Thanks for the update on Chemo-sabe. Hope today is a good day for you both, and i will be back to post scores later.

  6. Okay I now have the correct game, I think and started back at $2,000. I think we are all on track now, so let the games begin. My first observation is that this game is not as generous as the one I was playing but we shall see.

    Dee and Chemo sabe hope day three was uneventful and tolerable.

  7. Game Players...First of all, who's playing? (Chemo Sabe, Michele, Jodie and Jackie) Anyone else?

    Secondly, we need the rules:
    1. Amount to start with? - $2000?
    2. Time period of playing? - Could there be a weekly winner posted on Sunday night at 8pm Houston time with a new game beginning on Monday morning 8am?

    Chemo Sabe and Dee...You two are amazing!! Your gratitude for the hospital resources and your ability to roll with the setup are exceptional qualities for all of us to admire. As a bright light in this sometimes dim universe, thanks for being our role models during this challenging journey.

    Bonnie and Jackie

  8. I wish all my patients were as grateful and understanding as you two. I had a patient call the office at 9 AM yesterday demanding to be seen the same day for what she thought was food poisoning. I was only in the office until noon yesterday and the emergency appointments were filled. She became irate when it was suggested that she should go to the ER if she was too ill to wait until the next day. Three hours later she was in the office to sign a record release for another doctor. Then she sent an e-mail complaining about our office and my office manager to the hospital CEO, the Vice president of medical affairs and another VP. I had to address that this morning.

    When I see what you two are going through I just want to slap these people who have absolutely no clue what it is like to really be sick!

    You guys hang in there. Love you both. I'll be there in a week for Nurse Dee's next union break. It will be much easier than work!


  9. Oh Vicky I'm sorry, I did not realize it was your office I was calling :0). OOPS!!

    Now that I am playing the right game, I started with $2,000 today and when I cashed out at 8PM EST I had a balance $3,060.25.