Within 24 hours following each chemo round, CC must go back to the oncologist’s office for a shot to boost her white blood cell count. Chemo wipes out a body’s immunity. Hence as soon as you walk in the front door of our house in Chemo Canyon, you’ll see an industrial size pump dispenser jar of hand sanitizer. Tubs of alcohol wipes and disinfectant wipes litter the house. CC also has to steer clear of crowded places, sick people and gulp, the mani-pedi salon. Haven’t had your flu shot? Don’t even think about visiting CC.
So back to the shot. (It’s called, Nulesta.) This is of course one of those tasks CC thinks she just might be able to do herself. You know, just drive on over, get the shot and drive home. “I’ll drive,” I announce. I’m learning to be a bit bossy, which with CC, has never been my style as it’s her city, her house, her car, her life. But as we learn, it’s Chemo that controls our lives now.
The shot itself doesn’t hurt. Still the nurse recommends taking some ibuprofen when we get home. On the way home, CC, being ever thoughtful and forward thinking, insists I run into one of her favorite cafes to get dinner to go. She listed all her favorites hoping at least one of them would taste good and stay down. At the cash register I receive a text, “Put the food in the trunk please. I’m starting to feel queasy.” We don’t make it home before CC withers from sudden and intense back pain. We heard this “could” be a side effect of the shot, but not that it would pounce on with full on debilitating, nauseating force within minutes of leaving the doctor’s office.
And for the first time, I –well really both of us–witness that “Oh Fuck This Is Going To Be So Much Harder Than I Thought” moment as CC concedes, “I don’t know how anyone can drive themselves to these things.”
Once home, it’s painful for CC to climb the front steps. I find every pain reliever I can locate plus a heating pad and settle CC into bed. Then I put the food away where she can’t see or smell it. Later that evening CC does manage, out of sheer fighting determination but also okay well that girl loves to eat, a few bites of dinner—a major feat.
Meals in bed are no longer a luxury, but a necessity. But we’ll make the most of it —enjoying female sole possession of the remote control, DVR and of course, all the Hallmark Channel we want.