Before cancer I really had no idea what chemotherapy was. I mean, I knew there were different chemotherapy drugs, but were they pills? Injections? Infusions? It turns out that they are all these things and more, plus there are various ways to get those drugs into your body.
I was so naive when my doctors started telling me about all of the ‘in’s’ and ‘out’s’ of the treatment process. I remember thinking that it didn’t all sound too bad. I would get some shots, take lots of pills, get an IV line called a Central Venous Line put in my chest that feeds into my heart (obviously the most frightening part) and a chemo bag. That last one didn’t even register as significant. Chemo bag? That doesn’t sound very threatening.
Well, it is threatening, and it is the worst, most frustrating and annoying part of this whole process. When my treatment began each time I came up here, my nurses and APNs would fill my ugly black rectangular bag with 4 different liquid chemo meds controlled by two battery powered pumps. One pump controls adriamycin, also known as the red devil, and the other pump controls a mixture of cysplatin, cytoxin, and etiposide. Then I have two pill forms and two IV push chemos…but, back to the bag.
Once the drugs are in the bag, the nurse attaches the corresponding IV from each bag into the correct lead going into my heart. My body, my HEART, is literally tethered to that bag. (There have been several occasions I’ve forgotten about the bag and walked off, only to be reminded by the not so subtle yank to my CVL.). I have to take it everywhere. To the bathroom, the store, I have to figure out how to get my clothes on and around/between the lines and bag. It’s in bed with me, and it tries to lull me to sleep with its constant ‘swish-swish’,’swish-swish’. For five whole days! I loath that bag…and I NEVER have to use it again!!
Yesterday was my last bag day! The feeling is so freeing. No more being tethered. No more rearranging to make sure it is in an optimal position. No more quiet ‘swish-swish’ in my ear that always seems to keep me awake. See ya later, alligator! Sorry to say, but you won’t be missed!
“And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43