As you can see from the photo above, the hair is not so full and lush, every week a new clump disappears never to be seen again. Still, thrilled that I can go out without anything covering my head.
Four sessions of chemo down and doctor’s orders are for a PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography) scan to see what’s going on inside me. The whole procedure is as follows: they shoot you up with radioactive sugar; you drink two glasses of hideous orange/coconut flavored barium (the stuff of nightmares), wait an hour and then are scanned for 20 minutes. This scan picks up the metabolically active disease in the body – which means it tells you if and where cancer is hanging out. Done by 9:30am and the waiting begins until…the next day….
…Chemo #5 and scan results day. Since it was such an important day, I wore my super chic Jean Paul Gaultier skirt and my most sexy gorgeous CL’s with their fabulous silver heels. As I left for the appointment, my visiting boyfriend inquired as to why I never had worn this outfit before, because I looked really hot. I had no good answer for him.
My family came with me to the hospital, both Mom and Dad. The boyfriend was not invited, which I hope he was ok with. I didn’t even want him to sit with me during chemo. Don’t get me wrong – he would have come if I wanted him to. He respected my wishes and spent the day walking around Philadelphia.
I guess even though I want him to be a part of this whole nightmare, I don’t want to expose him to the gritty details. I am happy that while he is here I have hair and I look like myself except for a little bit of extra weight and loads of Bleomycin scars. But mostly, I look like the same girl who left him in May. It has all to do with my insecurities – nothing to do with him. I want him to be with me sipping an Aperol Spritz on the Gritti terrace in Venice, scoffing blueberry pancakes at the diner in Lambertville, having tea in my little house in London – not watching the AVD drip into my arm in an airless hospital room.
As we waited for the doctor, we heard his voice approaching but he then turned into another room. Damn, It would be another hour until he saw us. But my mom was quicker than I and she stopped him in his tracks before he had a chance to enter the other patient’s room. “Please give us a hint – we can’t sit here for another hour in limbo!” Kind Dr. Schuster said it was better than good. Do we breathe a sigh of relief now? Would he report that I didn’t need any more chemo? It was all over??
When it was finally our turn, he showed us the scan and it looked like the only place there was still cancer was under my chin and that was the incurable but livable NHL. (Before the chemo, I had an enlarged sickly lymph node under my chin. Most people didn’t really notice it was anything unusual – just a massive double chin. This lump had halved in size since the chemo.) My chest appeared to be empty of cancerous cells and my spleen was clean. This is amazing news and being superstitious I hate to even write about it now. Doc Schuster said I was to get two more cycles of chemo (4 more sessions) and begin to have Rituxan in between the chemo sessions. Rituxan is the first line of defense against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. So now every week, I was to get an “infusion.”
Then as I was jumping for joy inside – I heard him say the word RADIATION. What was that again? Yes, I did hear it right – after the chemo I was to have radiation – just to be sure. Radiation…radiation…shit. It wasn’t over yet. Radiation brought up a new set of concerns, which like Scarlet O’Hara, I am going to think about tomorrow – not today.
Needless to say, I called my boyfriend to let him know the good news as I waited for my fifth chemo.