The Orange and Blue

If you’ve seen as much Florida football as I have this season, you’ve seen the “Go Gators” commercial. It’s something like:

“…Go Gators. Go write the great American novel. Go Gators. Go cure cancer…”

Well, it became very clear to me today that UF must be very involved in cancer treatment. The dye from the tracer during surgery turned my urine bright, bright blue. The chemotherapy today turned it a brighter orange. (And better yet, it’s radioactive!)

But, if that’s what I’m talking about, it must have gone well. And so far, it has!

For a more detailed (if not as colorful) account of the day, read on.

So, we got to the oncologist office at 9 AM. We talked to Dr. Burns briefly. My big concern was not knowing how I’d react to the chemo, but that was his concern too. He said my PET scan showed no problems (which we sorta assumed, but it was still very, very good to hear) and my echocardiogram has me above the normal range (so Charlie claims we have medical proof I have a good heart, not that all my students would agree!).

So, we went for it.

The nurses were wonderful and took care of us as best they could. They have a refrigerator full of drinks (and they must have known I was coming, since they had Diet Dr. Pepper) and a basket of crackers, which is basically my lunch menu. I had a recliner, Charlie had a less comfortable chair, but a table for his computer. The port catheter is very nice…one needle into it and that’s it for the day.

I had blood work done and waited. But waiting wasn’t too bad. During the day, I finished crocheting one cancer cap, made another (which is way too small now, but let’s see what happens when the hair goes), and did about 20% of a baby quilt (anyone out there need baby quilts–since there’s less counting with the baby quilts, I expect I’ll do more of them during chemo).

They’ve got a very aggressive anti-nausea regiment. I started with an anti-nausea and steroid IV and then took an anti-nausea pill. (I have 2 other anti-nausea pills to take starting tomorrow.) Then the three chemotherapy drugs. The first was pushed by Shannon, my RN, and the other two done IV (one for an hour, the other for almost 2 hours). I kept expecting to feel something, but nothing yet.

As I was getting the third chemo (and needed more yarn from the car), I convinced Charlie to go get lunch at the Subway across from the oncologist. The nurse said I should eat what I felt like, so he brought back a 12″ toasted spicy Italian with onions and peppers. See, this whole ordeal hasn’t given me any more common sense! Charlie expected I’d only eat half of it, but I surprised him.

They ran the last drug slowly and kept taking my blood pressure, but I was fine, so they kept speeding it up. It’ll go faster next time.

Then they took out the needle, put on a bandage and sent me home. Since I wanted some hard candy, we stopped at the grocery store. I broke down and got Jello and grits (yes, AP friends, people do eat grits down here!).

Since we were worried about my getting scratched, Charlie is taking IkeGetDownFromThere to the vet now to get his claws trimmed professionally. Linus is curled in my lap, but has taken the time to go bark at the UPS and FedEx delivery guys.

When we started the day, we had no idea how bad this would be (or if it would be worse, based on the PET scan). But now I feel none the worse for wear (except a 12″ sub really is too much!), so it won’t be as bad as I imagined.

Sure, it’ll get worse over the next few weeks. But for now I’m going to be happy it’s not worse yet.



  1. Ann Shen said

    12″ toasted spicy Italian with onions and peppers…boy…I couldn’t eat that even on a perfectly healthy day! 🙂 I guess you have to be a southerner to understand grits…I’ve tried them, but still haven’t found one that is to my liking. That said…you can’t get them in “the great, white north”, so… I’m glad that your first chemo day was a “not worse” one. ;P

  2. susie vanderGlas said

    And it may not get worse worse is only if you let it I think….
    So your road is off to a smooth ride
    Way to go I am in the back seat smiling and believe you me I dont ride with many people…
    Take care my sister……

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