Every week I look forward to the Sabbath for the spiritual "R&R" it always is. It gets me out of the usual routine, gives me something new to think about and ponder, and lets me renew love and friendship with my wonderful neighbors. This week is especially welcome because starting on Monday, it's a race to get everything in place before the first chemo treatment on February 24.
Monday is an ultrasound and needle biopsy, Tuesday is my second visit with the oncologist who will talk about results of the ultrasound, biopsy and MRI, Wednesday the port will be inserted next to my right collarbone for delivery of the chemo cocktail, and Thursday I have a PET scan to determine if the cancer has spread further than the breast.
Friday is just for me--I finally get the pedicure I've been putting off for a month. During all this time I've been treated for cellulitis, an infection on my legs characterized by weeping sores. It wasn't healing as fast as the dermatologist thought it would, and now he thinks that might be a result of the presence of the cancer. Treatment for cellulitis means wrapping the wound from just above the toes to just below the knee, first is gauze saturated with zinc oxide, then with a layer of cotton, and finally with a bandage to keep it all together. And it really itches under all that wrapping.
Consequently, I have had to wear these awful black backless slippers because my wrapped feet wouldn't fit in shoes, and I couldn't get them wet, which meant I couldn't take a bath. Not gonna lie--I'm here to tell you spit baths are highly unsatisfactory. This week, prior to the PET scan, I will remove the wraps (known to dermatologists and cellulitis sufferers as unaboots), and then I'll be able to sit in the shower till the water runs cold, and soak in the foot bath for my pedicure.
Through all of this, I've been going steady with a wheeled walker because the injured muscle in my left thigh, way up there in the groin with the adductor group, has been so slow to heal, despite several weeks of therapy. All I need now is shingles, or hang nails, or warts on my feet. Oh, wait. I had those, too, but the dermatologist shaved them off before the unaboot was reapplied.
For months now I've looked forward to going to the annual writers conference in Phoenix, schmoozing with friends, and who couldn't use a little dose of Phoenix in February--right? I kept hoping things would smooth out, but getting the pre-authorization for the PET scan took so long I ran out of days to schedule medical procedures. So I had to cancel the flight, the hotel, the conference, AND the launch of my new book. With or without me, however, you'll soon find 'What Took You So Long' in stores where Deseret Books are sold.
Oh, and there's one more thing. Our daughter-in-law is getting ready to do another in vitro implant the following week (23rd--) so they can get a baby this year. We don't know which day yet, but they're doing that in Provo, so they will be staying in our guest room where she can have bed rest for a few days after the implant, and the Most Wonderful Daughter in the World, who lives two streets away, will be bring food, regale us with her wit, and take care of the darling 14-month-old toddler so the sickies can rest. I will be glad to have them here.
Then the chemo begins on the 24th, four doses, one every three weeks, which takes us to the end of April. Three weeks later I'll have the surgery to remove the tumor. I'm told a radical mastectomy isn't what it used to be. They don't take chest, shoulder or arm muscles the way they used to, and there isn't a lot of pain involved. I'll be hospitalized two nights maximum. I've always recovered quickly from previous surgeries and hope this battered body doesn't fail me now because...
In the meantime, my wonderful children have found the best possible way to distract me--planning a vacation for July at a beach house on the Oregon coast, my favorite place on earth. We have been looking at websites for a rental that can sleep at least 12 people. I studied a few before I had the MRI the other day, and while the machine clanked away, I was dreaming of the place I love best. Just hope I'll be ready to travel in July.
Sometimes, with all of this Stuff Going On, I feel like poor beleaguered Job. Therefore, I really need this sabbath. I have many blessings to be grateful for, but so much strength to seek for what's to come. It's my weekly search for serenity, and this time it's the calm before the storm of the next eventful few days.