Friday, November 28, 2008

Cancer skills

Now that I'm officially in the "observation stage" -- and will be for 2.5 years... I can make a list of the skills I've gained in the 6 month cancer journey... in no particular order:
  • The pole dance -- the IV pole, that is. How to most efficiently drive one. How to negotiate the bathroom and other tasks while hooked up and how to make sure you come back untangled.
  • Recliner operations -- How to make them tip back, how to work the attached tables etc.. My cancer center has two versions, I've mastered them both and have a distinct preference for the green ones.
  • Port aerobics -- The implanted device that takes the needle so they don't have to put one in my arm every week -- is kind of tricky. I know all the gymnastics and movements to make it work.
  • How to live without hair -- this one is easy, ignore the fact that you don't have hair. Don't try to hide it, just pretend you have it. People will look at you funny, but it doesn't really matter.
  • How to talk to insurance companies and hospitals -- this one I've only gained a small skill at, but so far it made me see a $220 error in my favor.
  • How to hold still for scans -- the trick here is to think about someplace else. Close your eyes and pretend you are elsewhere. Mentally walk down the beach or wherever you are. This trick also works to bring your blood pressure down when you are having it taken.
  • This isn't really a skill, but rather a bit of advice -- always be nice to your chemo nurses. They're the ones who will make it quick or slow for you to get done with your infusions... they'll look out for you to make sure the oncologist orders the right stuff.... Also, be kind to the chemo scheduling people -- they can make you come in early or late -- when it's busy or when it isn't etc...

5 comments:

Seeking Solace said...

I may have to learn the pole dance if I am lucky enough for infusion treatments for my RA!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

If your infusions are weekly or whatever.. if they give you the option of getting a port installed, take it! Even with the problems I've had with mine, it has saved my veins and prevented a ton of bruising.

Barbara said...

Congratulations on finishing chemo!

Seeking Solace said...

Does the port hurt? I mean, I am in pain all the time, I really don't want any more. Bruising doesn't sound so good either!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

The quick answer is that the port doesn't hurt and you wouldn't know I had it unless I pointed it out because it is under the skin... Accessing it is much less painful than getting an IV.

I left the details about it on Seeking Solace's blog in a long comment on today's post... because I lack the focus to find her e-mail address...