Today is my 64th chemo treatment. Dave and I left home at 5 am and made the 3.5 hour drive to St Louis. The patient was actually ready to leave on time today (highly unusual) so we arrived with time to spare.
Since we arrived with time to spare, we parked at the top and I was able to get in a walk before my medical day began. We also stop along the drive for me to make laps around a rest stop, as this generally makes me a lot less sore the day after our trip. They are building a new Siteman Cancer Center location down here right next to the parking garage. It is expected to open in 2024 and will certainly improve my patient experiences. I remember hearing about plans for this building not long after I was diagnosed and I am so thrilled to be around to see it coming to fruition.
The building on the left is the Children”s Hospital. I have friends whose children have received cancer treatment here. It is a first class place. It also houses the place where someone we love received a diagnosis of autism many years ago. I would prefer if all children were spared from diseases and conditions. Maybe someday…. The building on the right is the Center for Advanced Medicine, where I get my scans and treatment and where I see my oncologist.
St Louis is 3.5 hours southwest of home, so it is always warmer here and I enjoy seeing things bloom earlier than we do at home. Dr. Folusa Olabisi Ademuyiwa (Dr. Bisi), my amazing oncologist, mentioned that her Heidi’s Hope tulips are blooming. Abbott-Ipco, Inc. donated tulips for the Heidi’s Hope Boxes sold by Power Planter. We raised money for My Density Matters to help spread the word about breast density and why it matters. Power Planter sent Heidi’s Hope boxes to my oncologist, my radiation oncologist, and my neurologist on my behalf.
My first appointment today was to access my port and draw blood for several tests ordered by my oncologist, Dr. Bisi. My second appointment was to see Dr Bisi to monitor my progress. My labs looked great and I will have neck-down scans in 9 weeks and see her again to discuss results. I have to take precautions while my port is accessed since it runs directly to major blood vessels. The bright green sticker means that I have been accessed and cannot leave the 7th floor. If I have appointments on other floors, they cover the area with a specially-made bandage for protection that leaves my chest sticky for days.
Noise cancelling headphones are a requirement for me in the chemo pod because, frankly, some people are just rude. Your chemo pod assignment is luck of the draw unless you have special needs ( I don’t) and I haven’t been very lucky lately. Three weeks ago a patient in my pod tried to bite one of the nurses and a man directly across from me coughed up mucus and spit it into a bag the entire time I was there. Six weeks ago the pod was filled with LOUD TALKERS – I could hear them over Rihanna in my headphones.
Dave will work a full shift plus this evening after he drives me home from chemo. He caught a little sleep on the floor of the chemo pod next to my chair. This is love.