Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Part 22: Anxious Thoughts

The woman watched as the nurse attached the needle to the syringe filled with chemo. The transparent yellow liquid glistened inside its plastic shell. It was the woman's second injection in her second round of chemotherapy and she was grateful that aside from some fatigue, watery eyes, muscle cramps, and occasional mild nausea, she had not experienced any overbearing physical side effects from the treatment thus far. Mentally, however, the anxiety of her last appointment still plagued her because the syringe in the nurse's hand seemed wider that day.

"Are you sure that is the same dose as last week?" the woman asked delving into the details of her traumatic experience from two days prior. "That syringe looks different from what I remember."

"Yeah. It's the same," said the nurse. The husband peered over to look the computer screen and concurred.

"Okay," replied the woman, still in need of convincing. 

She stood up and turned her back towards the nurse who, shortly thereafter, slowly dispensed the yellow liquid into the woman's backside—so slowly, in fact, that it caused the woman internal alarm. 

It's never taken this long for them to give me the shot. What's she doing?

"Um...are you almost done back there?" asked the woman, starting to become anxious while the needle held its ground. "This seems to be taking awhile."

"Almost, I'm just doing it slowly so that it doesn't sting."

“It usually hasn't taken this long, so I'm just trying not to..." The woman didn't finish her sentence. A tingling sensation began to flood her body and she fought the urge to close her eyes. "Umm...I feel weird."

"Just a second," said the nurse. "I'm almost done."

"I...I think I need to sit down or something," the woman replied trying to remain calm. 

Instinctively she began to sit back down the the chair, the nurse scrambling to get a band-aid over the injection site. She turned pale and her skin became clammy. She felt like she was going to pass out. The nurse quickly closed a blood pressure cuff around her upper right arm and began to get a reading. The woman's blood pressure had dropped in half. She breathed deep, trying her best not to freak out, but she was scared. Luckily, in a few minutes, she was back to normal, though noticeably shaken up from the experience. The nurse ensured that her vitals remained stable and then freed the couple to go on their way. 

It had been a shaky start to chemo round two, but on the bright side, her HCG levels had dropped by 90% since her first round—down to 2400! Prayers being offered up from around the country and around the world were notably gaining momentum. She only hoped that these next two weeks held similar results.

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