Today I was waiting for the elevator to take me up to the 21st floor at Fancy Hospital. That's the you're-in-big-trouble floor, where people in wheelchairs and wigs wait for their oncologists and hematologists. I had my tri-annual appointment with my hematologist to check on my polycythemia vera. I noted L waiting too. Her hair was about an inch long, if that. She said hi then asked me for my first name. Then asked me for my last name. Then said she had chemo brain and didn't remember how we knew each other. I told her I had chemo brain too and I explained. She'd just had a cataract removed yesterday and was going to another floor to check in with her eye doctor. Both of her eyes already looked fine. She said she had breast cancer that metastasized to her liver and that she gets chemo for. She said it had been 11 years, which I took to mean since the metastasis. And she's still going. She's a little foggy, yes, but looks pretty good for an 80-something-year-old with metastatic cancer.
On my floor there was an airline hostess going around picking up abandoned newspapers and magazines and asking people if they wanted coffee, tea or water. She had a badge on but I couldn't read it so I don't know if she was a volunteer or if this was her job, to placate people while they waited for doctors who allowed themselves to be overbooked. Everyone was pretty calm, though there were a lot of us there, maybe two dozen or more, sitting around.
My blood counts were pretty stable, so the hematologist wasn't too concerned. At one point she had talked to me about Interferon, which I definitely don't want to take. She reminded me that that was when the itching wasn't under control. But it is and I am so happy that it is. It's always the same old story, isn't it? The rancher who wore boots that hurt his feet and his friend asks him why he wears them then and the answer is that it feels so good when he takes them off. I get upset even talking about how awful the itching/burning was and I am so grateful and relieved that I don't have it anymore because of the phototherapy. Now I'm going to be going only twice a week. When I was a kid I could never imagine myself older than 30 or so, and I certainly didn't ever imagine that some day I would be 55 and standing on a towel to keep my feet from picking up psoriasis skin-crumbs, naked and inside a tank while purple light and heat surrounds me for five minutes and oh yes, I'm wearing an empty pillow case on my head so that the rays won't make my face red and freckly. No, while I was painting freckles on my face with an eyeliner brush I certainly did not imagine that. O brave new world.
Labels: polycythemia vera