Friday, August 26, 2011

Good-bye Arsenic, Hello Irene!

This morning I completed my 50th and final dose of Arsenic Trioxide. Just in time! If I weren't done, and Hurricane Irene stays on its current projection, it's unlikely I would be able to get to Dr. Sharma's office on Monday for another infusion.

I won't miss the arsenic, but I will miss Dr. Sharma, Lily, Shannon, and Lynette. Dr. Sharma is a brilliant and caring oncologist. I was more than a patient to her-- I was a person. Nine in the morning, on the Fourth of July, she met me at her office because she didn't want me to miss a day of treatment.

Two weeks ago, I called her office because the site of my IV infusion from that morning had begun to bruise. Bruising is one of the symptoms of leukemia, so I was worried I might have relapsed. She wasn't at her office, so Shannon took a message. Five minutes later, Dr. Sharma called me from the hospital to reassure me the bruising wasn't from leukemia. She could have addressed my concern the following morning during my appointment. But she cares, so she called.

I will also miss the other members of the Cancer Club with whom I became friends. With these friends, when you first meet each other, you skip the pleasantries. You learn about each others' diagnoses and treatment programs. It's the standard ice breaker. Then, you learn about their families. Finally, once you really know each other after multiple infusion sessions in the same room, you talk about the weather. I hope and pray each of them wins her battle.

The result of my PCR remission test hasn't come back yet. Maybe Monday. At least I will have a hurricane to distract me during the weekend wait. The storm is expected to hit here Sunday.