It Could Always Be Worse

27 Sep

I’ve been telling myself throughout this whole process that no matter how tough some days may be, it could always be worse. And I believe that. It’s not hard to find someone whose cancer battle is much harder than mine. I believe this is true with almost any difficult or negative circumstance in our lives.

Well, I had the privilege of living out a now humorous (at the time, annoying) example of this concept yesterday.

I thought drinking 16 ounces of mocha flavored barium contrast at 5:45 in…the…morning was pretty bad. I had to choke that stuff down. Blech!!

We arrived at the hospital at 6:45 in…the…morning, breezed through pre-registration and then went to wait in radiology for my appointment with the CT scanner. My stomach growled as we sat there. I’m not sure if it was growling in hunger or growling in anger at what I had just put in it. :)

Before long, a tech took me back to get the IV started and draw blood for labs. We had to wait for the blood work to be processed before they could start the CT.

So we waited. And waited some more. And waited even more. Finally, the lab report came back and I thought we were ready to get started.

Not so fast there, little missy!

By this point it was about 8:00. The CT technician told me I would need to drink more barium contrast since it had been so long since I drank the first round.

What? Seriously??


This is when I realized, no matter how bad the mocha flavored barium contrast tasted at 5:45 in…the…morning, another 8 ounces of banana-flavored contrast (they only had banana and berry as I’ll explain in a minute) added to that was even worse. (I’m pretty sure, bananas will never taste the same to me again.)

Now, for the funny part. I had a little exchange with the CT technician prior to drinking the additional prep.

He asked me what flavor I drank at home before coming to the hospital. I told him it was mocha. He said there was no mocha flavor, there was only banana and berry. I told him I’m positive it was mocha. THEN he said, “Well, did it taste more like banana or berry?” Are you kidding me??  (I’m thinking to myself, I may have cancer, but I’m not stupid! I know the difference between mocha and banana or berry!) I said, “It tasted like mocha, but I’ll take banana if that’s what you have.”

When he comes back in, he asks me if I got the prep drink at another office and I confirmed that I got it from Chattanooga Oncology.  He said other offices have different flavors than they have at the hospital.  Duh.  :)

And this is the guy they are entrusting to inject me with a contrast dye and operate a very expensive piece of x-ray equipment?? Hmmm…I wasn’t feeling a lot of confidence in his abilities at that point.

Ok, enough of my moaning about the barium. It’s over (thank goodness), and hopefully the results will make it all worthwhile!

I also had my weekly CBC blood test done this morning. Everything was pretty consistent with previous weeks except my white cell count, which was 4.7 last week, dropped to 2.6 this week. A low white cell count is what’s called leukopenia. This means I have a low number of disease-fighting cells circulating through my blood which makes me more prone to catching colds and other infections. Leukopenia is an expected occurrence for chemotherapy patients, especially ones with lymphoma. Because lymphoma is a cancer of the immune/lymphatic system, my white cell count was a little on the low side to begin with. Add in chemotherapy, which suppresses and weakens the immune system, and you have leukopenia.

For now, this means that I need to be careful to avoid people who have colds or infections and be diligent about washing my hands and using hand sanitizer to try to prevent getting sick.

I am scheduled to see the urologist on Friday at 2:00 to get the results of the scan. The next week is chemo week (Already???) with treatments on Wednesday and Thursday.

Happy Tuesday! It’s going to be a good day!


2 Responses to “It Could Always Be Worse”

  1. Jennifer September 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    The pre-cancer Rachel would have read this guy the riot act in short order and told him that you were not stupid and knew the difference. You know what I say you are “lavender and gasoline” – I wonder if that is going to change through this. I kinda like watching the gasoline burn. HaHa. Love, Jennifer

    • rachturner September 28, 2011 at 8:31 am #

      “I kinda like watching the gasoline burn.” That cracks me up!

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