The Word is Welcoming

8 Dec

My white counts were up and I was able to get chemo yesterday.  Yay!!  How funny to be excited about getting chemo.  And lots of you said the same thing – that you felt odd being happy that I was getting chemo.

I’m just glad it wasn’t postponed another week and I’m especially glad the threat of infection – although always a concern during treatment – is not as serious as it was. Last week, my white count was 2.0 – today, it was 2.6.  Last week, my granulocyte percentage was 1.0 – today, it was 1.6.  Doesn’t seem like much of a change, but it was enough to put me back above the safe line.

Source: ThinkStockPhotos.com

I sat there today looking around the treatment room, watching and listening, trying to think of a word that accurately describes the atmosphere.  It’s unique and not at all what you would expect from a cancer treatment room – at least it’s not what I expected.

The word I came up with is welcoming.

How odd that a chemotherapy treatment room would be a welcome place.  But it really is.  From the minute I walk in the door, the nurses are glad to see me.  Hugs, how are yous?, laughter all around.  And it remains that way throughout the day.  Laughter, smiles, hugs, they just keep flowing from hearts of pure gold.

These women are uniquely gifted to do the job they are doing.  They care, they are careful, they are compassionate, they are concerned, and they are smart.  They have such huge hearts for the patients and I am so very grateful to be spending some of the scariest days of my life with them.  I think we’ve all had encounters with nurses who were, how shall we say, less than friendly?  Not these chicks.  They take friendly a whole new, wonderful level!

The nurses set the tone, but there are some patients who carry on the welcoming practice in spite of the fact that they are there for treatment, too.  I’ve talked about this patient before.  Mr. Hess is someone who has really touched my heart, and especially today as I learned more about it.  He’s there almost every time I get treatment because he gets treatment each week so our paths cross frequently.  EACH WEEK.  Whew.  I’m not sure of his age, but he reminds me a bit of my dad, right down to the New Balance sneakers and his outgoing personality.

Mr. Hess has stage 4 colon cancer despite the fact that he went for routine got colonoscopies.  I had no idea until today that his cancer was as serious as it is because of his positive outlook.  The smile on his face nor the warm greeting he gives to everyone do not give away the severity of his condition.  He will, most likely, be receiving treatment for the rest of his life – however many more days he is given – and I hope it is MANY.  Mr. Hess talks to everyone and asks each person how THEY are doing, even though he has his own set of issues.  What an example he is of living life full of the grace and mercy God has given to each of us!

This verse describes Mr. Hess perfectly:

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.
I Thessalonians 5:11

He’s been a blessing to me and so many others, despite the fact that he could talk your head off.  :)  The only negative thing I can say about Mr. Hess is that he is a Tennessee Vols fan and that just breaks my heart.  It is so hard to like him knowing that, but I’m giving it my best shot.  ha ha!

I go back this morning at 8:30 for the second dose of Treanda.  It’s the one that burns as it goes in and it burned quite a bit today, so I’m hoping for better results this morning.  Thank you all for caring and praying and reading and cheering and loving me and Barry right now.  I love you more than I could ever express – even my newer friends whose sweet faces I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing in person!

♥ Rachel

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2 Responses to “The Word is Welcoming”

  1. Becky Robinson December 8, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    Praying you have a good day today. Love, Becky

  2. Susan December 8, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    My chemo room is the same! And you’re right, it’s mostly the nurses. Even when they’re swamped, they are never short with me and always honest about how hard they’re trying to make it an okay experience for me. Some days I feel chatty and they’ll talk to me like an old friend, other days I feel sick or moody and they respect my silence. I know they are there looking out for me, so I never feel scared so long as I’m in their hands :) And yes, the other patients are great too! There are a few who are on the same schedule as me.

    Hope you’re feeling okay today xo

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