Saol fada agus breac-shláinte chugat!

It’s never a good sign when the doctor wants you to visit a cardiologist after a test for your heart function. Very rarely is it for a whim. So we didn’t expect rainbows and fairy dust as our daughter would say, but did have to draw the line at another invasive procedure… this time, a recommended angiogram. Thanks… but no thanks.

The echocardiograms were picking up what they called a Left Bundle Branch Block which meant the electric pulses in the heart were not functioning as they should. Thankfully, our PCP faxed over some EKG’s from the past few years, the oncologist was consulted and everyone came to an agreement that echocardiograms midway between each cycle of chemo to track the potential ischemia or, lack of oxygen to tissue due to poor blood flow, given that there has been no other signs of heart disease. An ACE inhibitor and a BETA Blocker are prescribed and we’re home free…WHEW!

Chemo Cycle 1 is scheduled for this coming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Y’know, whenever anyone thinks of chemo, it’s the nausea, fatigue and hair loss that comes to mind first. Nah… with us, it’s the planning! As with all things, we took a different path ten years ago. Each chemo session was an opportunity to do some fantasy travel. So every few weeks we picked a different exotic location and tailored our menu (and often our clothes) to our “destination.”

Our staple foods to bring to a chemo infusion would be bread, crackers, veggies, cheese, olives, nuts and fruit… snacks that would appeal to Rich at any time. Those foods and any additional sandwiches, soups, etc would be dictated by our destination. France? Brie of course! Greece? Kasseri! The only criticism we have of the Monter Cancer Center is the lack of a cafeteria… what do you mean we can’t get sushi here?!?!?! So we definitely have to plan even more beforehand this go-round.

But it’s not just about the food. With infusions this time taking up to 8 hours, entertainment is a HUGE priority. Since we don’t have cable at home, this will be an opportunity to have marathons of cable shows without worrying about rerun fatigue. A few clicks of the mouse on Amazon and we have a splitter for the remote speaker port and a pair of his and hers earphones (with individual volume controls, thank you very much). A DVD player in the treatment room is ours to use as well. Possibilities abound!

And as always, our faithful travel Scrabble game is coming with us. It’s not just about TV!

Comfort clothing is important as well. A quick trip to Target and Rich is fitted out with some comfy sweats, v-neck t-shirts for good port access and a nice pair of Bass vans to slip on his feet. And… the fez.

Ten years ago, our son Richard was in college and sent Rich a fez and bought one for himself. Each chemo session, Richard wore the fez to classes to have that connection with us 300 miles away. Just before his graduation from RIT, Rich was determined to be in remission. In celebration, Richard wore the fez as he received his diploma. So the fez will join us once again.

Lastly, the new treatment center has much more private quasi-rooms as opposed to the simple curtain of the old one at North Shore. That means we can improve our environment as well… a few blown up pictures of our friends, family and our travels as inspiration for health and healing will be surrounding us. We’ll also have some pictures of Williamsburg and Ireland… two places Rich wants to visit and these plans keep us looking toward the future.

I’m sure on one of our cycles, we’ll have some Irish cheese!

Long life and good health to you ❤

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