There’s a certain level of control that you give up when you go on a journey like this. You let people fill you with poison, pump you with radiation, zap you with gamma rays. You give it up to a higher power. You follow the plan. You show up where people tell you to when they tell you to. You even wait patiently for three hours for your appointment to start. You accept it… you know it’s because someone who is sitting in the chair planned for you has had a reaction and their infusion was stopped for a while. You’ve been there. You accept it.
And then the wrench comes flying at you when they tell you that the infusion of iron planned for today can’t be done today. The chemo and the iron can’t run at the same time and that three hour delay has changed the plans… we’ll run out of time. Which means come back tomorrow… yet another day that you will miss work. And that’s when you say it’s time to take control.
If you let it, having cancer would be a full time job. The number of appointments that are scheduled for you can literally take up all your waking hours if you just take what you are given. Of course, the first cycle, everything IS set up for you and you do need to take those appointments since basically you’re being squeezed into a bunch of already full schedules. But after that, well, start dodging those wrenches ‘cuz if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!
The trick is to take the first appointments of the day if they’re available… can’t get bumped for a delay if you’re the first person in the seat. Then for the appointments like Neulasta that have to be end of day on a certain day in the cycle, take the very last appointment available so you can be in your office as long as possible. Lastly, for those follow-up appointments that are unavoidably midday, batch as many as you can into one day to minimize the amount of full days off you need to take. And the overriding trick to the whole thing? Make as many of these appointments as far in advance as possible to get your optimum time slots. Wrenches dodged!
We also found an unexpected bonus benefit to our wall of photos and our mini-buffet of noshes. People seem to stop in to see what’s going on. And one of those people happened to be the head of the treatment center and, we found out, a very good person to have on your side. She arranged for us to come in on Saturday morning for the iron infusion when we explained our dilemma. And will set us up in the new treatment area going forward so I can bring my laptop with me. Remote connection to the office on infusion days in the treatment center instead of catching up in the middle of the night…. SCOOOOOOORE!