Our family had an experience a few months ago that changed us.
Enough time has passed that I can share.
In November, at a doctor’s appointment I had my blood taken. The quick results came back with a problem. Anemia. Anemia is a lack of iron. Iron helps your body take in oxygen. You need oxygen to function. So the doctor sent me to an Oncologist. Oncologists are scary.
After complete blood work, the diagnosis was not good. Not only was I anemic, but my iron levels were so low that they barely registered in my cells. On top of that, my blood cells had shrunk considerably. This was really bad. The doctor looked at me and asked how I even had the strength to walk in the office. The Oncologist immediately started me on a six week treatment plan. Iron infusions every week for 6 weeks.
I received my first infusion on that very day. They took me into a large room with reclining chairs every 5 feet or so and ran a needle carefully into my arm. At the other end, dark brown liquid. I sat as a nurse forced the liquid into my veins. You have to be really careful with iron, one wrong move on the nurses part and the iron would die my arm indefinitely. The needle had to placed just right and the iron administered very slowly, or else my vein would break and my arm would go black. The nurse told me that administering iron was her least favorite thing to do. That was nice of her to say.
I can handle needles just fine. I left thinking, “Okay, I can do this 5 more times”.
The doctor had told me that there could be side effects, but that very few people experienced them. They could range from headaches to cardiac arrest. Big range.
One woman came every week with a family member. She would set up a table in the waiting room with a puzzle. Patients and family members gathered around the table to help place the puzzle pieces. They talked about their illness a little. They talked about other things, a lot. Mostly they talked about their families.
What a petty challenge I was dealing with, in comparison to what they were going through.