Holidays bring new struggle

The way I’ve been feeling and my treatments have been going, I didn’t think I would make it out of Tallahassee to visit my grandmother in New Jersey any time soon.  The trip was planned as a birthday gift, but I was afraid to book my ticket in advance before my treatment, without knowing how I would feel after.

So I waited.

I decided to wait until after my next treatment, which was Nov. 12. I booked the ticket for the 13th because I wanted to escape for as long as possible before my next session of chemo.

When I walked into the hospital for my biweekly session, I was optimistic about the treatment and my upcoming vacation. The waiting room was empty, so I was assisted right away. My vitals were checked, and I was prepared for my blood to be taken. This is when everything started to go downhill.

It took the nurse almost an hour of repeatedly pricking my arm to find my vein. Finally, a specialist was called in to insert the IV. My blood was taken and sent to the lab to get tested.

I sat and waited again, wondering why it was taking so long. I ran downstairs to the cafeteria to grab some food, feeling uncomfortable and somewhat awkward with the IV still inserted in my arm.

The nurse finally returned with worse news: my counts were too low. The last time my counts were low, it postponed my treatment to avoid sickness.

The nurse gave me an option of maintaining my treatment with a lower dosage, but I candidly asked her if I would get sick afterward.

I wanted to leave my troubles behind for just a little while, and my treatment could prevent that from happening. The nurse admitted she couldn’t give me an exact answer, so my choice was easy.

I said no and postponed my treatment for Nov. 23. At that point, I was more than ready to leave the hospital and get home to finish packing for my 6 a.m. flight.

When I left, I tried to put all of what had happened behind me and focus on my trip. I had multiple offers for Thanksgiving dinner from friends in Tallahassee, but my heart wanted to go home to be with my family.

The holidays are meant to be spent with family and loved ones; it’s the only thing I want to do.

My vacation in New Jersey has been amazing. It feels great to get away and catch up with family I haven’t seen in years. I’m trying to take the advice of one of my newfound friends, Toronda Hinton.

“Try to forget about everything and just live for the moment. You’ve earned it,” she said.

Thank you so much, Toronda. I will definitely try my best to do that.