Treatment for cancer was taking up more time than I ever expected. I was in the middle of my second "recovery week", and had medical appointments on four of the five weekdays. On Thursday, I went to the clinic for a Neupogen injection.
My oncologist asked how I was feeling, and I said, "Great!" It was true. I hadn't felt that good since pre-diagnosis. Yay, iron! The doc was pleased with my comment, and informed me that an additional dose of Neupogen would be given the following day, which was Friday. She wanted to boost the white blood cell count with another injection of the marrow-stimulating drug before the next chemo treatment. I thought, "No problemo."
Silly, silly me.
Friday morning, I arrived at a mostly-empty clinic for the shot. I was in and out in 20 minutes. The rest of the day went well. I was able to do some home-schooling with the boys, and the iron seemed to be still sticking around. (Yay, iron! Again.) But during the night, the Neupogen really kicked in. I woke up at 2:00 a.m. feeling like my bones were being crushed. I rolled out of bed and stumbled to the medicine cabinet for some Extra Strength Tylenol. It was three hours before I got back to sleep, and I spent most of that time writhing around, struggling to find some way to ease the pain, but there was no escaping it no matter what I tried.
Up till then it was The Worst pain I have ever felt. It was worse than birthing an almost-twelve pound baby, drug-free (kid #3); worse than the labor that I thought would never end (kid #5); worse even than last summer's 30 mm kidney stone, its smaller twin, and all the related surgeries and procedures associated with their removal. It was that bad. It was worse! Because of that experience however, I am now able to attest that prayerful meditation can help to ease pain. I spent a lot of time in those wee hours focusing on Christ's Passion and Death, and as a result, dwelling less on my pain. I acquired a new understanding of suffering that night.
My poor blood was taking such a beating, and the rest of me too. I had no idea, before living through it myself, that treatment for colon cancer involved so much pain. Nausea and fatigue I expected, but the rest of it was a complete--and unwelcome--surprise.
I just hope that someday (a long, long time from now!) I will get to meet the souls who were flying out of purgatory that night.