And by “They”, I mean those never-ending, life-sucking prescription refills!
Day 22 OT
Kendrie had her first off-treatment check up today in Atlanta. She was not real happy about the finger-stick, and was showing off the “giant hole” in her finger to anyone who would look the rest of the day, making quite a production out of it. I think if she could have gotten away with adding a limp, or perhaps an ace bandage around her head, she would have.
Her blood counts were perfect, though, right where her oncologist wants them to be. He even said that unless she starts having any troubles, we don’t need to bring her back for two months. He does want to check her blood work every four weeks, but next month we can just run her to the lab on base and have the results faxed up. She won’t miss an entire day of school, and I won’t have to drive back to Atlanta until March --- how odd will that seem?!?!? No complaints here, though. She does have what appears to be a fairly-typical post-treatment rash on her arms and one side of her face. No treatment necessary except for a topical anti-itch cream, unless it doesn’t go away in a few weeks. And that was it --- fairly anticlimactic for our first visit ….. JUST the way I wanted it to be!
So I was driving home this afternoon, feeling all smug about how we seem to be successfully leaving our treatment days behind, one baby-step at a time, and what a nice feeling it is to be cruising along with nothing more treacherous than a monthly finger-stick in our path … when it happened. The wake-up call that no, indeed, reminded me I have no business being so full of myself, thinking we’ve left the world of leukemia behind. The wake-up call disguised as: PRESCRIPTION REFILLS.
Now, although Kendrie is technically off-treatment, she still takes two different oral pill prescriptions each night for chemo cough, still takes her Bactrim (antibiotic) four times a week, and we keep a stash of both Zofran (anti-nausea med) and Miralax (stool softener) on hand just because *those* lovely side effects could pop up at any time and we certainly don’t want to be caught unprepared. Naturally, four of these five prescriptions came close to running out right around the same time this week … even more naturally, they are all four filled at different pharmacies in our town. Just what is UP with that???
Only one pharmacy in town can flavor the Bactrim, so we go there for that. Only one pharmacy (naturally, on the other side of town) has dissolvable Zofran, so we go there for that. The pharmacy closest to our home is where one prescription is filled, and Blaine gets the fourth filled at the pharmacy on base. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but that’s just they way it worked out. We’ve been doing it this way for the past twenty-seven months, so no big deal, really, until they all run out at once.
Now, being the savvy cancer-parent that I am, I called all the refills in ahead of time so I wouldn’t waste time standing around in the pharmacies. Lord knows I’ve got important things to do with my time …. like organize Kellen’s underwear drawer, or arrange all of Brayden’s Bratz dolls in alphabetical order, or something. I was going to be wasting enough time driving all over God’s green earth from pharmacy to pharmacy as it was. So, after dinner tonight, instead of spending quality family time with my husband and kids, I drove to the pharmacy closest to home and got the first refill … no problem. I then drove across town to the second pharmacy, only to be told they only had ten of the thirty pills on the script, and could I come back Monday to pick up the rest??? Fine (sigh) I’ll come back Monday.
Then I drove (across town the OTHER way, of course --- visualize a triangle, and me making trips to all three points) to the third pharmacy, only to have the tech tell me “it was too soon to get the med refilled”. Of course, she said it loudly …. “YOU’RE TRYING TO GET IT REFILLED BEFORE YOU ARE ALLOWED ANY MORE” Why not just put a flashing neon “Drug Abuser” sign over my head??? Really, how embarrassing. I replied, (in an equally-loud voice so the people in line behind me would know I wasn’t really a drug-seeking loser) “Well, my DAUGHTER only has enough ANTIBIOTIC to see her through the weekend, so I don’t see how it can be too soon.” She double checked and said, “Oh, it says right here that your insurance company says they won’t refill it until tomorrow. You’ll have to come back then unless you want to pay the whole thing now.” Tomorrow. Are you kidding me???? One measly day? Embarrassing as it was, I couldn’t stop the snort and “Oh, for God’s sake” comment that came out of my mouth. I seriously considered paying for it, bearing in mind it would be another hour of my time the next day, and the gas it would take to get over there …. But decided not to, on principle. Of course, tomorrow when I’m driving back to one pharmacy and Monday when I’m driving back to the second, I’ll probably be grumbling a different tune.
So as I was driving home (oh, and by the way did I mention that I managed to spend $80 in the grocery store that houses pharmacy #3?) complaining to Blaine on my cell phone about how I spent two hours and $80, and was still only coming home with one and a half of my four refills, I realized ….. we still have a ways to go. Kendrie will be on these meds at least three months …. More like six for the Bactrim. I guess it’s to keep me humble. Or just drive me crazy, I’m not sure.
I’m telling you, pharmacy school would have been worth it just for the free samples. In the meantime, Kendrie and I will both keeping trying to find our Grail. Although I’m not a huge Monty Python fan (as in, not at all) I just love this song that was sent to me and think it’s perfect for coming off treatment. Especially for a mom who's being driven insane by prescription refills --- for a kid who doesn't even technically *have* cancer anymore!!! (But that's so fun to say!) :)
Please keep our friend Catie in mind as she and her parents Jenny and Tre’ prepare for her surgery on Monday, a third attempt by the surgeons to remove ALL the remaining tumor from her brain. I’m very hopeful that this is IT for sweet little Catie and she can move on to her life WITHOUT cancer, like she deserves!
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Wednesday was our final day of Christmas vacation and I wanted it to be a good one for my kids, so we: ate lunch with friends at one of their favorite restaurants, went to see a matinee of “Cheaper by the Dozen 2”, went with said friends to a local park for an hour and a half, and went to a friends’ house for another hour to jump on their trampoline. Then, it was time to take Kellen to his first basketball scrimmage and I made sure to pack crayons and coloring books for the girls so they wouldn’t’ be bored.
By the time it was over, we had been gone from 11am until 7pm, no dinner, and we were all hungry. Kendrie said she wanted to go to McDonalds for dinner and I said, no, even though we needed to do fast food, for time’s sake since it was a school night, I would prefer Wendy’s so I could get a baked potato … something with a little more substance than Chicken McNuggets. Kendrie had the nerve to look me right in the face, after I spent eight hours and countless dollars doing fun things with her this day, and say, “NO fair! I never get to do anything that *I* want to do!!!”
I’ll remind her of that on the next vacation day that I make them spend shopping for groceries, putting away laundry, cleaning the gutters, and re-grouting the tile floor in the bathroom.