The first experience upon diagnosis is shock followed by fog. Chemotherapy adds to the fog! I needed someone to be with me at appointments.
Angie doesn’t drive (an insignificant point given her multitude of other gifts and talents). I also wanted to shield her from the shock of the rush of medical information and felt she would likely be as emotionally upset as me in any case. Instead, I asked a friend to be with me in the early days of assessment appointments and decision-making. She took great notes. When I looked back at them, I couldn’t remember half of what had been said and all of it was relevant. My 'chemo person' sat in with me when I met with the oncologist during the 6 months of chemo.
I was blessed that my friend Jackie drove me to almost every chemotherapy session (and other friends who drove me to the others). They sat with me during the inevitable waits during the process – and waited for me while I was receiving the infusions (in Gatineau, no-one accompanies the patient during the infusion process). Angie made us fabulous lunches.
I was accompanied on my first chemo by Carol who had walked the same hallways herself. She explained the system to me and settled me in to my chemo chair the first time. The nurse had trouble finding the vein (and it hurt a little). Carol hovered and made sure everything got set properly before she left the room.
As I didn’t drive for the week or so after the ‘big dose’ chemotherapy infusions (AC), Angie and I needed help getting around. I had weekly visits at the CLSC for a PICC line dressing. Angie needed to be ferried around. It was very helpful when someone offered. We had a list from the open house of people who had volunteered for this task. It was also a chance to visit and catch up with a friend.
This 'keeping company' whether for me or for Angie, on the roads or as a visitor, was a welcome gift.