I’ve been craving bones, unbeknown to me.
I’d been dreaming of the perfect bowl of pho since chemo last Tuesday and then again last night, after round two. When a friend asked what pho was, I discovered it’s a Vietnamese bone soup. When pho broth is prepared traditionally, chicken bones are boiled and browned for hours, leeching valuable minerals from the marrow right into the broth.
I’ve also been craving bones unbeknown to me. Last night I thought of the amazing chicken-bone soup my friend Amy made me back in 2008. I swear the stuff is magical. You stir in a little sherry so it goes down smoothly, and voila: rosy cheeks and a happy tum replace vampire jowls and a bloated, empty stomach. Lucky for me, as I write this, Amy is brewing her magic broth for me just across Sugartown.
But my strange craving is also being fed by Ms. Miller who, totally unaware of my osteo-obsession of late, cleaned, dried, and giftwrapped a sweet package of tiny chicken wishbones and sent them winging my way. When I unwrapped them, James held one up and asked, “What is this?”
“A talisman,” I answered. I’m going to make a mobile of sorts from the wishbones, but first maybe dip them in glue and cover them in what, glitter? sugar? tiny white feathers? A wishbone mobile. A talisman for the strength of bones and good luck. Little perches where angels can alight in the night, while we sleep.
So Doctor G met with us yesterday morning before treatment, and the whole bone theme came into sharper focus. None of this is any coincidence, it turns out.
“So the marrow of your bones is very sensitive. Very sensitive. Your white cell count was blahdy blah, and one week later it is now blahdyblah. That means your risk for infection is really high. But we need to move forward with treatment, so you’ll get a shot of Neulasta tomorrow which will stimulate your sensitive marrow to make more white cells. Which you will feel. Because of your sensitive marrow. Do you remember if you could feel it last time?” “Yes, we call Neulasta ‘the bone crusher’.”
The very good news is that there is a ‘bone crusher’ shot. I can’t help feeling how grateful I am that I can continue treatment in spite of my sensitive bones, that they can just use the ‘bone crusher’ to boost my marrow and keep going. It’s a blessing.
And the day in the chair yesterday? It wasn’t a breeze. I always say it was a breeze, because it usually is! But this time it was not. My veins(!) it seems, have also developed a sensitivity to the chemo, as well. Stingy, achy, burny, two different tries of two different veins, and finally got it working pain free. Phew.
Toward the end of the day, my favorite nurse came in and she and D and I talked about having a port put into my chest so they can leave my poor veins alone. It’ll be like Iron Man’s, but no light, and off to the left, near my collar bone, smaller, and more discreet. It’ll be under my skin, no tubes coming out of it, just a little bump under there like an extra bone, or a secret power.
So now, we get two weeks with no chemo. Just us, the bone crusher, my bone soups and the making of my wishbone mobile. Then the port goes in if my white cells are up, on Wed June 10th, then chemo again on the 11th.
After treatment, D and I drove home in the rain last night, processing all this. The good, the difficult, the amazing care we get from all our doctors and nurses. We wondered if Little J was doing okay with neighbor D who had graciously picked him up from school and taken him that afternoon. We’d heard she was going to take him out with Little T. And just as we were thinking of them, neighbor D sent us this picture:
It was perfect timing.
Hugs and healthy bones and smooches to you,