BREAST CANCER

A Day In the Life of a Stage IV Breast Cancer Patient

Wow, was I Wrong
An Oncology Floor at 2:45 a.m.
By Leah Taylor

BC (before cancer), I had a lot of preconceived notions about life with cancer. I thought it was all chaos and drama and scary and sad. Wow, was I wrong.

Those times I can’t sleep on an oncology floor, due to pain, or nausea, or an over thinking mind, or a “code whatever” on the intercom, or those relantless IV pole beeps, I use distraction as a form of coping. What follows is a few glimpses of 2:45 a.m. on an oncology floor.

This morning, I walked to the ice machine to add to my bottomless cup of ginger ale. I took a picture of outside the waiting room window. Downtown Ft. Worth is on the right side.

Oncology Lobby Window – October 30, 2018 @ 2:45 a.m.

There is a lot of info hanging on the walls of the oncology floor. September was Lymphoma Awareness month. Oddly, I see only one mention of breast cancer. I am grateful as I am quite aware of breast cancer, thank you.

There is a framed saying hanging on a lobby pole. I think it catches the powerful essence of those that work in the Oncology Floor.

One of the first pictures I noticed as I was being admitted to this floor is beautiful. My shaking hands and terrible focusing don’t do it justice.

Hope Picture

Returning to my room, the nursing staff are in with patients tending to needs or writing notes in their computers. I notice the hall looks very quiet and it is relatively quiet. Staff speaks in hushed tones. Beeps are intermittent. Oxygen flows in some rooms with relentless low keyed hissing. There is no chaos, no drama, and nothing is scary.

The next picture is my bed. This has been my bed since Thursday afternoon, October 25, 2018.

An Oncology bed at 2:45 a.m.

The next is a pic of my view since admission.

Another view from my bed. Kathy Lee and Hoda are shown again at 2:00 a.m. in the DFW area. You get to know these things if you can’t sleep much.

You see, this is what my reality was on October 30th, 2018 at around 2:45 a.m. It has been relatively the same since my admission last Thurday.  Some nights have involved more pain and more intervention to help control the pain. Most nights have included supportive discussions with staff. They have been very helpful.

The previous night I heard many “code blue” alerts over the loud speaker for a cardiac floor. Those alerts indicate to me that an admission on the cardiac floor must be quite different to an oncology admission.

This is not scary to me. It can be monotonous but I have been treated very well and feel grateful for a team that is professional and compassionate. I do hope to be home soon and blogging from there. Prayers appreciated.

Just a side note: I do know about the terrible news happening in the world outside of cancer. I do know about the upcoming vote. I know about the devisive political climate. I know about the terrible synagogue shooting. I know about the plane crash. I am aware of these things. But, my situation demands as much of my focus as possible. This isn’t narcissism. This is self preservation. That is one nonnegotiable in a cancer situation. A patient must learn to tune out a lot of things to keep focused on the health issues demanding attention.

There it is, with intentionally slightly out of focus pictures as proof they are real.

Real contentment must come from within. You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us.”

Warren Wiersbe

2 Comments

  • Phaedra Dyke

    That “magical” insomniac’s hour of 230am plagues me also!
    Your comment about knowing what’s going on in the outside world but energies going into managing your health rang so true. I sometimes feel so selfish or unempathetic foucussing on my body but just dont have the strength for it all so thank you for normalising this state of mind.

    • Leeza Long

      You are so welcome. First aid training demands we help ourselves first. Sometimes we must force the world out to stay sane. No explanation necessary. Thanks for the feedback.

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