When I left the hospital, these were the facts:
*I didn't have a bacterial infection in my blood
*I seemed not to have any infection/virus/anywhere
*I felt fine
*Some of my cell counts had risen, ultimately taking my overall condition to a place where my doctor felt comfortable letting me leave.
But even though I've been released into the wider world again, the major theme of the weekend has been an ongoing debate/negotiation between me and my handlers (parents) about what behavior is or isn't going to put my life in jeopardy.
(Fresh fruits and vegetables have been allowed back in, but only alongside what would otherwise be utterly compulsive behavior, like scrubbing the outside of my avocados with soap before cutting into them.)
Yesterday passed without conflict as it was very rainy and I was tired, so I had no desire to leave the house. Shahab—my father, without his Dr. Dad cape on—was kind enough to drive to Blockbuster and rent us several movies, all with the common theme of good triumphing over evil. This includes the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I think I'm supposed to envision the cancer as the Evil Eye of Sauron, my spleen is Mount Doom, and all the cancer cells are a grimy army of snaggle-toothed Orcs. My will to heal and positive body responses are...hobbits? Sam and Frodo? Rudy and Elijah Wood? No, no, much better: I'm Viggo Mortenson! Aragorn, King of Men! Yeah!
Anyway. Today raised more of a challenge as the sky lightened up and we began to get stir crazy. There is only so much sitting-in-the-house-preparing-for-cancer-treatments a girl can take.
I wanted to take a drive, and I wanted to go to Target. When I put this request to the keepers of the keys (it is their car anyway), a series of negotiations ensued, with the following compromise reached:
I would be allowed to drive up into the hills to Three Rivers. Gas would be needed, and Annie would pump it. I would not leave the car or touch the gas pump, or anything at the Gas Station, an obvious location for insidious germs and other unsanitary residues.
Annie would be allowed to enter Reimer's Candy Shop (one of the few destination points in Three Rivers) but I was to sit outside on a bench and not enter and/or touch the kid-covered candy counters, or anything else the general public may have exposed to their random afflictions.
We could go to Target, but I was to sit in the car and wait for Annie. Same reasoning as above. End of discussion.
And what a lovely drive it was. Annie was finally introduced to a part of California more beautiful than the industrial hospital courtyard (see photos) and we were able to get out of the car, admire the river and the rocks, and breathe fresh clean air.
Reimer's port-a-potty was immediately ruled out without any fuss from me. Then Annie went candy shopping while I sat on the bench, held my pee and pondered the cost-benefit analysis of breaking The Rules.
After all, I understand the reason for The Rules, and they are legitimate. The consequences of getting even the littlest bit sick could be dire for me at this point. Any kind of infection in my body could mean more hospital stays, major setbacks, delay of cancer treatment. My inner Aragorn could be rendered powerless. The Orcs could trap the whole f*cking fellowship in a cave and continue to spread Sauron's evil empire. (In other words, it could get really bad.) With that in mind, the question becomes, what risks are worth that possibility? Is a trip to Target really worth the future of Middle Earth?
No, a sane person reasons, no it is not. So much better to be safe than sorry. But it is a struggle to train ones self to go from dirt-eater to germaphobe overnight. How long has it been now since I have openly scorned antibacterial hand gel!
It was the pee that broke me. Once I was in Target using the restroom, this particular battle was lost. Annie and I re-defined The Rules to suit the mission. I would not touch the cart. We would purchase antibacterial hand gel.
That settled, I thoroughly enjoyed the Target run. I now have quite the collection of stylish Mossimo-brand loungewear, perfect for relaxing indoors and idling away the days between chemo treatments. I also bought notebooks, one of my very favorite things to buy! I selected one special binder to collect my medical documents, one lined composition book to take detailed notes with medical personnel, and one tiny spiral notebook in which to record spontaneous inspiration for future blog posts. (See below).
And so tomorrow I will take my notebook to my 2 p.m. appointment with my oncologist—Gandalf?—where we will discuss my diagnosis, and his plans for my treatment. It is he who can shed the most light on immediate fate of the Fellowship. As soon as he does, I will share it here.