Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Roadtrip - Amtrak style

I was so looking forward to our last minute trip to Washington DC.  I've always wanted to see the cherry blossoms bloom.  After my 5th treatment I was surfing the Internet and spotted the 'peak' period for the blooms was in a few weeks.  I decided at that moment that this was the year to do it... a year like no other.  Off I went to make reservations...

We would be going the week after my last treatment - it felt like a celebration!  Based on my white cell counts after the 5th treatment I knew I'd not have a problem this time.  Dr. Rubin dropped the Adriamycin from the chemo regimen and I continued to get the neulasta injection to boost the numbers and it did.  It jumped sky high then and again after the 6th.  This piece of the puzzle was placed.

With the 5th round, I had what I called neuropathy.  Dr. R and I were in disagreement - he called it 'Hand and Foot Syndrome'.  While possible, I was sure my 2 hours of reading about my symptoms on the Internet trumped his years of medical school training!  Either way, I remember what my feet and hands felt like.  If I was going to feel that kind of pain, I was not going to be able to make it around the city at all. 

On top of that, the fatigue has taken hold of me in a major way.  Making it up the stairs is tough.  My arms are so heavy they even tire out when I drive.  My thighs feel like I did 100 squats when I change my leg position from straight to bend.  All in all, anything I did was exhausting. 

Wheelchair.  Yes, I rented one as a fall back, just in case.  I was hoping for the best but deep down expected the worst.  I'm glad I had it.

We took Amtrak - I decided I could use the ride down to rest and Bob could use the phone and computer freely without me nagging him.  It was a good call - we were both happy!  Rest?  I was wiped out.  We made our way to the Marriott Mayflower (yes, the Eliot Spitzer client #9) Hotel and I needed to lay down before dinner.   We made it to the club lounge for appetizers and drinks.

The more I thought about it, the more the dates we were going to be in DC were sounding familiar... I realized Sarah was going to be there at the same time!  She was taking a  Pharmacy class trip there too, so we decided when we would connect, of course.  She met us for 'Happy Hour' after Bob and I spent a long day of walking around a bit and spending several hours in the Holocaust Museum - we needed some 'happy'.  Afterward, we all went for dinner with Bob's cousin Lauren and her husband Marty.  Let's say it was hilarious.... our hosts drove us on a nighttime tour of the city - around and around and around!  From Georgetown to the White House and back again and again!  Crossing 3 lanes of traffic, over the same bridge 2 and 3 times - it was great!!

It was that long day that put me into the wheelchair the next.  I was really exhausted and every muscle on my body hurt.  Off we went to the Spy Museum where we met up with Sarah again to tour the museum and grab a delicious lunch at the Greek tapas place before she had to head back with her group to Pittsburgh.  Very fun.... until... the 3 of us are heading to her bus - remember Bob is pushing me in a wheelchair.  It started as a few blocks and then it turned up hill.  It was chilly for sure so the rain drops that started to fall grew harder and harder and turned into hail!  Luckily I grabbed an umbrella from the hotel before we left and we all huddled under it - STUNNED and laughing!  Sarah kissed us goodbye and headed for the bus as it started to pour and pelt harder.  We were in front of the Museum of Natural History and figured that would be a good place to wait out the storm.  Who knew the wheelchair entrance was BACK DOWN THE HILL!!

Let's just say Bob was drenched by the time we got to the entrance... and really tired after pushing me around the blossoms and thru the WWII Memorial for the 1.5 mile trip back to the hotel. My hero!

Was it the trip I envisioned?  No.  But we had fun doing what we could under the circumstances.  We learned we want to go back very soon.  DC has so much to do and we did not have enough time or energy to do it!


DOI said...

Yes, Mary -- although the end of chemo has the emotional advantage that you know it's over and things will eventually get better, physically the operative word is eventually. It can take a very long time (14 months for me, and my chemo was not as strong as yours) to regain your strength -- but you will regain it! Meanwhile, I admire your decision to go to Washington and get as much out of the trip as you (and wonderful Bob) could.

Lisa Buglione said...

Sounds like a great trip.....hey, at least stuff to laugh at if anything! I am sure the cherry blossoms were beautiful! Sounds like a trip worth doing. Thinkin' about ya, Lisa