I left for my appointment extravaganza at Dartmouth yesterday with my purse and a nearly empty art bag.
I always over pack for treatment days.
The only thing I can imagine being worse than cancer treatment is being bored to death during cancer treatment.
I need reassurance that I'll be comfortably distracted.. . . .and I have ADD.
To be distracted I need something to do for every five seconds of my life.
Add these together, and I have a tendency to over pack.
It's something I'm working on.
I started yesterday and only threw my art pad, colored pencils, and a pencil sharpener in my tote.
Usually I have the aforementioned drawing basics, plus all the tools needed to make jewelry, plus my cell phone, and a book.
You never know what could happen.
Then I get to the center and collect all the smut magazines I can and end up reading those, ignoring all the projects I brought.
My dad noticed the nearly empty bag and commented.
I told him I was turning over a new leaf, starting right then, with my new units of blood.
Little did I know there was a surprise in store for me. . . . .
I've said it before and I'll say it again, having cancer gets you some great presents.
All the gifts doesn't make it worth the price of admission, but it certainly makes life more enjoyable.
I had intentions of hitting up the cancerlebrity "swag cart" (for all the free goodies I get) for some more facial moisturizer yesterday (yes, folks, that's how cheap I can be. I get my face cream from the free cart at the cancer center).
It's more commonly known as the "comfort cart"and generally resides in the infusion room, but not yesterday.
Yesterday it couldn't be found.
Not to worry, I immediately had a volunteer fawning over me, practicing Reiki in my green pleather recliner.
Norris Cotton is at the forefront of integrative health services when it comes to providing complimentary care.
The center has a monthly calender outlining all the available events including wig bank days, where patients can get free wigs, support group, Chair massages and reiki.
What's innovative about Norris Cotton in offering these services (since Dana Farber does too) is that they are offered at the bedside during treatment.
These people can come to you FOR FREE!
Free is the hospitals version of the four letter "F" word.
And I hit the jack pot yesterday.
I was nestled all cozy in my recliner, watching TV, snacking, and drawing a portrait of my mom like I owned the place when I heard someone talking about how I was drawing portraits while getting infused.
I am on a portrait kick recently. I started with J, X, Lex, and I in an effort to bring some color to our dining room using colored pencils. I keep the person's likeness but infuse it with bright colors. It's fun and relaxing for me.
Now that people have spotted my talent, I'm getting requests. Who knows, maybe someday, I'll get commissions.
Low and behold it was the "artist in residence," a mythical person I had heard of but had never seen who apparently is in charge of hospital art.
This woman will come to you bringing supplies and give a personalized art class!
I've never had an art class before.
She immediately had suggestions on how to more easily and accurately draw my portraits.
Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. I now can draw more efficiently and effectively.
I'm all about efficient and effective.
Then she brought out water colors.
All sorts of water color options. There were regular water color paints then there were water color pastels and, be still my heart, water color colored pencils!
Who knew those even existed?
She even showed me there is a special paper I'm supposed to use to paint and gave me some to get started.
I was given a free art lesson from a pro, a water color paint pallette with brushes, pastels, and a gorgeous set of water colored pencils.
The pencils are just on loan, but she said she had been lugging those around for months waiting for just the perfect patient that would appreciate them.
And that perfect patient is me!!
So the mystery of the half full bag is solved, I stocked that baby up with art supplies.
I'm so excited. I had so much fun with the project.
She took our picture and talked about using our story for one of Dartmouth's promotional mailings. She thought I was just "so cute," which made my day.
I haven't been feeling "so cute" in a while, and I wasn't feeling adorable at all yesterday.
I had benadryl. I was whoozy. I wasn't talking, laughing, or making jokes, and I always thought when people told me I was "so cute" it was because of my petite size.
That really made my day that she thought I was a cute, cool person even while I am 40 lbs. heavier than average, grouchy and refusing to talk.
I guess "cute" is all about attitude.
Just for fun, for giggles, here are pictures from this weekend a year ago exactly. Obviously, I've experienced some bodily changes.
Oh, what a woman will do to keep breathing.
On a brighter note, Exactly a year ago my future sister-in-law was graduating valedictorian, magna cum laude from UNE with an associates degree in nursing.
Today Grace is graduating, again valedictorian, summa cum laude, with a bachelor's degree in nursing!!!
I'm sad that I wasn't able to make the celebration. I'm so proud of her!
Also another event worth celebrating BIG TIME this weekend (and we are) is Danielle's one year anniversary of her pancreatic transplant.
It looks like it's been a huge success. I'm glad I at least can participate in this exciting day. It's going to be one good weekend.