Better Living Through Chemistry


Yesterday, Jerry and I went to MD Anderson for assorted “stuff’…my pre-op info session and paperwork for the port, blood work, picking up a letter to give TSA when we fly (since I’ll be hooked up to a chemo pack and intravenous line) Jerry went to a support group for Caregivers called “I’ve Got Feelings Too” (found out we have it easy compared to so many other people) When I finished my blood work I heard the most beautiful singing coming from the lobby outside the clinic. It was a chorus of MD Anderson staff singing Christmas Carols (and a few Hanukkah songs too) They were simply fabulous. It made me cry. I sat on the floor with other patients and their families singing along softly and loving every minute of it.

I was supposed to go to a workshop called “Look Good Feel Better” but unfortunately it was cancelled. It was on how to apply makeup and how to pick the right wig. I honestly was looking forward to it. They have it once a month. Hopefully I can go to the one next month. I have never learned how to put makeup on ….which I’m sure all of you know just by looking at me.

Surgery today. No more PICC line. Here comes the Port. Much easier to care for, less obvious, and I can take a shower without Jerry wrapping me up in Glad Press and Seal and taping me all up. I’m gonna love the port.

We had to report at 5:30. Were up and running by 4:30 today and I was the first one into surgery. The doctor does thousands of these each year, probably could do them with his eyes closed. (hope he didn’t close his eyes) When he came in to explain to me exactly what he was going to do, he asked if I had any questions.

Um, yes, says I. The nurses say you sing during surgery.

That’s right, he said, Any requests

Broadway show tunes, I said. Rogers and Hammerstein.

Sure enough, he was belting out Some Enchanted Evening and Bloody Mary during surgery. I was in and out of consciousness…couldn’t feel much, just a little pressure. He did a great job AND, yes, he can sing.

Came home, went right to bed. That was NOT the plan. The plan was to get a few things done and then go out to lunch. But I was totally non functioning. Slept about three hours and then told Jerry I was feeling lousy…did NOT want to go out to lunch. Jerry went out to get take out from a great Italian restaurant down the street but by the time he got back, I was really pathetic…pain from the incision, nauseous from the anesthesia…NOT interested in any food what so ever. Just wanted to go back to bed. But, I took two pills, one for pain, one for nausea and honesty, they are magic pills. Within ten minutes I was human again. Never was much of a pill popper but I’ve been converted. These little pills are awesome.

Chemo tomorrow. I have my bag almost packed. The blanket from Erin and the girls, socks from Rosanna, the laptop so I can write a piece on yoga on the beach for a local magazine, my Kindle, a deck of cards.

And then we fly home on Sunday. Hurrah. I simply cannot wait. I’m packed, I’m ready…Bringing home lots of summer clothes (what was I thinking?) Will bring back more winter stuff. Houston is great but it does get colder than Venice.


20 thoughts on “Better Living Through Chemistry

  1. Safe travels, Mary. So glad the port will be in place. A singining surgeon, that MD Anderson is an amazing place. Hooray for those magic pills, too. Love, Barb G.

  2. Yay port. “Loved” mine, well as much as one can love someting like that. But glad you are free of the picc line! And even happier that the trip home is soon!

  3. Deirdre Christman

    Sure hope you ate that Italian food! (I figure if they were magic pills, the first thing they’d do is enable you to eat.) Seriously, I hope you rest and take good care of yourself. We love you!

  4. Your doctor sounds like a hoot!! I thought about you last night while I was watching The Sound of Music. How do we solve a problem like Mary?(Let’s face it. Many in power have asked it.) Anyway I hope everything goes well tomorrow. Safe travels.

  5. As usual, Mary, you bring smiles and laughs! Would the doc qualify for American Idol or the VoIce? Thank Goodness you had been told he sang during surgery. You might have thought he was a member of a “choir on high”! Jerry…to you I give praise! Take care, Mary, and a safe trip home.

  6. What a blessing MD Anderson is…singing surgeons, chorus of staff members, classes for caregivers….so glad that if you have to go through this, it is at such an amazing place. And South Pacific is a great choice!!! Did he perhaps sing Cockeyed Optimist? 🙂 Love to you….

  7. Your stories continue to amaze. Glad the PICC is replaced with a port and am certain it will work well and be good for you. Yay, yay, yay! Even though you weren’t feeling well, just the fact that Jerry went for the food made me think that you must be eating more easily so I was glad to read that.

    MD Anderson is quite an amazing facility. How wonderful that you have such well-placed family because they help you receive the care you so deserve.

    Easy travels home. I am excited for you.


  8. Thanks for the update, Mare. What an amazing combination of events. Some of it magic, some of it tragic. I went to Michael’s chorus concert last night and had to hold myself back from just sobbing at this beautiful boy. He is so grown up, all I could think of was that bright little boy who is growing up so quickly on us. He is a gift. So are you. Pardon me, I am mushy right now. Oh, I got a facebook friend request from Marilyn Keane! Can’t wait to catch up with her. Take care, Love you.

  9. Friend Marcia went to one of the “look good” seminars here…will ask if she can tell me how to reach them. Can’t wait to see you all!

    Sent from my iPad


  10. So glad that you now have the port. Too bad the singing doctor could not make the port song activated. Ha! Ha! Have a safe trip home. Venice welcomes you home with nice comfortable weather.

  11. My reply was lost. I say take the pills if needed. That’s why they are made. The Holy Ghost is providing wisdom for you throughout-Rely on Him! Mary always takes care of her namesake, so you are well looked after! Sending love and wishes for safe traveling. Enjoy the comfort of your home, friends, and Florida!

  12. Keep singing Mary – it does wonders for the soul, as you know. I am sure you’ll be glad to be back in your own bed. That works wonders too. Try to go visit that fabulous light display in the area. I can’t remember which key it’s on, but I remember we took Bill’s parents there a few years ago and it was so lovely! I’ll find out and let you know. Deep breathing and peace xoxo Karen

  13. So glad about the port, the singing surgeon, the staff choir, the magic pills!! – I hope your trip home is easy, uneventful, quick and calm. Glorious Florida weather awaits – we all miss you. You have such articulate and caring friends – sure says it all about who you are. xoxo

  14. YEAH!YEAH! and YEAH, – wrote it 3 times because 3 is the perfect number – mind, body, spirit…Trinity…head, heart, gut, etc….enjoy your time at HOME and bask in the live of your home and friends..

  15. Glad to hear the port is in, that should make things so much easier! So looking forward to seeing you and Jerry next week. Safe travels! Martha

  16. Hi Sweet Girl, I read your posts everyday… god bless you Mary, you are so brave. I have some news, my mom passed away on Sunday, just got back from PA…xx

  17. Sounds like you and Jerry are in good hands. I’m glad things are moving along steadily with a respite at home. Safe travels.

  18. Maria del Rocio Costa

    Ay Mary, me haces reir. It is great that you have the option of being taken care in such a great facility! Take advantage of all those worshops (and pills!). Maybe now you’ll learn how to use make-up (and pass the tips to those of us who are in the same boat)! Cariños y abrazos tropicales.

  19. Safe travels home. Don’t balk at the meds they give you-I did too at first-but they give them to you for a reason. They can be very magical. Why feel awful when you can feel human? Love ya, G.

  20. And so it begins….I LOVE the singing surgeon!!! Your way may be hard, but it will be blessed. I pray that your travels will go well.

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