Yay! Grr! Ack! and Beyond

Monday was the annual foreign wives cookie exchange and the large container full of lemon bars I baked on Sunday night evolved into two containers of a delightful variety homemade cookies from a dozen or so other wives and moms. The kids were quite impressed with the beautiful creations but didn't hesitate to enjoy munching away at the delicious treats.

Tuesday I made sure that two out of four were awake and sitting at the breakfast table before I headed off to Tsukiji. I got a seat on the train (yay!) and arrived in time to check in at the machines which accept our plastic Cancer Center cards and print out our itinerary for the day (yay!). Then I discovered I'd brought the wrong bag with me and that I didn't have my plastic card (Grrr!) so I had to wait until the manned reception desk opened at 8:30 a.m. to check in. I expected this to delay treatment a bit as I couldn't go for the blood tests until after that and I'd end up having to wait a little longer to check in at the chemo room. Oh well, what's a few extra hours of reading time before treatment starts...

The nice lady at the reception counter was able to re-issue a card, print out my schedule and send me on my way upstairs very efficiently. As I read my schedule on the escalator, I saw that I didn't have a blood test scheduled after all (Yay!, I get enough of them and they're always well within the safe limits to get treatment anyway.) I was able to advance directly to the oncology nurse station right when my doctor was walking by to his office. He looked around to see that the usual nurse was busy out back and asked me and another of his patients to hand him our files so he could send us on our way upstairs to the chemo room. (Yay! Back on schedule again!).

The other woman was dressed flowingly in muted oranges and bright pink and stood out as much as I did in the sea of grey, brown and black. She announced to me "Chiyoko went to the mission school." I assumed she meant herself, as sometimes people refer to themselves using their first names (but not much after elementary school). Her husband is/was and artist and she gave me a copy of a painting he had done of Mary. She said the original was currently on tour. We registered upstairs and headed back to the lobby to pay our bills before the late morning / early afternoon congestion at the cashier's counter. A gentleman of 70 or so was headed to the escalator too and he made a nice gesture and told us "After you" in English with a pleasant smile. My new friend Chiyoko was quite excited as in her 76 years she'd never received such treatment or so she said as she gave the man a huge smile and thanked him. I think is was our brighter colors and my blond wig that gave him a few smiles.

I went to the ATM so get some cash to pay at the counter only to find that the credit card bill for last months groceries had been deducted from the account yesterday and I had to shuffle funds from several accounts to get enough cash for the payment. (Ack!) This took a little more time than expected but I was able to hand in my paperwork and pay before heading back upstairs.

We sat together and talked while we waited for the bills and Chiyoko-san said she's on the same treatment as mine now but that she'd had full brain radiation (gamma knife) recently for the metastases to her brain. She seemed to be doing very well. She disappeared somewhere as I was paying my bill only to reappear back upstairs, outside the chemo room with some rice balls she'd taken from her lunch box to wrap in paper towels and offer to me for my lunch. We were each called by the nurses then so I thanked her for lunch and went to my reclining chair for my full course. She was on her Herceptin only day so she finished and left before I did although I was done by 12 (yay! so early!). I expect I'll see her next Tuesday too.

I walked to Ginza again to get a little exercise, catch a different train back to Shinjuku and save a few yen and I was home before 2 p.m. Today I'll go update the bank books and see why I haven't heard from city hall about September's reimbursement.