Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First Chemo Down!

Just finished my first chemo. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30am and were able to leave at 4, so not too bad.
My chemo uniform!

They drew my blood from my port this time, which since it was still swollen and pretty bruised it did hurt, but not as bad as getting stuck 7 times looking for a vein.

And this is why I wore a scarf! Didn't want to freak anybody out
with weird tubes coming out of my chest!

We went and got some coffee and breakfast and were back to start the chemo at 9:30. I didn't meet with an oncologist this time since mine had to suddenly go out of town. That is why the nurses tried to cancel the chemo yesterday. Luckily we are able to do it today even though I didn't get to see my doctor. 

They started me with a TON of anti-nausea meds, which made me a little nervous. How bad was this going to make me feel that they used not one but two whole bags of anti-nausea drugs?? 

Once they had finished those they started pushing the chemo drugs. The anti-nausea meds made me a little sleepy so I began to drift off before they started pushing the drugs (which means a nurse sits there with a big syringe full of chemo drugs and physically pushes it into my IV). Since some of the drugs caused a bad taste I ate lemon heads by the handful while they pushed them. Another drug caused mouth sores so at one point I was stuffing in spoonfuls of ice followed by a chaser of lemon heads. It worked really well at keeping everything at bay.

I found this video awhile ago and showed it to Dan when we got home from chemo. We both agreed that this was a good representaion of how chemo kinda worked. Especially the beeping machine, the weird taste in your mouth and the jokes about the pronunciation of drugs. Warning, there is some grossness at 4:26 so skip over that Dad! :) [editor's note: not all of these symptoms were present today but the logistics of receiving this kind of treatment is spot on]

This guy is younger than my sister and had bone cancer 4 different times.
He is hilarious and you should check out his blog:
I just ordered his "Suck it Cancer" t-shirt too! :)

After they were done pushing all the drugs I got my last drug which was just an IV bag that dripped in. That took about an hour and half so I slept through most of the afternoon. It was nice to finally relax after worrying about weird tastes and mouth sores.

Finally sleeping under my comfy and beautiful new quilt!

After I woke up when the final drug was done dripping I looked in the mirror. I looked weird!

I was very pale and looked awful. But I felt pretty great. I was starving since I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast and didn't feel tired since I had slept over an hour. Dan immediately got worried, but the nurse explained it was completely normal to be that pale and my color would slowly come back

My nurse was funny, in the sense that every time I got a red spot such as on my chest or arm she immediately began to ask me questions about it. She was worried I was having an allergic reaction to the drugs. We tried to explain I just had very sensitive skin and this was really normal for me. By about the fourth time it happened she began to believe us! ;)

My chemo bag came in very handy. I used everything except the laptop so I will skip that next time. My next chemo isn't until August 8th. I shouldn't have to go to the doctor at all before then. I work a little at the Orpheum this weekend, but don't have too much going on. I will try and keep busy and not wait around for the side effects to start. Hopefully with all the anti-nausea drugs and steroids they gave me I won't feel bad at all.

One down! Seven to go!
[editor's note:  go julia!]


  1. Way to go Julia! You are doing great! I was on Zofran the entire time I was pregnant because I was so sick. I found some other things that help with the nausea and vomiting . They have special candies called preggy pops which I used but I found they work really well whenever you have nausea. Ginger worked for me too. I hope the nausea doesn't get too bad for you. Don't worry about scars they fade, your strength never will.

  2. Way to go Julia! Tara and I are sending love from MN. We can't wait to see you and Dan again (just a few more weeks)--it's been too long!

  3. Julia, I am blown away by your general peacefulness about this whole process, and your ability to take everything in stride. You are amazing, and so strong! And you look beautiful in your chemo uniform, too. What's with the pretty quilt? Where did you get it? Did you write about it and I just missed it?

  4. Hi Tara!
    The quilt was made by my parent's church. I explained it in my last post. It's towards the end of the post though! Can't wait to show it to you, I bet you'll love it too!

  5. Woops! Totally missed your last post somehow. Anyway, it looks super cozy! Can't wait to see it!