Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chemo #4 Halfway!

I brought my handy dandy laptop with me to the cancer center today to do a blog post during my halfway chemo. I wanted to post a "play by play" if you will about what happens during a typical chemo.
Dan made meme

I went in early this morning to get my port accessed. They stick me and put a tube in and then I go get breakfast with Dan. (editor's note:  breakfast is the most important meal of the day) I cover up everything with a scarf so people don't look at me like I have a tube coming out of my chest. Which I do....

We came back after breakfast and went and saw Dr. Rowland. He was thrilled with my blood tests again. Everything looked really good which means the white blood cell booster shot is working!

He wanted us to schedule a PET scan before we came in to see him next time since this is my halfway point. I am already nervous about this PET scan since it will say so much about what my next treatment options will be like (more chemo? radiation therapy?) and how much longer do I have to deal with having "cancer". 

He also decided to bring one of the chemo drugs, the "A" in ABVD back up to normal dosage levels. He dropped down on the dosage after my fiasco first chemo treatment but since I have been feeling so great he wanted to move it back up to hopefully kill off any cancer cells that might be lingering. He is keeping the "V" in ABVD at 50% however since that drug really affects(editor's note:  I have no clue if it should be affect or effect.  Chime in!) my liver which is something else that went haywire during the first chemo.

After seeing him and getting the go ahead we walk over to the chemo infusion suite.

I always ask for a private room instead of going out to the infusion room. Don't get me wrong, the infusion room is really nice. Huge windows, a fireplace, and big screen TV's everywhere. I just really like sleeping through the last half of my chemo. I don't feel comfortable sleeping around other people however so I always ask for a private room. Here is what it looks like.

Not huge, but completely our own space. I am sitting in a recliner.

Dan always brings his laptop to work on things since chemo can get pretty boring. 

Today we had my favorite nurse Mary. She was the first chemo nurse we met and always remembers us and little things about our lives. She is really nice and has a very dry sense of humor which Dan loves.

Mary gets me hooked up to the infusion pump. They start me off with a bag of saline to give me some fluids. Then Mary hooks up a bag with benadryl, my steroids and anti-nausea meds. I started at 9:20am.

The first drugs make me pretty loopy and tired, but I have to stay awake so that when they give me my first heavy drug, the "A" one, that I can eat ice chips to keep mouth sores away.

Mary comes in with the "A", "B" and "V" drugs. They are all "push" drugs which means Mary has to sit and insert each one manually into the IV line.

Mary giving me Adriamycin aka "A" aka "Red Devil"

 Dan talks to her since I am shoving ice chips down my throat the whole time. Luckily since my mouth is numb from ice I don't usually "taste" the drugs. It's weird that a drug that is being inserted straight into my body can still leave an awful taste in my mouth. The saline they use to flush out my port always tastes the worst. I brought candy the first two chemo treatments to combat the taste, however it now seems that all chewy type candies make me horribly nauseous. How fun. So now I just stick with ice chips.

After Mary finishes "pushing" all the drugs she hangs up the bag with the "D" to finish out the chemo. At this point I usually pass out. It takes about an hour and a half to two hours for the "D" to get in my system. When I wake up I am always completely washed out, almost yellow. It is always a shock the first time I see myself in the mirror. The Casper look lasts for about 24 hours and isn't just my face. My arms, legs, everything looks a little yellow.

         Chemo face before                                                                     Chemo face after. Casper!

After that, Dan and I are all done. We were out of the hospital today by 2:00p. We headed to the grocery to get some crackers to help me drink more in the next couple of days. Then we came home to do some laundry and dishes, well Dan did dishes and laundry, and I passed out for a little while. 

I'll try and go to bed early tonight so that I can be ready for my school's Open House tomorrow. Hopefully I don't look too pale for the parents or talk too fast due to the steroids. It will be a long day but then Friday is a half day at school and I just have teacher meetings in the afternoon. Score! On Saturday, Dan is leaving for the weekend for a couple of gigs and my mom is going to come over to hang out with me and make sure I keep drinking. I totally don't mind that at all since I know she will clean out my flower beds for me and bring me food. If I am feeling up to it we can paint some new patio furniture I got for free from a friend! Woot!

So yes I am nervous about the higher dose of one of the most toxic drugs I take, but I am hoping with all the proactive stuff we are doing this time around that I will have no issues.

Dan made meme

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