March 16th – Chemo Day
Well, the day has arrived. It’s chemo day. The start of a regimen that will last me 5 months. It’s a day I have not been looking forward to but a day I cannot get out of if I want to get cured. I dread chemo sooo much and I have dreaded it since the day they told me I would need it. But here I am, my veins will be pumped with toxins that will kill all those nasty bad cancer cells but will also kill all of the good cells at the same time. Am I gonna feel like me once that happens? Am I still gonna be my happy little self or am I gonna be wasted and lethargic? They keep telling me, “everyone is different”, so they can’t tell me how this will effect me. They can only give me a general idea. Okay, i guess we’ll find out. So, into that black tunnel of unknown I go.
I am met with a nurse and was taken to the back. I have my posse with me to make it all better. I have Clara Sue, and both of my brothers, Jake & Ray. Let me tell you, having them all there made such a difference. Cuz to be honest, my feelings were all over the place. I had no idea what to expect and my mind was just going back n fourth. We did all the standard procedures – weigh in, etc. I am taken to the infusion center, interestingly, it is set up quite nicely. I was put all the way back in the corner, which at first, to my dismay, didn’t wanna be there. Hate being in the corner. But after a while, I actually liked it quite a bit. I was put by a window where i could see outside to their back courtyard/garden/patio which is very pretty and found it to be somewhat peaceful. It has different colored flowers and trees and the birds come to visit. I loved it there. I decided this is where I always wanna be, at a window seat to look outside. The nurse continued on to check my vitals and blood pressure and made the comment, ” your blood pressure is very high, your heart is racey, are you nervous?”
Me, in my mind, (well duh), then out loud, “yeah I am, this is my first time.” She didn’t say anything after that. After all of that, she got me set up with a blanket, pillow, made sure I was comfortable, told my people where to find all the goodies, snacks, and left me there til my oncology nurses came to get me all set up. In the meantime I was trying to get as comfortable as i could cuz soon there was gonna be an onslaught of toxins being shoved through my veins. I already want this day to be over. It’s very hard to face the unexpected. My little man is at school and I can’t wait to go home and see him. I hate the path my life has taken but you gotta face the cards that are dealt to you. After a few moments, my oncology nurses show up. They introduce themselves, Melissa & Sarah. They are very nice women and I immediately connected with Sarah. They come around with their rolling cart that seems to have everything in it and here we go, tons of questions. Medications I’m taking, what kind of cancer I have, my age, etc, you name it, they asked it. Now it’s time to get down to business 😧 I’m scared!! I’m just not ready.
They go over with me all the pre-medications I will need prior to chemotherapy. This first session will have to be very slow to make sure I am not allergic to anything and that I don’t get sick. Just the premeds alone will take about an hour to be administered. They have to access my chest port. This is where EVERYTHING will be given through. Prior to coming I need to put a ‘BLOB’ of lidocaine one hour before appt on my chest port and cover with plastic band-aid. This is to help with pain and discomfort when they access it.
Chest port Lidocaine
The picture of my chest port was taken 3 days post port surgery. Doesn’t look bad at all. My surgeon did a great job. When it heals completely, it should hardly be there. And the incision on my neck, you can barely see it. So, it’s safe to say that it’s all healing properly.
This is Grapes. Penny gave her to me when I was first diagnosed to lift my spirits and it did. Look at those eyes. I fell in love with her. She will be with me for every infusion, she is my ‘prayer’ monkey. And she’s even wearing my ‘hope’ cancer bracelet that the cancer center had given to me on my very first visit there. Yes, she is here with me today.
It’s time to start 😥 Melissa and Sarah are ready to start premeds. I have to take 3 different medications before I can have chemotherapy. Decadron, Aloxi and Emend. Like a said before, this is to help with those nasty side effects, like nausea and vomiting 🤢
http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/decadron.aspx, https://www.drugs.com/aloxi.html, & https://www.drugs.com/emend.html
Melissa is gonna be the one to give me my premeds. My chest port gets cleaned off of the blob of lidocaine I had put on, now it’s time to hook me up 😟 My chest port is accessed. Ouch, it was a small prick, but it still hurt cuz it’s only been 3 days since I had it put in, so the area is still very tender and sensitive. I’m hooked up, no turning back now. Premeds are started and this will take about an hour.
Premeds went well. Not so bad. Now it’s time for the real deal. Chemotherapy time 😥 Melissa says she’s going to get suited up and she’ll be ready to start. Suited up for what?? I’m starting with the chemo A/C, this is 2 chemo’s in one, a very intense one. I hope I do okay with it. They were explaining to me that in exactly 2 weeks I will start losing my hair and it was advised to cut it short before that time. I’ve always had long hair. I’m not ready to lose my hair but I can’t stop that from happening, let alone losing ALL of my hair. It’ll start slowly falling out then it will come out in globs. That’s gonna be a real shock, another sucker punch I’m sure. *sigh* Melissa comes out suited up practically from head to toe, goggles included. Geez, what’s really gonna go into my veins?? The drug is brought out as well. This made my stomach turn just with the packaging it came in. The ‘caution’ label alone threw my stomach into somersaults.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a syringe that big. . . AND there were 2 of them!! Holy moly!! This will be administered by Melissa, slowly. I have officially labeled this one the ‘red devil’. How proper, since it’s red. Now this red devil will be entering my body every 2 weeks. Here we go.
‘I can’t explain the look on my face. I don’t know if I’m pissed off, in deep, deep thought, scared to all hell or what. But I can definitely say, it looks like I’ve aged years. It doesn’t even really look like me. There goes the red devil, invading my body, twice. I had it in my head that this was gonna feel like acid entering my body. That it was gonna hurt and burn as it went in. Honestly, I didn’t feel a thing, didn’t feel any different and no, it didn’t feel like acid. What your mind can put you through *sigh* sometimes your mind is a very evil place. After a while, that first drug was over and done with, nope, didn’t get any reactions to it, so I guess I did okay with it. Now for the next one, Cytoxan, this will be an IV drip that will probably take about 30 minutes. I was told that I will get a burning sensation in my nose like if I took a big woof of pepper, then it will go away. That’s a weird side effect. Again, it came out in the same hazardous packaging. ‘CAUTION’
This one didn’t seem as bad as the red devil, it just seemed like I was getting IV fluids, if that were only the case, I’d be much happier. Anyway it did’t feel like I was getting acid either and sure enough about 20 mins in I got an awful burning in my nasal passage that made me very very tired. It lasted for the rest of the infusion and I felt like I needed to sleep right then and there. Finally that was all over and I was unhooked and my chest port was flushed out and bandaged up. Man alive, I needed the bathroom horribly and I was told not to freak out cuz my urine was gonna be red from the adriamycin for the next couple of days and sure enough, it was. I was also told not to hold going to the bathroom. That it would be very dangerous for me to let those toxins sit in my bladder for too long. So, when I need to go, I NEED to go. No, dancing around til I find the time. Gotta let it out.
I can officially say, first round of chemo, DONE. I was told that I did great, I guess so. 3 more of those big boys and that’s all over. All in all, that all lasted about 4 hours. It was a long visit. But they said the next ones won’t be as long. It’s the first one that always takes so much time.
As I was gathering my things to get ready to leave, Sarah, one of my oncology nurses came to give me a necklace. She explained to me that it was from another lady who had been where I was now and she is a breast cancer survivor. She had left it at the cancer center with instructions to give it to the next woman who was newly diagnosed with breast cancer and that woman ended up being me. So, Sarah gave it to me and said it was from a cancer survivor. Oh how that warmed my heart. Thank you kind lady, it boosted my already down spirits. I LOVE it!! My goal is to be where you are. A survivor 🎗💖
I left feeling like a normal person, just very tired and still with the burning sensation going on. That lasted for another hour and it was all gone. On the way home I texted my other loved ones that I was done and it went well. The rest of the night, I felt as if nothing had happened, until later. I didn’t feel any different other than having anxiety. That night it hit an all time high and had a hard time sleeping. However, I was glad that this day was finally over. I was glad that I was able to come home and say, 1st round, DONE. I couldn’t wait to cuddle with my son, I so needed that. I couldn’t wait for tomorrow, just to put today behind me. I couldn’t help but anticipate how I was gonna feel. Will I wake up sicker than a dog, will I wake up feeling okay? Oh how I couldn’t shut off my mind. But, I was thankful that everything went well but I sooo wanted today to be over and a new day of sunshine to come my way. A new day is just around the corner. I hope I feel like me.
I couldn’t wait for sleep to just take over. . . . . . . . I hope and pray I feel okay tomorrow. . .