Chemo Treatment #1 – Monday, August 26th
Yes, I finally started my chemotherapy treatments today. And my darling, devoted hubby was right by my side. I’m so glad he was able to be there with me to help me through this. All in all it was a pretty uneventful treatment. Everything went very smoothly but it did seem to take a long time.
I’m going to rewind just a bit here, so please bear with me. Saturday I had to go to the infusion center at the hospital to have my first of many blood tests to make sure I was ready for my treatment which took place today. So obviously my blood levels were acceptable for the green light! The nurse that took care of me on Saturday for my blood draw was awesome! She had a great sense of humor, was very thorough, very caring AND she even knew where Watkins Glen was when we mentioned we were originally from New York! Bonus! She was so nice that I kept saying to Chris all weekend that it would be great if she could be my nurse for my first chemo treatment as she had mentioned she would be working Monday. *Fingers crossed*
Okay, onto today’s saga…
We arrive at the infusion center sign-in and I get my spiffy little hospital bling. Well, maybe not really bling just the white bracelet they like to stick on you every time you visit. But I like to think they are giving me a valuable piece of jewelry upon each arrival. Makes me feel like all that money pouring out of our pockets is going to good use!
The place is packed. And when I say packed I mean standing room only. But in all fairness there are probably less than ten chairs in the waiting room. And nearly everyone brings someone with them so you get the idea. Since all the chairs are full I stand in the doorway trying to awkwardly fill out a paper when a nurse comes to lead me to the “over flow waiting room”. No matter, I’ll take it! It was empty with lots of comfy chairs! As I’m waiting for my name to be called I keep think, “Geez I wish Sheri would be my nurse again today.” And I look up as Nurse Sheri comes walking into the waiting room saying, “Oh good you are here. Come with me my dear.” Me to nurse, “Oh cool I get you today?” Nurse Sheri, “Yes you do!” Me=Super Happy
Nurse Sheri takes me back to the infusion area and lets me have my choice of a private room or the open area. I decide on a private room at least for the first round since I really had no idea what was going to happen. Mainly I didn’t want to humiliate myself too bad if my body had reacted violently and lets say maybe start projectile vomiting uncontrollably or something silly/gross like that. Pleasant thought for the day!
I get set down in a comfy recliner and the whole process begins. Nurse Sheri accessed the port in my chest with a needle and got a saline drip going. Then she offered me a warm blanket and a pillow for added comfyness! After ten or so minutes of the saline drip running, the first set of meds to arrive were consecutive IV drip bags of stuff to help combat the side effects of what was yet to come. Each IV bag took just over 15 minutes. Then came the dreaded “Red Devil” aka adriamycin. Two GIGANTIC syringes filled with what looked like the reddest red Kool-Aid you can imagine. Those had to be administered by the nurse as a “push” meaning she sat there next to me for about 15 minutes slowly injecting the toxic cocktail into my IV line. But just before she started she said, “Wendy I just want you to know that there will be an almost immediate side effect from the drug. Your pee will turn red.” Here’s me, “Oh good so I don’t have to panic thinking I’m hemorrhaging then.” Like I said, she has a good sense of humor and got a chuckle from it. Okay, so I make it through the dreaded Red Devil. Woohoo! One down, one to go. Next up Cytoxan. This little beauty is related to nitrogen mustard. This came in the form of an average sized IV drip bag that took about an hour or so to complete. Again I didn’t have any reactions to it so I was pretty pleased with how it all went. After all the drugs were pumped into me I just had two small things left. A saline push (saline in a syringe) to make sure all the drugs were through the port and into my body, and then a Heparin push to ensure that nothing clots in my port before the next visit. Done! So, in total I was there for about 4 hours today. Not too shabby. See a couple of pics the hubby took.
Upcoming events will include a shot to help stimulate my bone marrow to keep my blood counts up, then blood work, more blood work, then finally my second treatment.
I know this post is painfully long, but today was a BIG day! So hang in there…
After my treatment was over my super awesome hubby treated me to lunch. Thanks Hubby!!
Then came a big step. I will be losing my hair soon due to the chemo treatments. Most likely it will start falling out before my next treatment. In preparation, a few weeks ago I had my hair cut short. I was looking in the mirror the other day and realized that even as short as it was I could still grab a hand FULL of hair. So I decided to leap off the deep end of the pool today and get my remaining hair buzzed off. I knew it would be more traumatic for me to see big clumps of hair falling out than much shorter, smaller clumps. AND because my hubby is AWESOME, he not only went with me to get my haircut, but he got his head shaved down too so I would not feel so bad!! Now we have matching haircuts! I do think with my new hair look, I will be experimenting with different clothes and accessories and letting my inner eccentricities dictate my style a bit.
Wow! I think I’m finally done. Thank you for hitching a ride along this path with me. And thanks for all the support in it’s many, many forms! I am grateful and truly blessed.