Yesterday was my first chemo day. The nurses said I did very well. I'm not sure what there was for me to do, other than sit in a chair and be entertained by various visitors, including my Mommy. Cry? Threaten that if they put one more chemical into my body, so help me....? You just do what you've got to do, right? That's been one of my mantras this past two months.
The first thing I had to do was leave work early. In the car I put some Emla cream, a numbing agent, onto my port. A port is a little device planted inside the skin from which nurses can draw blood and give chemo. No more arm sticks! And since I have to get chemo for almost a year and a half and can't get it in my right arm, this was a no-brainer. Or so I was told by nurses, doctors, and other women who have had cancer! I didn't love it at first, since it stuck out and Raiden liked to pull at it, but I LOVE it now. Emla cream + port = no pain! Hooray!
I was a little nervous when my nurse started pulling out about 22 different "things" to access my port. She stuck me with a special needle, taped it on, flushed the port with two vials of saline, took out bloody saline so my blood draw would not be contaminated, and took two vials of blood. Easiest blood draw ever! Then she stuck the line down my cleavage. Well, my shirt, really, but that's what I have down there! Thank you, plastic surgeon Jay Agarwal!
It was then time to speak with the doctor, briefly, and then go to the infusion room. The Hunstman infusion room is really great. They have eight pods with four sections each. I was over in a corner in pod 8, so Mom's patients wouldn't, I don't know, take liberties if she was there. It really doesn't matter to me, as long as they keep it short-ish and remember MY cancer is about ME, and Mom is there for MY cancer. You want to talk about YOUR cancer? Get an appointment. (That was supposed to be 90% funny and 10% snotty. I hope you got that.)
Well, an hour of anti-nausea premeds, 10 minutes of pushed Adriamycin, and an hour of Cytoxan, I had done it! I had finished my first dose. My hairs' days are numbered, but so is my cancer's.
I started to get nauseated a little at around 7, but we had taken a walk to Emily's house, just down the road from my mom's house. By the time the meds had kicked in, it was a matter of playing catch up. Fortunately, Ativan did the trick, but then I woke up almost exactly 6 hours later (2 am. Sure, go ahead and do the math)feeling nauseated again. I really need to do the every-two-hours-take-something trick that Nurse Marcia told me about. I really think it will make a big difference in keeping ahead of it. I feel mostly fine now, although every little twinge MUST be nausea. Ugh. I'm glad I wasn't a hypochondriac before, because I'm already on the edge now!
Mom made me a lovely breakfast of whole-wheat toast, boiled egg, and fruit smoothie: frozen banana, milk, and strawberry ice cream. As you can see, she put just the right amount of kale in it. My mom rocks!
I'm hoping this weekend goes well and I can live a relatively normal life. However, I am determined that next week will be just fine. I think it's important to have this belief, because Mom told me chemo nausea is literally all in the mind. The brain registers poison in your body. "Out, out!" it demands. How does the brain know how to get rid of poison? By throwing up, of course. Thus we see that the brain, while correct in some principles, does not understand modern medicine on a cellular level. I'm trying to explain it to myself, but mostly just take Zofran, Ativan, and various other anti-nauseas that trick that part of the brain. Hey, whatever works!