The port went in on Thursday, and my first round of chemo was on Friday.
It went as well as it could, I guess. I arrived as scheduled for my 9:15 appointment. First I met with the office manager. She had a form for me to sign to apply for financial assistance for one of the drugs, Avastin.
Next I met with a nurse and a tech who took my history (questions I’ve memorized by now), weighed me, and measured my blood pressure and pulseOx. Then the tech accessed my port. I didn’t know it was happening in that room versus the treatment room, so I asked her to explain the entire process as she performed it.
I unbuttoned the top of my shirt (purchased for this exact activity), and she used 3 betadine swabs to cleanse the area. Next she exposed the Huber needle, told me to take a deep breath, and then plunged it into my chest at a right angle.
Yeah, that hurt more than I expected! It almost felt like a pop because the needle was so large in diameter. They offered to write a script for a numbing cream I can use prior to future appointments.
She took blood first and then flushed the port, leaving the flush syringe taped to my blouse. I was now “accessed” for the day. My blood was quickly processed in their on-site lab to make sure I was eligible to get chemo that day.
I met briefly with the doctor who was filling in for mine (he’s on vacation). We talked through each drug and all possible and probable side effects. I asked for two prescription refills, and our business was concluded.
Next I was escorted back to the treatment area. This 12 x 20 room has 8 or 9 reclining treatment chairs lined around the walls in a U shape. I found a seat where Seth could pull up a less fabulous, cloth-covered stacking chair to keep me company. It would get busy throughout the day, but there was never a complaint or dirty look about having someone there with you. I can’t believe I’ve heard stories about offices where they don’t permit it!
I didn’t jump right into chemo like I thought I would. Instead, there was another form to sign (consent for the actual drugs of the day) and several pre-meds to take. They included an anti-nausea drip, a push of anti-anxiety meds (because I asked for it), and a steroid drip to reduce side effects.
Finally, around noon, it was time for chemo. The first drug took approximately 30 minutes, and I nodded off halfway through. I would awake every now and then to see if Seth was still sitting next to me. It was a 50/50 shot. Between the first and second drugs I was able to provide a urine sample, which was required prior to getting drug #3. (If there’s too much protein in your urine, you can’t have that drug.) All was fine, and drugs 2 and 3 were administered in a similar manner, needing 60 and 90 minutes to infuse, respectively.
We left sometime after 3pm, additional literature in hand. I was very tired, but it was quite underwhelming as compared to what I had imagined in some moments of anxiety.
And then, I waited… For two days I ate carefully and watched the sky vigilantly for falling shoes.