Chemo: Round 1

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.

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4 responses to “Chemo: Round 1

  • Sjoukje

    Im glad to see that Seth was there with you. I can’t imagine either that you wouldnt be able to have company during chemo. It’s not a fun thing to have to do…so any support is welcome support.
    Sending you much love and hugs
    xx

  • Craig

    Sounds like the infusions don’t have the makings of a great movie script, eh? It’s nice that Seth was available to keep a close eye on you. As you progress through more infusions, don’t hesistate to call on friends and family for help with any little task or chore you can think of, or for a steady arm and patient ear.

    Best hopes,

    Craig

  • Jennifer Scheps

    It is pretty unremarkable, isn’t it? My chemo nurses gave me a tour of the chemo room before my first infusion so I had a pretty good idea of how boring it was going to be. I’m glad you were able to have Seth with you. I can’t believe that there are some places where they don’t allow you to have somebody with you!! My place insists that you have one person with you! I normally have my husband and my 4 year old son Jacob, There have been a few times where I’ve had as many as 5 people with me. (They were slow days in the chemo room!)

    Are you taking oral steroids before chemo? In addition to an IV steroid that they give me with my chemo, I also take a steroid pills the day before, the day of and the day after chemo. It’s called Dexamethasone and I actually talked my doctor into letting me take it a few more days after chemo. It makes you feel like SUPERWOMAN! You feel as if there nothing that you can’t do. It really helped a lot with the fatigue from the chemo. Although, when you come down from it after that 3rd day, you crash pretty hard…so I asked my doctor if I could stay on it a little longer and lessen the dose over a few more days so that I didn’t crash so hard. So now I take 2 pills the first three days and then I take 2 more days x 1 pill and then 2 days x half a pill. At about my 4th or 5th chemo session I lost the “superwoman” feeling from the steroids. (That made me SO SAD! I guess my body is getting used to it.)

    Did your doctor tell you that your hair might thin, but shouldn’t fall out completely? That’s what my doctor told me and I’ve still got ALL of my hair. I was ready to shave my head the moment I noticed it falling out…but that hasn’t happened and I’m assuming that after 8 chemo sessions that I’m safe for now. (Unless we switch to another drug, that is.)

    I don’t know if you’ve looked into nutrition options for cancer patients at all, I’ve done very limited research. But I’ve read some interesting (GOOD) things about cancer patients that have switched to a mostly plant based diet and apparently cancer loves sugar. So I’m trying to eat less meat, more fruits and veggies and beans and trying to stay away from sugar. It is SO HARD!!!

    I’m rambling. I’m glad you made it through the first round. 🙂

    Keep on keeping on!

    • Jessica

      Thanks for sharing your version of all this crap, too, Jennifer. I can’t imagine that you are raising a young child while going through all of this. Taking care of myself is a full-time job!

      And while I hope to keep all of my hair, I know my mom has been looking for an excuse to shave her head for years! 🙂

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