December 20,2016. The anxiety I was feeling prior to chemo was pretty intense. I cried the night before, on the way (took some Ativan), in the facility and when I was about to be hooked up. My NP said it’s pretty anticlimactic and she was semi-correct.
Dad and I got called into our private suite (hello beautiful) at 11:45 am on the dot. Brought to suite 8 and the nurse followed in shortly after.
Why am I smiling? Why not? I’m at an amazing facility, my own room, tv, snuggling blanket & hat – “chemo gifts” (thanks Bek, Nicole & Hill) and my daddy is by my side along with multiple others in spirit. I will be using my blanket (not pictured, oh wait, it’s in the bottom right hand corner) each treatment and it will be stowed away at the house, germs!
The nurse was wonderful, very attentive and sweet. At MSK they do not use ports because they do not feel like they are necessary and we “will trust the vein until we can’t anymore”. The nurse tried to get one vein but it didn’t go over well so someone else tried another one and it worked beautifully. I was getting normal saline during the entire treatment which is good, dehydration is a big risk for chemo patients. I received AC chemo, A is one portion that is pushed in by the nurse, it is red, it will make your urine red for a day or two. The C portion is a drip that lasted for about a half hour, this will differ based on your weight and what the doctor wants to get. I received two anti-nausea meds and a steroid during treatment I believe. Sometimes I Just don’t want to know what I am getting, is that ignorant? Maybe, but sometimes I just want to be in the cloud.
During the beginning of treatment I felt a cold sensation in the back of my throat. I took a deep breath in and needed to cough. The nurse said it may be the steroid. It didn’t get any worse and was gone before treatment was over. I didn’t really feel much during treatment, started to feel tired by the end, but wasn’t sure if that was just from the climax of chemo or from the medication. That’s the thing, you’re getting so much in your body, you have so many emotions, who really knows what is causing what?
At the end of treatment, when the IV was done, dad and I went for a high-five, well he stopped and said “GERMS”, then used the hand sanitizer and we switched to a pound “FIRST ONE DONE!!!”. It was exciting, it was done, the first one was done. I then got a lupron shot. It “shuts down” your ovaries for future babies. They asked if I wanted to freeze some eggs but it would put off treatment. I have never been 100% on kids. I actually see myself adopting a beautiful Asian girl. I am interested in what pregnancy feels like however I will survive without it. The lupron shot will help however it may throw me into menopause. Dad and I are going to do more research and see if I am going to continue them. They are every 4 weeks. More research.
I was feeling pretty hungry so we walked around the corner to Bagel Works. I got an everything bagel with ham, American cheese and yellow mustard. We then stopped at a placed called Java Girl that we have passed a few times during out travels and it looked so cute. I got a latte.
We got in the car and I made my usual texts and calls. “All done. Feeling good” I said. Ate half my bagel, had a few sips of latte and then started to feel a bit tired. By the time we were home, about an hour and a half later I was very ready to get in bed. Dad and I walked in the house with some new flowers (thanks Sam and Meg), plus chocolate, Bose headphones (like wow), batteries, Gatorade, water bottles and more (Kim and Pat made a Costco run, thanks Pat!!). I wanted to get right in bed, their were a few tears, but more like, this was a long day, I want to get in bed, I’m tired, tears. Called my mom, got three different kinds of crackers delivered to my bed with 3 different fluids and relaxed. I went back and forth from closing my eyes and watching some tv.
By about 8:15 pm I was feeling tired and ready for bed but the steroid really keeps your heart racing. I took some ativan, they say it helps with anxiety, nausea and sleep. Honestly, it didn’t do much. The headache was making me more nauseous than the actually chemo I think. I am prone to headaches and nausea so this isn’t good. I took zofran around 10:15 pm, finding out later that it can cause headaches (living and learning y’all). Had a few dry heaving moments but nothing coming up which is good, don’t want to get dehydrated (is this too much? Too bad, I have cancer, NO RULES) (lol guys). Around 10:45 pm the tears and frustration really started to sink in. We decided to call the emergency number. I just wanted to make sure I could take tylenol after taking everything else. She said yes. I took a 500 mg tylenol extra strength and was asleep by 11 pm.
December 21, 2016. I woke up this morning around 6-7 am feeling pretty good. Minimal headache, more in a crown form around my head and in my temples. Around 8:30 am I took my 3 decadron pills and ate 1/2 a sandwich sized English muffin with PB and J, it says take with food or milk. This is for nausea prevention and it has a steroid in it for inflammation. I will take this tomorrow as well. Kim left for work around 9:30 am and I was already starting to dose off. He placed a pillow over my head, I like to be in a fort sometimes, keeps the sunlight out, and gave me my usual morning kisses goodbye. I slept until about 11 am and felt really quite good at this point. No headache and felt good energy. I finished the other half of the sandwich, this one had butter and jelly, yumz. Did some work from home and just relaxed in bed. Around 2 pm I attempted to drink some coffee, had one sip, but it was a on go. Was feeling hungry so I had some Club grain cheese and crackers with Laughing Cow swiss cheese and block cheddar. The cheddar tasted weird to me; is it the medication? Not sure, I just love cheddar cheese. Mom came over for ravioli. Kim & Pat got a hugggge bag from Costco. They were good and settled pretty well. My girlfriend who lives 3 houses down left a noted and three tea bags “Ginger, positive energy and stress relief”. People are really amazing. I gave myself a Neulasta shot before dinner. Helps the bone marrow produce WBC since the chemo is reallly decreasing them.
Mom left around 6:30 pm and my girlfriend Kara stopped over around 7:30 pm. She was here for five minutes before I got a nose bleed form my left nostril. It was a little faster than the usual dry heat nosebleed so I called the on call MD immediately. If they give you an on call number and you have 0.0001% feeling of thinking you need to check something, USE IT. This is the second time in two days for me, and I am not even 48 hours from my first chemo treatment (lol). The MD called me back as the nosebleed was stopping. She said it is most likely not related to the chemo rather dry heat, and our house is VERY dry. Kim immediately cleaned out the humidifier, filled it up and got it going. Kara was on amazon ordering a humidifier monitor for the room immediately. I truly am a lucky person. A few tears after that incident because you’re still scared it could be related to the chemo.
When Kara left there were more tears. Kim said he was going to be out from 6-7 pm, love it, go get a drink with friends, you need a break from this shit. However he wasn’t home when I got the nosebleed and texted me during “how’s it going”, immediate response, “not good, nosebleed, come home”. He was home immediately. After Kara left I just broke down. I was scared and he wasn’t there. It’s hard to not become dependent on the one person who is with you the most. He said it himself, “I’m your rock, this will never happen again, we will communicate, we will learn from this and we are going to learn new things everyday. We can do this”. He’s the best person I’ve ever met. I can’t believe I’m so lucky to have him at this time in my life.
You may or may not know anyone close to you with cancer. If you did, what would you do for them? Maybe think about it so if it ever does happen, you will know.