Friday, August 26, 2011

Chemo Days 1 & 2

Yesterday was the first chemo treatment. I slept pretty well the night before since I was still drugged up from the port surgery. We arrived at the Cancer Center at 11:00 and only waited a few minutes in the lobby before being escorted back to the infusion area. I wasn't at all nervous since I already have the port, I knew I wouldn't have to suffer through several needle sticks to draw blood and get an IV in. *whew*

Me at 1st Chemo
I was shown to a comfy recliner chair in an area with 3 other patients. One nurse assigned to 4 patients. Our nurse was Linda and she was very sweet and soft-spoken. They were thrilled that I have a port. When the surgeon put in the port on Wednesday, he put a needle already in there so there were no pokes AT ALL! Oh happy day!  I was in Pod 4, chair 13!!  13!!  I figured that out too late or I would have moved!  Chair 13 - geez!  I kept a watch out to make sure that no black cats crossed my path as well - I don't need any MORE bad luck!

When we were ready to go, they took some more blood and flushed the line with saline and I waited while the medications were ordered. The first bag was a mixture of anti-nausea and steroids. Then when that bag was finished came the first chemo drug called Taxotere. I felt anxious when they hung it up and hooked it in. Would I feel something right away? I think I held my breath.  Some people can have really severe reactions to it the first time.  I waited for the lightning strike.  They started it slow just to make sure I had no reaction to it (I didn't) and then they turned it up to full speed. I didn't feel anything. I read a little, dozed a little, ate my snacks and eavesdropped on other patient conversations.  Two men from the American Cancer Society came by to say Hello (both cancer survivors - one from skin cancer (4 times!) and the other had cancer of the esophagus and stomach - he's lucky to be alive he told me).  They were very nice and chatty and gave me more free stuff (including a HAT!).

Most of the other patients I saw were elderly. I was definitely one of the youngest there. I think the first lady beside me has breast cancer because she had no hair and no breasts. She left soon after and an elderly lady came for an iron infusion. We chatted a little, she was really nice. Sitting across from us were two elderly men. I heard one man say he comes for treatment everyday. The other man was on chemo but I don't know for what. The other man on chemo had a port like me. But the other two patients did not and had to get IVs. It took them 3 times to get one in the lady and 4 times to get an IV in the man (he's the one that comes everyday!) I tried to kiss my port right then but I couldn't reach it. I'm so thankful for it.

17 hats and 1 scarf - not NEARLY enough!
When the first drug was finished (took about an hour), it was time for drug #2 called Cytoxin. This one would take about 45 minutes. I didn't feel anything right away but then I got a horrendous headache and my skin was burning where my port is. They were a little concerned and kept me longer after the chemo ended to make sure I was alright. I took a dose of pain pills and it dulled the headache quite a bit. Once I was feeling better, they let me go.  I was tempted to go hoard more hats from the Cancer Center but I didn't feel like it. Oh darn.

I was pretty exhausted but okay. I slept quite a bit after I got home and most of the night through. Today I had to go back to get the shot in the arm. It didn't really hurt.  The nurse did a good job of doing it slowly because she said it hurts if you do it fast.

At this point, 28 hours later, I'm feeling pretty run down, tired, achey and the headaches are fairly significant. I always read you would feel like you have the flu and that is how I feel. Just so achey and headachy. My face is hot and flushed and we have to keep an eye on my temperature. It's an emergency if I run a temp of 100.5 or more since I still have the open wound I'm battling from the mastectomy. My face is flushed and hot and I can feel it - it's not painful just annoying.  I definitely feel a bit slow - like my brain really isn't working well.  I keep going into rooms and forgetting why I'm there or what I came for.  And it's taken me forever to type this.  It's a hard feeling to explain and I suspect it will get worse before it gets better.

The kids seem much calmer now that the first chemo is over and they see I'm still relatively okay.  My daughter turned 10 this week and she is really helping out around the house and being extra sweet.  Everything is just more calm now.

I still have all my hair. Haha! Greg and I have been tugging on it a few times a day just to check! We tug on it and say, "Nope, still hanging in there!". Ha! Hair falls out anywhere from 7 to 21 days. Greg is going to shave his head this weekend in solidarity! Go Team Laura! Of course, Greg is mostly bald as it is but, hey, it's the thought that counts!

If anyone else wants to shave their head in solidarity - let me know!  I'll have practice after doing Greg's head!  Come on over!

(1 Chemo Down - 3 To Go!)

People Outside of My Family Who've Seen My "Boobs":  37


  1. We love you even if you are slow!

  2. I love you and I am here when you need me!

  3. It's called chemo brain. Slow, druggy and you just don't feel "with it". Mom did the same thing. Don't worry, you'll come back and so will that hair of yours if/when it does fall out. It might be different for awhile when it does come back (the hair I mean) but Mom's returned to normal. She had quite the curl going on for awhile though!

    Be strong, love the port, and enjoy the time at home with the family. We love you!

  4. Laura, just think of the awesome hat collection you'll have! Hugs to you!