January 6, 2017
Here we go. Armed with the love of sibs and friends, I head in for my first chemo infusion.
Scared? Not really. Feeling strangely calm. Prepared.
The treatment center I’ve chosen is much closer to home than the major local cancer center. I was surprised to find I could be treated at a different facility, and feel more comfortable here than I would in a bigger place.
There are about eight cubicles, each with a comfy recliner and chair for a guest. I have my own TV too, but hubby can have the remote. I really don’t care.
The nurses are extremely attentive and their presence is reassuring, but I don’t want to be a pain.
Beside my recliner sits a tote bag given to me by a gym friend. She jammed it full of things I might need. She’s been through it so she knows. Her six-year-old must have used every sticker in his collection to decorate the enclosed card and envelope. I love this kid!
I expected this place to be cold and scary. It’s not. Patients and nurses are like family, doing what they can to make it as pleasant as possible. They bring goody trays and treats to share and there’s an ever-full pot of coffee. Patients visit each other in their cubbies.
Enough warm and cozy. It’s about to hit the fan.
First they have to check the stitches on my port incision. Not healed. Uh- oh…so is this gonna hurt? I’m plotting my escape. I’m still in good shape. I can probably beat anyone to the exit….
Unfounded worries. Stitches will stay in place till next time. I’m not the only one questioning why the surgeon didn’t use dissolvable ones.
They have a spray can of something to freeze the port site.
Special needle goes in and I’m still conscious. Whew!
Are those bags of fluid intended for me? Silly question.
One is anti-nausea medication. Should keep me from puking my guts out. Oh boy!
Next, Cyclophosphamide, part of this “AC” regimen, will be dripped steadily into me for a few hours. All I have to do is sit there and maybe have a Timbit or ten.
Time passes. In comes a nurse holding a HUGE syringe filled with fluid resembling cherry soda. For me again? Gee, thanks!
Adriamycin, a.k.a. Doxorubicin, nicknamed the Red Devil, the second part of my cocktail, is injected into the main infusion line. I don’t pass out or anything. So far, so good.
Till I get up to potty.
I lead my “dancing partner” (the pole and bags) on a thankfully short trip to the restroom, feeling a little lightheaded, with a sort of “buzzing” sensation pumping through my body. Maybe it’s all the extra fluids?
What went in must be coming out already. The water in the commode is every bit as red as that potion they gave me!
We’re cleared to leave, except for one last thing. To combat low white cell counts, Neulasta OnPro, a box shaped injector, is taped to my left arm. I think of the TV ad featuring a woman who has one strapped to her arm and remember feeling sad for her. Never imagined I would be in her shoes.
It will empty its contents into me 27 hours after chemo.
Not 24, not 28, but 27.
Nurse straps it on, a timer starts beeping and…. OUCH! Needle goes in, more startling than painful. Beeping tomorrow will warn me that its pumping thing will start.
And we’re outta here! I’ve been through worse.
One chemo down, seven to go.