Friday, December 7, 2012

My 1st Chemo Treatment

My first treatment went really well!  It was a very long day - about 10 hours but I was pretty comfortable for the whole thing.  Mainly due to the tranquilizer I insisted on.

It started with some chemotherapy education and a chance to ask some questions.  First I talked with my clinical trial coordinators and they told me how to manage my side effects, told me I may only have few of them, may not lose my hair but it might get thin, I might get to keep my eyelashes, and as for the eyebrows, the main brow may go but the wild ones will grow. 

The nurse went through the book I've been given to keep all my information, questions, test results, etc. in, and advised me to keep up my regular routines as much as possible even though I asked for a butler, cute laundry boy, and a maid, but the nurse thought I was offering her those services and misunderstood that I was the one who needed them. 

I sat in a reclining chair, they brought me warmed blankets, and Scott watched the television that was attached to my chair as he sat on the love seat beside me.  This room had space for 3 patients, but I was alone most of the time. 

Soon a volunteer came around and asked me if I wanted in on the raffle.  "What?  A raffle in a hospital?  How much does it cost?" I asked.  "It's free!" she tells me.  The prizes are things other volunteers have made - knitted hats, blankets, shawls, books, etc.  Since the cost was so affordable I agreed to participate and an hour later found myself the winner of the raffle!  I got a pink printed shawl with pockets.  Very nice!

Next up the lunch cart came and offered me a choice of sandwiches and soups.    In between all this, Scott was getting me water, coffee, and snacks from the stocked refrigerator.  I was getting the feeling that I was being treated pretty well under the circumstances.  Scott the Butler has a nice ring to it, don't you agree?

I was able to move around the floor and hall as long as I took along my drug pole with the IV bags.  I think there is some official and professional name for that stuff but you get the picture.  Also, I got to stay fully dressed the whole time, so there were no issues with those hospital gowns designed by patients who must occupy their minds and keep their hands busy with creative projects in other kinds of hospitals.

At the end of the day the staff moves patients around to consolidate the area to treat the patients more effectively.  Or Scott and I were snoring too loudly.  I ended up in a private room for my last drug infusion.  I had a bed and Scott had a recliner and we had a regular wall television.  Since it had been a long day, was now dark, and I had new warm blankets, I was back to a really deep sleep in no time.  The tranquilizer was still working, too, which didn't hurt. 

It seemed in no time at all, Becky the nurse came in and excitedly said, "You are done with your chemotherapy at last!"  Woken from this deep sleep, I sat up and said, "What chemotherapy?  I thought I was getting tests?"  Becky looked confused until she and Scott realized I had been dreaming, but I know that now my medical chart has a big red sign on it that says "Patient may be CRAZY, too."  I might end up the next time in the other kind of hospital getting chemo, occupying my mind and keeping my hands busy making hospital gowns if word gets out.

It's now two days past my first treatment and I have had no side effects or issues so far and expect and hope that lasts. I've been able to keep fairly busy and do my normal things, but going out and hitting the town seems off the calendar for now.  I admit that I’m a little weaker, more tired than usual, and short of breath especially on steps, but I have no real pain.
 
I will have weekly treatments and other appointments in between for doctor and other tests.  This will be the schedule for about 21 weeks.

For example:
Week one – 4 chemo drugs about 8-12 hours with labs, etc. included
Weeks two and three – one chemo drug (is one of the 4 above – just an extra dose) – about 2-3 hours with labs, etc. included
Week four - 4 chemo drugs about 8-12 hours with labs, etc. included
Then 2 weeks of one chemo drug and the cycle goes on at that pace for the course of the treatments. 

I expect this to work and to be in remission with all the  good medical care and I am so grateful for the prayers that so many are saying for me.  I know God is listening.

I am determined to keep my life going as is as much as possible for as long as possible and won’t hesitate to ask for help if I need it. I am very blessed with an amazing family and a wonderful support group of friends.
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9 comments:

  1. Linda, You are in such good spirits and also funnhy at times. Keep up the good work and you will be in remission before you know it. If you need anything or if there is anything we can do for you, don't hesitate to call. My best wishes to you and Scott.

    Love,
    Dana

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  2. You did such a wonderful job of finding the humor throughout your experiences ~ yet another reason to admire and love you! I'm just happy to hear you're doing well and love that you're keeping us informed ~ thank you!
    Love to you and Scott!
    ♥Sharon

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  3. You did such a wonderful job of finding the humor throughout your experiences ~ yet another reason to admire and love you! I'm just happy to hear you're doing well and love that you're keeping us informed ~ thank you!
    Love to you and Scott!
    ♥Sharon

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  4. Linda, keep the humour...it helps in so many ways. Do keep your normal routine as much as you can, but remember to stop and nap when the body says "I'm tired". You may notice more fatigue and some side effects as the treatments build up, but keeping a positive attitude, laughing and being determined make such a difference when going through this.

    I did all this 6 years ago with breast cancer (chemo, radiation and then another drug) and I know that all of those things worked for me.

    Your attitude is amazing and it will take you far!! xo

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  5. So good to see that you are keeping your sense of humor through all the bad stuff, Linda. I have great admiration for you, I don't know if I would be that strong. You obviously have great support from husband, family and friends and that is wonderful. I send you my prayers and best wishes and I'm sure you will be in remission before you know it. Love and hugs - Marg

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  6. linda, sharon of plumrose sent me over to check in with you!!! Girl you rock!!! You are really a great writer and story teller!!! Great humor at this point and lets hope you keep finding a way to bring a sparkle to your future writings!! All the best and stay strong!!!
    ava g

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  7. Hi Linda. I found your blog through Sharon's Plumrose Lane blog. I just want to pop by and leave you with our good wishes and prayers. We are here for you in spirit and wish you the very best! Happy Christmas,
    Melinda - Winter Bear Trading

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  8. Keep up the positive attitude as I find that this is helpful...my husband is receiving chemo for colon cancer..he is on a 12 treatment regimen and is due for his 8th one this coming week. At first he had no symptoms either but they told him it is cumulative...and we are seeing that now. His hair is thinning and he has no energy..he is on lots of meds for the nausea, lack of energy etc. The hardest part is getting him to eat and drink...He said that the food has no taste and he has no appetite. He has lost 30 lbs so far..I sincerely hope all goes well for you and at the end of your treatments you are cancer free...

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  9. Hi, I found your blog through Plumrose Lane and thought I'd stop by and wish you the best of luck and send you ::healing vibes:: I have a couple of other blog friends who are also receiving kemo at present. Take care. God Bless You.

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