Chemo No. 1

Trying to sleep Thursday night was near impossible. Dr. Russell warned me about that and luckily prescribed me a really good sedative. It took a while to hit but once it did I was like “alright time to sleep”.

We showed up at the cancer center around 7:45am for my 8:00am appointment. In the waiting room, there was a door that would open and a nurse would call a name to come back and begin their treatment. Every time the door open my stomach would flip. It was a big mix of emotions. I was scared and uncertain because this was the first one. I had no idea what to expect. I was sad that I had to be there in the first place.

My name was finally called and the lady took me back to my specific chair for the day. I got a blanket that came out of the warmer and a pillow. My chair was a recliner so that was a plus. Once I got seated and settled, it was game on. Three nurses seemed to just magically materialize in front of me. They started talking to me about the drugs I would be receiving that day and how they would be accessing my port and a long string of other information I didn’t catch because I was hella overwhelmed. I did get a surprise FaceTime from my babe. That was a sure way to cheer me up. Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 9.19.27 AM

The most interesting part was when they accessed my port. They take this little device that looks like a bottle cap, kind of, but it has a needle out of it at a perpendicular angle and the other end was the IV tube. Once hooked up they check the blood return to make sure it works and then hang fluids plus the pre-medicines.

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Side note: I’ve been asking for  a puppy so this is what my parents gave me the morning of my treatment. They’re hilarious.

The pre- medicines are called Aloxi and Emend. They are log acting anti nausea medicines that can stay in your system for almost five days. They also hung steroids which help ward off any reactions to the chemo drugs and make me strong like Arnold. This took a couple of hours. They also pushed Ativan in my IV to keep me calm. It was my dad’s turn to come back and see me and as soon as they pushed it my eye lids got really heavy and I went to sleep. Ativan nap. I woke up to the  lady coming around handing out lunch which was good because I was suddenly starving. Steroids.

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After all of the pre-meds had finished, time for the real stuff. The first drug they were going to give me was the Adriamycin which is commonly referred to as the “Red Devil”. Reassuring, huh? Before they start they have to check the blood return on my port. No blood return. So they tried again. Nothing. They explained that sometimes the needle tip gets clogged with blood and fibers so they pushed some medicine to unclog it. That has to sit and soak for a while. Then they tried again. Nothing. So another round of the medicine and more waiting. It delayed my treatment for a couple hours but it was for my own safety. FINALLY it got to working. So the nurse got all geared up and started pushing the Red Devil into me (that sounds funny) . The drugs are so toxic that they can’t touch skin. I’m not even supposed to let anyone drink after me or kiss anybody right now. Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 9.18.21 AM

Ater the Adriamycin came the Vinblastine. It was also administered in a syringe. I forgot to mention, I have been constantly getting IV fluids through the whole day so I got up to pee A.LOT. As soon as the Adriamycin was done the nurse took a small break to go help someone else. I took it as a opportunity to go pee. If you can believe it, in that short amount of time my pee was already red! They had warned me that would happen. The last two drugs I got, Belomycin and Dacarbazine, are hung as normal bags. It was really surreal seeing all of the packages and labels because they all said “Toxic”. The medicine going into my body had actual warning labels.

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Another pee break. After all chemo drugs had been administered they gave me more fluids to help push it through my body. I also got a dose of blood thinners so the blood couldn’t hang out and congeal in my port reservoir. I was free to leave. We stopped by Chickfila on the way home because I was dying for some nuggets.

It wasn’t until I got home that I felt sick to my stomach. I went and laid down in my bed just knowing I was going to throw up every where. I actually had my dad put a trash can in my bed with me. As quickly as they could, they gave me my at home anti-nausea medicine and it made me pass out into a deep sleep. It was great. I slept through the nausea and never once threw up. It’s not at all like how they portray it in the movies.

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One thought on “Chemo No. 1

  1. Cancer is different for everyone, with that being said I just want to say how much I can relate to your blog (this particular one was me on my first treatment day). At 22 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma. I too live in Tallahassee and am a regular at the Cancer Center. I haven’t been very public with my Cancer journey and I am in awe of you and your strength in writing these words. I was diagnosed in January (January 4th to be exact, lets be honest that day is engraved in my memory), I was preparing for what I thought would be my last semester but after finding out I needed more surgeries I dropped classes (this Fall will officially be last my last semester). It’s been 8 months since it all began and there are still days when I break down about it all. Cancer is scary. Even melanoma. I’m currently in the middle of treatment (immunotherapy) every three weeks for a year. I have scans soon and I’m scared as hell. Cancer sucks. But having your family, boyfriend and friends around you is probably the greatest thing, along with the nurses ans staff at the Cancer Center (if you haven’t encountered a lovely lady named Lee, I hope you do. Also, the Tea Ladies are amazing too, especially on treatment days.) I wish you all the best as you embark on this journey, there will be ups and downs along the road and I hope the good will always outweigh the bad.
    Best wishes. — Mary Beth

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