Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chemo Infusion #1 - Over and Done

I'm realizing the thing about chemo is that you have to wait. You go in, get your IV and meds .... and then you wait. You wait for it to take effect. You wait to feel something - but you don't know what you're waiting to feel. You don't know if you'll be nauseous or tired or anxious ... you just know you're going to feel something.

We checked in for my infusion and we were a little early, so they gave us a pager -- like at the restaurant. They'd "beep" us when it was my turn. In way it is really comical ... but in another way, it's terribly sad. It's sad because there's really that many people waiting for chemo that they have to page you when a seat's available, even when you have an appointment and check in an hour and a half early. We had lunch and walked back over to the infusion center at 1:15, checked in again, and sat in the waiting room until 1:45. We got a private room for this infusion because all the regular chairs that face the window were full. I'm not complaining that we got a private room, it was nice - there was a bed for me to lay in while I was hooked up, a TV, a lounger and extra chair. It was another half hour before the RN came in and started the pre-meds.

Pre-meds ... the meds they give me to prevent nausea and allergic reactions - 4 syringes: Kytril (for nausea) Benadryl, Pepcid, and Dexametheson (all to prevent an allergic reaction). After all that was pumped in, we started the Taxotere. The nurse walked in covered in a yellow protective wrap and gloves and the IV bag was also covered in a dark baggie. That doesn't look dangerous at all, no sir. He told me it's truly just an OSHA safety measure that he be covered  and the dark baggie was because the drug actually degrades in the light. He did say that every nurse you talk to in the infusion center has at one point worn chemo, so the wrap was truly necessary. Am I sure this was something I wanted to put in my body? But, I did and it dripped for an hour or so. The RN kept checking on me for the first 5 to 10 minutes of the drip - to make sure I didn't pass out or have any sharp pains, shallow breathing or any other reaction. After that 10 minutes, if I didn't have any of those reactions, he said I should be fine. Next on deck was the Cytoxan and that dripped in for about 30 minutes. We finished up and left around 4:45 pm.

During the whole process, I didn't feel anything significant. I felt a little spacey but I didn't fall asleep like they thought I would from the meds. I didn't feel incredibly dizzy or woozy or anything like that. We sat and talked to the nutritionist and learned about the best ways to eat and maintain a steady diet so I don't gain weight during this process. I did have to really respond to her comments and make myself engage in the conversation so I could focus on what she said -- and snap myself out of the spaciness. But I managed and it was fine. I read my gossip mags ... Mike watched ESPN ... mom walked around the garden outside -- it was truly anti-climactic like my doctor said it would be. But now I just have to wait and see what's going to happen to my body.

I'm journaling everything and hoping that will help me identify what's going on with my body. My doctor said I don't really have to do that, but I want to. It will help me.

We came home and Mike's mom brought over dinner. I ate like I normally do because I felt fine. About an hour and a half after dinner while we were all sitting around talking, I started to feel my stomach act up. Some queasiness was setting in. The problem is, I don't know if it's from dinner or if it's from chemo.

So I took my last dose of the steroid and I also took my first dose of Kytril here at home to start managing the "side effects." It's only 4 hours after we finished chemo ... I'm hoping I just ate too much.

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