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March 9, 2010

Well, that wasn’t so bad. If you don’t take into account that we arrived at 10:30 this morning and didn’t leave until 4:30 this afternoon. I figured I’d arrive, they’d plunk me into a chair, get the drip going and before I knew it, I’d be back in the car.

I guess I forgot to figure in the waiting for the lab to call me back and poking into my port-o-kath for the first time. Which, by the way, was nothing. Nothing at all.

Then back to the waiting room for me where I had to wait to meet with the oncologist and her nurse. That’s where I’ll be sharing all the side effects from the chemos, asking the questions and getting a general exam. I’m healing very well – even better now that I’m chock full o’steroids. Oh! Almost forgot … I asked the nurse about  the fruit & veggies and she told me that I should just use common sense. If I want a salad, have a salad. Just wash the ingredients first. Which won’t work for my Subway sandwich but every once in awhile, I’m gonna want a salad. And tomato sandwiches! Relief!

Then it’s back to the waiting room again until they fetch me for the chemo itself. Apparently there was quite a wait for everyone because there was a whole lot of trouble with the people before us. Babies!

That waiting room is growing on me. It’s so packed and everyone brings so many chemo buddies that it sounds like a restaurant. There ended up being just one 17 month old but she was well-behaved (for a 17 month old) and her grandparent’s (grandma was getting the chemo) were very firm with her and didn’t allow her to run around, flicking boogers on everyone.

The chemo was absolutely nothing to worry about. No metallic taste, no allergic reactions to either of the drugs I’m on. When the nurse gave me the Taxotere, she also gave me a bell to ring if I felt a scratchy throat, back pain or a third thing that I can’t recall (oh oh! chemo brain!) because then everyone would come running and save me! I never needed to use it.

With the second drug (they give you one drug at a time, which is why it takes 3 hours for my infusion) she told me I might feel scratchy sinuses and head pressure – and to let her know if I was feeling anything like that because they’d give me something to stop that. Never felt anything.

I just sat there for the three hours and read, had The Big Nugget get me a burger from the McDonald’s in the building, drank lots of water, took my chemo for a  ride to the bathroom, read more, and generally relaxed. I got a great corner recliner in the back of the room, which was comfy. And my nurse was awesome!

I didn’t panic for a second. And I know it’s because I got a call from Dan last night who reminded me to drink my water, stay on top of my anti-nausea meds. He has this calming way about him and was able to answer all of my questions about Allison’s experiences. I suppose if you have to have 6 bouts with cancer, with 6 bouts of multiple chemos, it might just sink in eventually. I don’t recall Dan being this smart in college. I do remember him drinking alot, hence the beer belly (love ya, Dan!)

I think back on those college days, that one year that Dan was there (compared to the 5 that I was there and still didn’t receive a degree). If we’d known then what our futures were going to be, we would have laughed it off and drank more beer. Which is pretty much what we did anyway, we just didn’t know our futures.

I wish for everyone going through this a Dan or an Allison. Or someone who can hold your hand, from Iowa or some better place. I am so lucky. Thanks Dan! Iowa’s not so bad. It grew a Dan! Must be something in the fertlizer.

I want you to know that I put alot of thought into my clothing color choice this morning. Color means a lot to me because I like color a lot. Or is it that I like color a lot so color means a lot to me. Hmmm. Today’s chemo colors were spree candy purple socks, apple green cheap New York pashmina, with charcoal gray leggings. And my cute black Vans tennies. With old lady arch support inserts. So very cool!

I learned today that 6 hours is a large chunk of time to spend with a friend when I don’t want to chat and want to spend the time being calm and quiet, reading when I want. I don’t feel comfortable asking friends to take that much time because I would be self-conscious about the waiting room time and the slow drip time and the fact that I really need to stay quiet. When I get to talking, I get to hyperactivating. The Big Nugget brought his laptop and movies. We barely talked at all. He is the perfect chemo buddy.

That does not let you off the hook for 30th, CiNDy! But I’m not sure that I can ask this of anyone else. I’m looking at Plan B, Tammy*Steff*Barb. We’ll be talkin’.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Leslie permalink
    March 9, 2010 8:37 pm

    Wow, so glad to hear you had such a good experience. I’ve been thinking about you all day – what a relief! Sending along good wishes that it all remains as easy as today was.

    Love, love, love the color scheme. (I wore purple-y socks today in solidarity, even though I didn’t know you were going to, too.)

  2. Floweer permalink
    March 9, 2010 8:46 pm

    You make the call girl. I am at your command.

  3. March 9, 2010 9:29 pm

    Your hair is so cute.

  4. March 9, 2010 9:32 pm

    Glad the first chemo went well. I guess I missed the reason you couldn’t have veggies, is it an infection thing?

  5. March 9, 2010 10:41 pm

    Don’t worry. Only the first chemo takes forever. The rest are shor, so ask a friend along.

    • March 9, 2010 11:07 pm

      It’ll always take at least 3 hours for the infusion and another 1 to 2 hours, at least for labs and doctor visit. We just got an added hour due to infusion room back-up.

  6. March 10, 2010 12:17 am

    Hey one down and how many more to go? I am super proud of you:) Got your card, you didn’t have to do that silly! Gosh. Love your colors !!!

  7. March 10, 2010 1:13 am

    Hi Kathy, CONGRATULATIONS on your first chemo treatment. May you continue to feel as well as you do. I’m in Oregon and have extended my stay to Sunday. I called Chris tonight and he said, “There’s a weird shaped package from kathy. Can I open it?” Of course I let him. He loves jewelry. He said, “WOW. Did she do the artwork on the medallion??” Well, I don’t know. did you? THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for such a beautiful gift and card and phone thingy. I love those phone thingies. I don’t like chatting during chemo either. And i must admit that seeing you in the chemo chair brought back Ahhhhhh memories. Take good care.

  8. March 10, 2010 1:14 am

    I always planned to spend the better part of a day; those were the only days I missed work. They always did blood tests first, plus the vitals and such. Since I didn’t have a port, I had to have an IV placed first, and that often took some time.

    My son came with me every time, bringing the Sunday crossword puzzle. (I was there to ask if he was stuck.) Much of the time I dozed; it takes a lot out of you. You may find yourself striking up conversations with people you see every time, if they’re on the same kind of schedule as you.

    But, you are right, the nurses are wonderful!

  9. March 10, 2010 1:18 am

    PS–if you have medical marijuana in your state, get a prescription just in case you don’t like the concrete constipation caused by the anti-nausea meds.

    • March 10, 2010 4:41 am

      Minnesota doesn’t have medical marijuana. Of course, if I need it, I can always run to the drug house across the street. Where all the neighborhood kids get it. Which would be a very ironic thing for me to do, given the status of my son.

  10. March 10, 2010 1:21 am

    I am so glad it all went so well! Cool shoes, lady!

  11. March 10, 2010 5:13 am

    Oooh, your haircut IS really cute! Good luck with the chemo!

  12. Gretchen permalink
    March 10, 2010 9:16 am

    Don’t like seeing you in that chemo chair, but love the colors and you look good! Hope things go well.

  13. March 10, 2010 10:00 am

    Only you would manage to color-coordinate perfectly with the artwork in your chemo room.

    I’m awfully good at sitting and not making conversation and have about three months worth of magazines to catch up on. (Do they have Wi-Fi??)

    I would use a vacation day to sit and not talk to you. Let me know!

  14. March 10, 2010 11:23 pm

    Kath, you look friggin’ fantastic in that chair!
    I don’t know if chemo nausea is anything like pregnancy nausea, which I had till the day I gave birth, both times, all day every day. But in case you get stuck somewhere like the teller lineup at the bank and have no time to get somewhere to puke, which happened to me (that, and driving, and this, that and the other, for months), what delayed the pukeage long enough to escape public embarrassment was to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. Slow and deep, and of course numerous times. I tell you this only for situations of desperation, which I hope you’ll have none of, and in hopes that it can postpone chemo vomiting as well as all-day morning sickness. God, pregnancy sucked.
    It would be funny if you started smoking pot, you’ve got that right. My mom tried it for her chemo nausea but couldn’t abide smoking. So we made a tea out of it for her, but she didn’t try it enough, or long enough, for it to make any difference. I would love to read what you write if you get stoned.

  15. Collectable Sue #1 permalink
    March 20, 2010 1:53 pm

    After reading this over a week ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about what you said, about going to Chemo alone. I get it now. Jean never asked me to go with her to chemo. I have to admit, I really didn’t think about going with her until after Samantha (on Sex in the City) got breast cancer. On the show they had all the girlfriends take turns going with her, sitting and chatting it up for hours while she under went her chemo therapy. By then it was too late for me to ask Jean if she wanted me to come. I think she felt like you do about it. She would go alone and sit and read. She talked about getting so much, uninterrupted reading time in. Jean loved to read. I think the quite and calm is what she wanted, too. Thanks for the in site!

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