Today was my first chemotherapy treatment and it went well. I arrived with my “chemo bag”.. a red canvas Trader Joe’s shopping bag with a notebook and pen, novel, Kindle Fire and a hand made breast cancer awareness blanket given to me by an aunt. I was ready for anything. It was not nearly the horrible experience I had built up in my mind over the past few days. One big concern to me was my port a cath. It was placed 30 days ago today. I had read that if unused it should be flushed every 2 weeks. I have had blood draws and a MUGA scan since it was placed and no one seemed eager to access it. I could have insisted I suppose but hey, if the chick with the fat needle is hesitant to stab a foreign body embedded in my chest, who am I to argue? I mentioned to the RN who was doing my blood draw today that it was virgin territory. She seemed surprised but didn’t say too much. After swabbing and anesthetizing it she told me to take a deep breath on 3 and plunged the needle right in. It was no more painful than any other needle stick and worked beautifully. She told me afterwards that she shared my concerns and it should have been flushed within 3 days of implant. Ooops.
Next I had a nursing assessment and then met with my Oncologist. They both went over everything again and answered all of my questions. I find it helps to keep a notebook. I also learned that the Tumor Board has recommended me for genetic counseling. I’m not sure when that will take place.
I was placed in a private room as all the bays were full. I was very comfortable, the nurse was attentive and again explained each step and took time to answer any question I had. I was given lunch and ate while the anti nausea drugs, steroid and saline were being introduced. Then 2 vials of Adriamycin over 5 minutes and finally Cytoxin for 30. I felt very little in the way of side effects. At the end of the last infusion my sinuses stung a little, like the sensation you get when chlorinated water goes up your nose while swimming. The sensation comes and goes, but is not very bothersome and I don’t expect it to last. There was also a slight metallic taste in my mouth that honestly I did not even notice until the nurse asked if I was experiencing it. I have a laundry list of anti-emetics at my disposal and am taking them on a schedule to hopefully avoid paying homage to the porcelain gods.
I have a list of possible side effects and was told to keep track of and report anything. Anything? hmmm … I planted myself in the recliner of dread when I came home and waited for the horrible terribleness. After 30 minutes I became bored and watched 2 episodes of Six Feet Under. After 2 and a half hours in a reclining position preceded by a 40 minute car ride preceded by an afternoon on a hospital bed I noticed my hips and legs were aching. I considered writing it down, but then decided I probably needed to just get up off my ass and move around.
I moved from the recliner to my computer desk where I have been enjoying a cup of wonton soup while writing down my experiences. Now it’s off to a hot bubblebath. All in all, not a bad day at all.
…. fifteen to go