We showed up at 8am & I was called back for some labs. They will do this every time so they can see what my blood counts & make sure I can handle another round. If my white blood cells or red blood cells or any other number of things are "off" it can delay things. Mine were perfect & then we went to the chemo room. The room at the facility I'm going to has lots of what look like office cubicles but they have grey recliners for the patient, another chair for a guest, tv's, and various medical things. You get assigned to a pod & a nurse that is where you have your chemo. You are given a special mix of pre-meds before chemo actually begins & mine included Aloxi & Emend (anti-nausea), Decadron (steroid) & Benadryl in case I had any sort of reaction to the chemo. As soon as that hit me, I could feel myself start to fade. Benadryl from a bottle makes me sleepy but this from an IV was crazy strong! My husband said he could see my eyes get glassy & fighting sleep became a little difficult.
After the pre-meds, which took about an hour, I started with the actual chemotherapy. As I said in the last blog, I'm starting off with four bi-weekly treatments of AC (red devil) chemo that includes two drugs: doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). As you can see, the chemo is actually red!
I honestly don't remember much after watching the first med turn all the saline it mixed with red & make it's way down to my port. I would wake up when she came to switch meds, but I mostly slept. My husband just sat & watched me, got things if I woke up & asked him to, chatted with the people around us, and ran his phone battery down. The Benadryl combined with lack of sleep was just a little too much for me to fight. I did find out that when they flush my port with saline it leaves a very strange taste in my mouth so I was very thankful for the jolly ranchers that Mom sent me. The strong flavor of a candy or mint can help with that weird taste. I had also read that eating ice during the first 10 min of each chemo infusion can help avoid mouth sores & I intended to do that, but just fell asleep. I will try to remember next time. I did get a Neulasta auto-injector placed on the back of my arm. Neulasta is injected 24 hours after chemo & causes your body to release a ton of white blood cells to try & build your counts back up so you can fight off infection - kind of important for someone who works in a hospital. That will inject me tomorrow & can cause some bone & joint pain & I was told to take Claritin (yes the allergy medicine) for that. It apparently binds to the protein & makes the side effects of the Neulasta not as bad. So now I have Claritin, Zofran, Phenergan, Ibuprofen, medicine to try & keep me from getting fever blisters....my kitchen counter is starting to look like a pharmacy counter.
Chemo Infusion #1
We were there a total of about 4 hours. I was never uncomfortable or in pain, and I'm glad the first one is over. Fear of the unknown is the worst for me - like not knowing how I'm going to feel tomorrow or the next day - so I'm glad I know now. We did go up to the American Cancer Society Resource Room before leaving & even though I'm not sure I will wear it,, I did pick out a wig. They had one in almost my exact hair color & style & since they are provided free of charge I decided to take it. I can always donate it back if I don't use it. I also came home to two chemo beanies that my step-mother had ordered & I think I will really like those. They re-iterated again that I should expect my hair to go in 10 to 14 days & that I'll start experiencing some changes with how things taste.
I'll let you know my opinion on what to take in your "chemo bag" when I've done some more. I took several things but all I needed to day was a blanket and some candy. I saw several women coloring or reading but I just slept. And thanks again to all the ones who checked up on me today. I have immensely enjoyed an Edible Arrangement that came from a friend today - gotta finish that off quickly before the taste changes begin!
Me & my amazing husband.