Kevin took the day off to come with me for my first chemo. As directed, I put my Emla cream on over the port and covered it with a piece of cling wrap and some tape. It's lidocaine and prilocaine, which numb the skin so I won't feel anything when they access my port. We left enough time to stop for breakfast at Panera (have you had their breakfast soufflés? They're delicious.) before heading to the hospital. We got checked in and waited a few minutes before we were called back. We were early enough to have our pick of seats, and the nurse said the corner spots were popular for the privacy they afforded. I decided I'd like that, particularly since it was my first time. The nurse, Lisa, was excellent. She chatted with us as she set things up, answered my zillion questions, and helped us feel more at ease.
The Emla worked, and I
didn't feel a thing, barely even any pressure, when Lisa started my IV.
Everything worked as it was supposed to, and she had me hooked up pretty
quickly. The first step is to receive the premeds, which help to
reduce side effects, particularly nausea. A steroid was administered
via IV, and I also took some oral Zofran, which I was surprised to find
were chewable and pretty tasty. Lisa said most people prefer to swallow
it, as they quickly come to associate the taste with the unpleasantness
of chemo. We had a fair bit of time to kill while the premeds went to
work, so Kevin and I chatted and then read the weekly updates for the
baby from a few sites we like. The first came from My Pregnancy, and
elicited a few choice words from me as the irony of the situation sunk
in (italics mine):
"How your life's changing", I read. "Your baby's not the only
one with more hair--your locks may look more full and lustrous than
ever. --Oh eff you! -- It's not that you're growing more hair,
but thanks to hormonal changes, the hair that you'd normally shed is
sticking around longer than usual.--Not for long!-- Enjoy the fullness while you can--the extra hair will fall out after you give birth.--Or in about 13 days. Probably 13 days."
could hardly finish reading the blurb; I was laughing so hard that I
had tears in my eyes. Seriously? This is what they tell us about today?
we finished reading the weekly updates, we had about 30 more minutes
until I'd start getting the actual meds. I asked Kevin to run over to my
asthma doctor's office (also at GBMC, though a few buildings away) to
pick up a prescription for me, as my inhaler was just about empty and my
awesome doctor often gives me samples to spare me the ridiculously high
I kid you not, he hadn't been gone ten minutes before the
fire alarm went off. The nurses were surprised--they're usually
notified in advance of fire drills, and they hadn't been notified.
Everyone in my infusion room put on shoes, unplugged IV stands, and
started towards the exit, which was down a long hallway winding past the
other infusion room, waiting rooms for the doctors, and the main lobby.
Just before I got to the door, an employee made an announcement
that they'd confirmed it was a drill and that we could return to
whatever we'd been doing.
Entertainment portion of the morning
over, Kevin returned and my infusion started shortly after. The first
medication, Adriamycin, looked like red Kool-Aid in large syringes.
Apparently, this drug can wreak some impressive havoc if it gets out of
the vein, so it's pushed slowly by the nurse rather than left to drip.
Lisa told me to keep my mouth as cold as possible throughout, sucking on
ice chips or drinking ice water in order to reduce the likelihood or
severity of mouth sores (spoiler: I still got them, but maybe they
weren't as bad as they could have been).
Once that one was finished,
she started the Cytoxan. I worked on getting caught up on some
paperwork and did a little journaling; Kevin and I both read some. The
oncology social worker came to talk to us and see if we needed anything;
she said we could get a free three-month YMCA family membership, so I was
excited for that. I dropped my membership to save money about eight
months ago, but the water activities in particular are really good for
my hip, and I have been missing it. So I'll get that set up pretty soon.
Thanks, anonymous donors!
We got my prescription for Neulasta
arranged; I had to call the specialty pharmacy to clarify information
and provide shipping details, as it'll be delivered to our house
tomorrow morning, in time for me to self administer. Holy smokes, I've
got to pay a lot of money for things that will make me feel awful. It'll
keep me healthy though, so I'll do it.
We finished right around
1:30. I was feeling pretty good, so on the way home we stopped at the
grocery store for ingredients for several freezer meals. Kevin's family
came to our house for our Friday night pizza, and then Kevin and I got
the guestroom set up for my mom, who got in a little after eight.