Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Day 25 of 100 Days of Good Karma.
Day 1 of Chemotherapy.
It’s been a long 25 days to get to this point. And, thankfully, today was much less frightening than I anticipated.
I was definitely more afraid of getting the port placed than I was of my first day of chemotherapy, but still, I’d be lying if I said I walked into the doctor’s office floating on air.
I didn’t sleep well the night before. Probably a combination of nerves about my first treatment and having slept almost all the day before because of surgery.
I’ve been dealing with some powerfully frightening words lately.
I don’t like being afraid, and prefer to confront my fears head on.
That was how I selected Mathematics as my major in college. I was scared to death of math, and I didn’t want to live my life wondering ‘what if’.
Confronting college and dealing with cancer don’t exactly hold the same kind of fear, but the principle is the same.
Running away isn’t an option, so I prepared for battle.
The night before I picked out my clothes.
What do you wear to your first day of chemo?
Whatever makes you feel strong.
For me, that’s the first necklace Justin gave me many years ago, my favorite running shoes and camo yoga pants.
At the doctor’s office, I went for a quick blood draw to make sure I was healthy enough to receive chemotherapy that day.
Then I was called back by one of the nurses and the games really got started.
The scariest part was in the beginning when two nurses hooked me up to the IV. I gripped the hand of one nurse while the other nurse inserted the needle into the port beneath my left shoulder, but it turned out that I didn’t need to be afraid because I didn’t feel a thing.
One of the prescriptions I was given was for Lidocaine cream. About an hour before the appointment I squeezed a dollop of this stuff onto a piece of plastic and then applied the plastic to the skin over the port.
(All the doctors and nurses said to do it that way or I’d just get my finger numb.)
The first IV bag they gave me was full of steroids. I think the nurse said this was to prevent nausea and help my body heal. This only took about twenty minutes to run out.
The second bag contained the actual chemotherapy drugs. Those took about an hour to run out.
The nurses popped in frequently to check on me and make sure I was doing okay.
When the chemo drugs ran out the nurse flushed the port with saline, which, oddly, I could taste, then an anti-clotting drug so the port wouldn’t get all boogered up.
From blood draw to being turned loose, I was at the doctor’s office for maybe two and a half hours.
Thanks to my good friend Erica, my date for the day, I was perfectly entertained.
Erica moved out of state earlier this year, and we spent the time I was in the chemo chair catching up on all we’d missed in each other’s lives. When I met Erica nine years ago, I never dreamed we’d lose our chemo-virginity together.
My oncologist said that I’d feel fine after my first chemotherapy because of the steroids and she was right.
I felt fine. Better than fine. I felt good.
Erica and I went to lunch then she spent the rest of the day with me to make sure I didn’t have any weird reactions.
There weren’t many.
My mouth felt cottony, and I probably drank a gallon of water trying to get rid of it.
(It’s still there. Yuck.)
I wasn’t really hungry the rest of the day, but I made myself eat. I didn’t feel nauseated at all.
There were a couple of times that I just felt like I needed to sit down and rest, so I did, and happily watched Erica sweep my kitchen for me.
But that’s it.
I know treatment won’t always be this easy, so I’m grateful for feeling well today.
Oh, and I’m also grateful for…
Today’s silver lining: Erica. She kept me smiling and laughing throughout the day. She even helped me get my house back in order.
She cleaned while I made phone calls to the insurance company and doctor’s offices. Cancer doesn’t care if your house is a mess, but I do and it sure is nice to wake up to a clean house.
I miss my friend and look forward to when she and her family move back to Texas.
What’s your silver lining today? I love comments!