Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chemo and What It Feels Like

Chemotherapy started Monday.

We were late. I forgot the correct time, eight in the morning, and thought it was nine. I think the appointment card I received for March with a nine o'clock time was what threw me off schedule. Anyway, the dh and I watched a short educational piece on chemotherapy. The person on the tape was also the nurse who is the point person for any questions. I signed more forms concerning my care.

Secondly, I needed to give a blood sample. As usual, they couldn't find a good vein. Several nights ago, I dreamed I had great blood vessels, much like my husband. But dreams aren't reality. They stuck me once, gave up on that spot, and tried my wrist and managed to suck enough for their needs.

We waited for a moment in the waiting room and were called back to the treatment room. Lined with recliners and privacy curtains, we found an empty chair and companion chair. I was introduced to the nurse who would be caring for me, she is the daughter-in-law of one of my hubby's old-time Wildlife co-workers. So, that was nice.

She got her gear together, and stuck a needle in my port. She couldn't draw blood back, a major item, as if the chemo didn't get into a vein, it would literally eat my flesh. So, she tried a longer needle and thank heavens, it worked.

The needle in the port thing didn't hurt at all. It was like getting a little pinch. No big deal, especially after the two tries to get a blood sample.

The dh asked what time I might be through and went off to do whatever men like to do. The two medications were to take an hour and fifteen minutes or thereabouts. Cell phones are our friends.

They gave the chemo in two segments, first one, then the other. I felt a little flush in my face, as though my cheekbones wanted attention, I was told the next day that your face might flush redder on your cheekbones, so that was interesting.

There were three or four nurses taking care of the chemo patients that lined the four walls, if a pump gave an audible sound, one of the nurses would check up on you. There were a few rooms with beds in them for the patients who needed them.

Time passed, I read a book. Watched another patient getting her dosage. The dh came back, he never left the truck, but had three phone calls from his buddies. Men! They're so funny.

Finally, the procedure was done. I was instructed to come back the next day, at approximately that time as they needed twenty-four hours before I could get my shot to boost my white blood cells, as chemo attacks them as well as the cancer cells.

It was after lunch, we both decided that the hospital's lunch menu wasn't for us and went out to eat.

That night, I felt as though tiny ice shards were streaming through my blood stream. I wasn't cold, but there was a coldness in my blood.

The next day, we made the trek to get my shot. By the time the dh parked the truck, I was done. Aha, we went to lunch. Italian food this time.

So, all in all, it's a relative painless process at this point. The mediport isn't tender anymore, as it was after the surgery. I was given some cream and a huge see-through bandage to administer before my next treatment to deaden the area. That's always a plus.

I have to give another blood sample next Monday, and can do it in my hometown, so that saves on a long drive. I'm hoping that my white blood cells are feeling up to the task. They are the ones that fight infection, so I might be very prone to catching anything and everything unless I watch myself.

Monday night, we did go to the funeral home as my hubby's last uncle passed away. I did hug a few relatives, but they weren't my usual hugs. My hubby was counting them.

But...the NOLAStars Conference is out. As is RWA National. I haven't missed a RWA Conference in years. But I'll be at home, my chemo and radiation should be finished by then, but knowing how things are, maybe not.

How do I feel right now. Fine, except for those little tiny icy shards that are flowing through my blood stream.



At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Therese Walsh said...

A warm hug from me. Thanks for sharing your journey, Donna.

At 8:13 AM, Blogger Vicky said...

Donna, you are in my thoughts and prayers. You've got a lot of folks on the Contest loop wishing you well. I had so much fun with you at the NOLA conference last year, so let's make a plan. Next year, we're gonna celebrate your wellness at NOLA AND nationals. Big hugs!


At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Lyn Morgan said...

Hi Donna,
This is my first try at posting on a blog. You are always so good at making me try new things. As for the hat, try one of those knit ones that people wear when it's cold outside.

Your head may be cold without hair. I have another friend who is going through this and she looks really cute in her little cap.

Younger even.

Hugs, Lyn


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