Chemo Teach – My Cancer Journey

Next was chemo teach. Bill and I were scheduled to meet with the pharmacist, Jolly. I was amused by the name because I didn’t think chemotherapy was very amusing.

I was told by everyone at Levine Cancer Institute that I had to have all blood pressure readings and blood work always done on my right arm since I had four lymph nodes removed from the left side,  There would be a possibility of some kind of lymphitis or something like that happening and I would always need to be aware of having medical procedures done on the right arm forever more. Jolly reminded me about this.

Before our appointment with Jolly, a nurse came and took blood from me (on the right again – not yet feeling like a pin cushion). I was told that this would be the baseline before chemo started. She took four bottles of my blood with her.

Then Jolly arrived with a handout. She told me about the chemo drugs I would be getting. She told me about every single side affect that I may or may not experience, but probably would. We went over my health history and Jolly was happy (ha, ha) that my health history was really good. There was concern over my asthma and my osteoporosis. I was diagnosed with asthma after the allergist I saw noted that having bronchitis almost yearly was probably due to the fact that I had asthma. Hence, I now have an inhaler that has dust on it.

We talked about my nausea and that I would be given anti nausea medication prior to chemo. Jolly prescribed Ondansetron and Promethazine for nausea and vomiting. I was also prescribed Dexamethasone which is a steroid. Lidocaine is an ointment that I am supposed to put over the port site one hour prior to chemo, then put a piece of Saran Wrap over it. The Lidocaine apparently numbs the area, however, Jolly said cheerfully that some people love it and others say it doesn’t help at all. (Why does Jolly have to be so truthful?)

We talked about how prior to the chemo injections, the nurses would draw blood from me to make sure the drugs weren’t causing problems. If there were problems, my chemo treatment would be pushed off for one week. From what I remember, the first chemo drug would be “pushed” for five minutes. The second drug would be “pushed” over thirty minutes. I think I blacked or maybe blanked out at some point during this. I was relying on Bill to catch all of this but with his brain bleed his short term memory is rotten. I would have to read through the handout. Sigh.

We were told each chemo treatment would take approximately three to four hours. Jolly talked about Neulasta and that I would have to return to the hospital the very next day for this injection. The commercial about Neulasta is not realistic, at least I am not comfortable with it. I would prefer to return to the hospital and have a nurse make sure this drug is being properly injected and that I am getting the full dose. What is Neulasta for? By this time, I am really hazy about all the drugs and just know that the Neulasta will probably make me sick to my stomach.

Again, Jolly cheerfully went over every side affect that I could potentially have, along with the fact that the risk of infection is extremely high during treatments. Oh joy, Jolly! I got it. During chemo, I really need to see my horse.  I will wear a mask and gloves, if I have to, to see my horse. Gizmo and my children and my husband are good for my heart. Although, Jolly told me I might become irritable. Lucky Bill. He is hoping to go back to work soon.

Bill and I left the appointment, our heads swimming with all the information we were given. The next day, I was scheduled for my probe, I mean port, placement. I am convinced the port also has some kind of tracking device in it. This was all becoming too real.


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I am a Canadian living in the Carolinas. I truly feel at home in the Carolinas. I don't know what it is about the south but sitting amongst friends and their southern drawl gives a sense of peace. A sense of calm that I haven't had before. Writing has been a way of life since I was a teenager. But it has been a struggle until now. God has touched me in a way that has had a profound effect on me. My determination and desire to write is now deep within. A writer is someone who is always willing to listen, absorb and learn. The learning curve is never ending. One is never too old or too experienced to learn. Everyone has had life touch them in many different ways. Every person has a story within them. One may choose to turn away from their faith from life experiences or one may choose to lean towards God. Those are the stories I wish to share.

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