Chemotherapy – My Cancer Journey

It was here. The first day, the first round of chemotherapy. My best friend and her daughter had arrived the night before and went with Bill and I to my appointment. I was frightened. I was nervous. I was anxious. I was so glad Elizabeth and Delaney could be with me.

We first met with my medical oncologist. Bill had applied the lidocaine ointment over the probe for me. I unfortunately managed to get some on my tongue. Yes, this stuff works.

I wasn’t surprised that my blood pressure was elevated. The nurse wasn’t either. The nurse inserted her needle and drew blood. Did not feel a thing until Bill asked the nurse if she could use a larger post the next time. What a man. The nurse left the iv in, sent the blood work off to the labs and we made our way to the infusion room. Infusion room.

It was a busy place. From what I remember, all the chairs were full and I took the last empty one. Large windows behind me. Glass panels on the ceiling with pictures of leaves and the sky. But none of this could detract from what would be happening and was happening to everyone there. The nurse told me they had to wait for the results from the lab before they could get started. The wait times on this varied greatly. If my blood work was good, then they could proceed. The nurse warned me that if at any time my blood work was not acceptable, I would be sent home and asked to come back in one week. Well, that was not going to happen today since this was my first treatment.

A large saline solution was plugged into me. The nurse told me I would be filled with two different types of anti nausea medicine before the chemo drugs. I was told that Zofran causes constipation and that I should alternate between the two drugs. The nurse also showed me the chemo drugs. The first one, Adriamycin, was red in color. The second one, cytoxin, was clear.

The lab results came back clear. Two different anti nausea medicines were given to me via the port. I had to wait 30 minutes once it was complete. Then the nurse put on a gown and gloves and sat beside me. I was told that she had to watch as the Adriamycin was being pushed in that it did not come back out. It took her seven minutes to push the red stuff in. Then I was told I would be given the next drug in 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes later, cytoxin was hung on my iv and it dripped into me after 30 minutes. I was unhooked from the tubes and sent home. I was given instructions to return the next day at 4pm for the Neulasta shot. It would be given into the chicken wing part of my arm.  Except my chicken wing is not so flabby. I am proud of that. Grooming, lifting saddles and riding does that for a person. An easy shot that would take 5 minutes in all.

We went home and I was fine. Tired but fine. Okay, I thought to myself. This is okay. I can do this. I will be fine. Thank goodness I told my medical oncologist that I am a real lightweight with medications. I throw up easily. I get diarrhea. I don’t know if it is my mind that is fighting the medications or my body. Either way, I know myself and that I am a lightweight. I was not prepared for what would happen in the following week.

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