Chemo Day 2

This day last month, I had my double mastectomy. Just a month, but it feels like forever. This new reality has overtaken and it feels like life is just cancer treatment. It’s a bizarre feeling. A year from now, all of this will be a blur, and I will wonder where the last year of my life went.

Yesterday was a good day. I had a minor reaction from the steroid I was given–my face was extremely red-purple and sore. It only lasted a couple hours and will likely happen each week. Not so bad. This is my learning week–they say what happens this week will most likely be my pattern. It will be nice to have this week behind me. The unknowns should then be known, and I will be able to settle into my remaining 11 weeks of chemo with some ability to plan and schedule activity accordingly.

I was able to sleep a full night in my bed for the first time since surgery. That was nice. I woke up with a headache, but a couple Tylenol took care of that. Food is tasting pretty dull today and I have little appetite. So far, no nausea; thanks be to God!

I have settled into resting, for the most part. I’ve finally allowed myself to take the time I need and not feel guilty about it. This is the grace of God in my life. I will continue to trust Him on this third day. . . I’m told this day and the next could get pretty rough. One step at a time.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6”

Chemo Day 1

I arrived to my appointment about 8:30, after a pretty rough night and a 1.5 hour drive. Not the best start. My port is still sore from being put it, so the first needle poke wasn’t great, but not too bad. Once the initial needle went in, I was set for the day. That’s so much nicer than finding a decent IV site in my one arm. I’m grateful to have the port.

After the lab draw, I saw my oncologist. Jesus Vera is a great guy. He is conscientious, kind, and takes his time with us. He sounds like Ricky Ricardo. The nurses mention how good he smells. I guess we haven’t been close enough to notice. We appreciate him. I have quipped that Jesus is my oncologist. Who could ask for more?

Once I got to the infusion room, I was given 2 tylenol, then infusions of Benadryl, dexamethasone, and Pepcid, all to counteract infusion reactions and side effects. Next came a 50 min infusion of Taxol, which is the actual chemo drug. They watched me closely for the first 15 minutes, prepared for a reaction. I didn’t have one. So thankful! After that was done, I had a 90 minute infusion of Herceptin. That one is an antibody that counteracts the HER2 protein receptors. This medication has virtually no side effects, as it is an antibody, not an attacking drug. Saline was running throughout the entire process.

I had awful restless legs and was a bit drowsy for the first 45 min, due to the Benedryl. Dr. Vera has already lowered that dose for next time, so that shouldn’t happen again. Other than that, boredom was the worst part of the day. Larry was with me, but the extra chairs in the room are terribly uncomfortable, so he did go for walks. We didn’t end up playing cribbage. I think he avoided it because he was afraid I’d beat him. All in all, it went well.

After the chemo, we went to the plastic surgeon for a fill in my tissue expanders, as part of my breast reconstruction. That also went well, and I the expanders are much more comfortable now that they are fuller. I’m glad because I’ve been pretty frustrated with the level of pain and discomfort they cause. I’m trying to keep my eye on the prize, and know that I will be happy with the outcome.

So far, I’ve had some minor side effects. Last night, my intestines were overactive, partially due to the chemo and partially due to my poor choices in food for the day. I know now that the day before and the day of chemo I need to stick to very mild foods like bananas, oatmeal, rice. Lesson learned.

This morning, my face was terribly flushed and it hurt. That seems to be getting quite a bit better already.

So far, so good. Praise be to God.

Nervous

I’m supposed to be nervous about tomorrow. At least, that’s what I gather from the number of people who have asked me if I am.

My port is finally feeling pretty decent, so I guess I am ready for my first chemo treatment. It’s an early appointment–8:30 am in Duluth. I’m told it will be a full day, consisting of several appointments and several hours of sitting. I think we will bring the cribbage board. Nothing passes the time like beating my husband at cribbage.

I think the only thing I’m actually nervous about is the first 10-15 minutes of my first infusion. Nurses will be watching me “like a hawk” to make sure I don’t have any adverse reactions. I have a few medical allergies, so this is a concern for me. I am declaring here and now that God is bigger than this fear, and has me in His hand. I will take this as it comes.

It is quite probable that I will have some side effects later in the week. Considering my weak stomach, I anticipate dealing with nausea. Since I handled puking my guts out through 6 pregnancies, I figure I’ll survive this, too. And with this, I should get days off. No such luxury in pregnancy.

Today, I’m not nervous. My bravado may dissipate in the morning as I enter the clinic, but at least I’m not borrowing trouble at the moment. Little victories. And if fear grips me tomorrow, I will have my husband, who is my rock, and the Lord God, who is my Rock. It’ll be okay.