Tuesday, June 19, 2012
current mood: Thankful
So I was on my bike ride this morning. I do some of my best “thinking” on my rides. Today I was thinking that my 5 year Anniversary is coming up. The Anniversary of my first chemo treatment is June 25, 2007. A day I will never forget.
I remember having to be at the hospital at 6 am. I was scheduled to have surgery at 7 am to implant my port. See I’m one of those lucky people who you cannot find a vein on. I had my brave face on but deep down I was so scared.
I remember the male nurse calming me down and telling me, more like reassuring me that he would find my vein on the first try. And I’ll be damned, he did. Kudos to him!
So off to surgery I went. I was never 100% under which was kinda freaky. I could hear the Dr and Nurses talking. After Surgery and a little recovery time, I was wheeled down to the Cancer Center part of the Hospital. I hated being wheeled down there. I felt for the first time that I was sick. That I couldn’t walk on my own. It totally sucked! There I would receive my first round of eight chemo treatments. Sixteen weeks of the “unknown”. Sixteen weeks of nausea, pain and lots of tears!
After signing in and waiting a short while in the large waiting room full of other patients waiting to get poisoned, they called my name. They took my blood to check my blood counts. I would soon learn that it was all about my white blood cell count and keeping that one up high.
I was then moved to a treatment room, where I was there with four other patients. My Chemo Nurse Helen was off that day so I was getting treated my another Nurse who was explaining everything to me as she did it. I could see her lips moving but couldn’t hear her. My mind and thoughts were elsewhere. I didn’t want the poison. I didn’t want to be there. I hated my body for failing me and putting me there. She told me the total time would be about 2 hours. I sent my Dad back to the waiting room, there was no reason for him to stay with me and the treatment room was very small and there wasn’t really enough room for him.
After the nurse set up my IV and the drip of the chemo pump started, a sound that I would quickly hate! The chemo pump, a machine where you actually hear the poison being pumped into you. As the nurse walked away my tears would start flowing. I cried the entire 2 hours. I sat there aimlessly flipping through the magazines that I had brought. I had no idea what I was looking at.
I do know that there was an elderly woman getting treatment in the chair across from me and she stared at me the whole entire time. I hated her and I still hate her today. Her face is embedded in my mind. I could pick her out of a line up in a heartbeat that’s how much she hurt me. How dare she stare at me! Had she never seen someone scared before?
When my treatment was done, the nurse gave me a list of things to be aware of…. If I got a fever, if I threw up etc., I was to call the Dr immediately.
I quickly made my next appointment to be poisoned and found my Dad in the waiting room. I was in such a hurry he could barely keep up. I was out of there and across the street headed for the parking garage. I needed to get away from the smells and sounds of the poison and that awful woman staring at me.
I would get home and rest the rest of the day. I was so afraid to eat. I didn’t know what to eat. I had a stomach ache but didn’t know if I was hungry or if it was nausea. That is one thing I never learned, the difference between nausea and hunger. So I ate some saltines and drank some juice hoping to keep it down. All was going well, until a little after 9 pm when I ran for the bathroom. I hadn’t thrown up in years. Welcome to chemo.
I called the Dr and left a message with the answering service. The Dr quickly called me back and asked if I had a fever. I did not, which was a good thing. She called in a prescription for me for a drug called Ativan. Ativan would become my new best friend. I popped Ativan like they were tic tacs. The nausea would get worse and eventually I would be put on two other meds for nausea. Ahhhh, Chemo!
It was a long sixteen weeks to say the least. My first four rounds looking back now were a breeze compared to my last four. My first four were not painful except for the Neulasta shot which I got on Thursday after Chemo. This shot was very painful. Not the shot itself but the affects of the shot. See it’s a shot that stimulates your bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. The affects would hit me like clock work on Saturday afternoon around 1 pm. It was so painful that I could not sleep in my own bed. I had to sleep on the couch positioned a certain way as to not have my neck and shoulders and back be touched. Those were the areas that hurt the most. The pain would last four days.
My last four treatments were painful not only because of the Neulasta shot but also due to the chemo itself. It was double whammy and yes I finally asked for some drugs. I needed those narcotics to get by those eight weeks.
I am happy to say I survived those sixteen weeks and I’m happy to have them behind me...
Happy 5 year Cancerversary!
Happy 5 year Cancerversary!