Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Visit to Chemo Day

I've been here since 8:20 this morning.  It is now 2:30 p.m.  I expect to be here another hour.  Welcome to chemo.

I'm currently in the "boat" room.  They have 3 chemo rooms at our local cancer center.  One is decorated in boats, one exotic animals ( Keri would love that one!) and one has landscapes - mostly mountains.  In each room, there are several recliners that don't recline much unless you're a big man or very strong.  I am neither.  At least I can put my feet up.  Between the sorta recliners are semi-comfortable chairs for each patient's caretaker or support person.  I also have a TV that swings out that gets local channels.  We don't want cancer patients to miss The Chew ya know.

The nurses are wonderful.  They keep us supplied with heated blankets, drinks, and IVs.   They hook us up and unhook us so we can go pee, and do whatever they can to make our stay as pleasant as possible.  Normally it's pretty uneventful, but some poor man got sick today.  Once again, I'm grateful for the regimen I'm on and the anti-nausea drugs they give me.

In the bathroom, there is a print of a painting of several girls in roaring twenties bathing suits.  All the dark-headed girls look like the girl I like to call my daughter from another mother.  I don't have daughters.  I used to mourn that.  Since my diagnosis, not so much.  My best friend has two.  Sometimes she loans me one.  True - it's the challenging one.  But I adore her anyway, and seeing several versions of her always comforts me a bit.

The drugs that are saving my life are given to me via IV.  The sound of the IV pump is the soundtrack of chemo day.  That includes the "bee-doop" of a finished bag.  Before we get to the hard stuff, I get appetizers of saline, Zofran, Benedryl, Pepcid, and my favorite - Emend.  These prepare me for the chemo.  The Benedryl makes me sleepy, so I often sleep through part of my chemo.  It seems pretty typical, this sleeping through treatment.

I'm given two chemo drugs.  That's what is the standard treatment for my ovarian cancer.  It takes three hours for the first one, half an hour for the second one.  It might take up my whole day with labs and doctor appointments added in, but it's working.  I'm getting better.  I'm stronger.  I know how to pace myself better so I can do a few things before the fatigue sets in.  And it does set in.  About 3 hours after I'm done.

I know I'm lucky.  Chemo can be hell.  But if you go into it with a fighting attitude, and prepared for the side effects, maybe it helps.  Maybe if you don't let the fear of chemo take over, you won't have as much to fear.

Works for me.

1 comment:

  1. It's never any fun - I've seen too many friends through this. At least it has improved in terms of the nausea part! Hang in there. You are one of the strongest people I know.