Chemo Round 2, Cycle 1, Day 1
The image of the roller coaster is an apt description of how yesterday went. I normally try to get my chemo updates done same day, but by the time I made it home I was well and truly exhausted. The day started early because of the 0800 start time. The staff and I always joke about me being the first one in and last one out. And I definitely go prepared for the long haul.
I finally got smart this time — in the past, I’d do my imitation of a pack mule. A shoulder bag with a blanket, thermoses of tea and coffee, and water bottle crammed into it, a thermal bag filled with Perrier, things to eat, protein drinks, cold packs, and most importantly, my laptop. I have spent from 8:00AM to 6:00PM in a chemo chair, so it is essential to carry things with you. Once you’re in the chair, you cannot nip out to get something to eat. And I’m not a magazine reader and don’t like staring at the walls for 9-10 hours.
This year I upped my game when I remembered the cart I use to transport books — a cart on wheels. And I could bungee my laptop to the handle. Win-win. It was SO MUCH easier than trying to CARRY everything. A good start to the day, for sure.
The actual chemo
When getting me hooked up, the chemo nurse hadn’t dealt with my particular port before. The surgeon placed it differently than most. It is higher, and somewhat deeper. Fortunately, one of the nurses present had connected the port several times, and showed the newer nurse how it is done. Then I settled in, pulled out the laptop and tried to get a few things accomplished.
About half an hour in, I struggled a bit to catch my breath. A weight settled on my chest. My face flushed. I knew the signs. Allergic reaction to the meds. I alerted the nurse and she stopped the drip and added a saline bag to help dilute the intensity.
Fifteen minutes later, my breathing eased and the weight lifted. Shortly after that, we restarted the drip, but ran the saline at the same time. Next, the aftermath to the reaction happened. I started shaking uncontrollably, and freezing like being in the middle of a snowstorm with no protective gear. My teeth chattered and my fingers shook so badly I couldn’t type. I grabbed a fresh thermos of hot coffee and sipped a little at a time — there was nothing else I could do but wait it out.
Once the reaction and aftermath had passed, the rest of the day ran smoothly. So smoothly, I completed my treatment almost two hours earlier than anticipated. Hurrah!! I contacted my mom, my ride for the afternoon, and waited for her to arrive.
By the time I arrived home, exhaustion had set in. Despite the exhaustion, without a sleeping aid, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep. So I took my pill, had something to eat, crawled into bed, and oblivion took over. A solid sleep, with only a couple of interruptions.
Tomorrow we go for chemo day 2. It will be MUCH shorter, and I do not have to have the drug I’m allergic to, so it should be a decent day.