Monday, January 24, 2005

Day 1 - Chemo

Sarah: It is always important to have the right mojo for any major life event. One trick we've learned from our friends in the band is that you can never have enough different colors of nail polish. On your toes. We are calling it "power polish". A new coat will be applied before each round of chemo. The nurses really dug it, esp. since Frank wore his birks w/o socks in 30 degree weather, just so they'd see 'em. He may be down a ball, but he is SECURE in his manhood.

The second totem is a Sponge Bob lunch box that now contains 6 different prescription medicines, with more possibly to follow (this does not include the $3K shots he'll get later on...) The knit hats from my dad and Frank's cell phone round out the box.

Oh I did get him there - EARLY. I just want that to be on the record. Before 8 am. ME.

Frank: It was a long day, made longer by the fact that I had my schedule all screwed up. This is the week where I go 5 days in a row for Etoposide and Platinol. They take a while to administer (3-4 hours total). So when all was said and done, including the mandatory Chemo for Dummies class, blood work, Dr. visit and then chemo, we had spent 8 hours in chemoland (Sarah had a bit of a break going out for lunch, getting the schedule for the rest of the week and filling scripts). I was ill-prepared for the long, boring stay. I'll be ready tomorrow with the laptop, some DVDs, and headphones. (Luckily all these things happen in house at the cancer treatment center, "So we got that going for us, which is nice." --- Sarah)

Wasn't too thrilled about the educational segment, and the nurse wasn't much help there. We spent 20 minutes watching a video that she didn't like and she contradicted it several times. Anyway, it wasn't a total waste of time, just not the best use of time. (Frank is your classic over achiever, he already knew 98% of what was said and contradicted and was impatient to get the day started. I was very good at interpreting the look from him that said, "don't ask her any more questions, period." There may have been some expletives in the look too, I'm also good at not sharing those with you, at least for now.---Sarah)

Blood counts were normal, so we were ready to begin. First came an hour of saline drip, followed by Kytril (anti-nausea), mixed in with some saline, Dexmethasone (steroid), then the Etoposide (chemo), again with some saline. They tested my reaction to the Bleomycin (chemo), then pushed the rest of the dose after I showed no ill side effects. Finally we finished up with the Cisplatin/Platinol (chemo), with some magnesium sulfate, mannitol (diuretic) and potassium chloride to round out the daily dose of fun in a bag (quite a few bags, actually). Did I mention there was saline, too?

I think I got 2.5 L of saline altogether, as well as drinking water the whole day. When I wasn't reading or eating, I was using the facilities. It's not easy having the smallest bladder on the oncology floor.

Met another TC patient who uses the same docs as I do (probably a minor HIPAA violation to introduce us to each other). He was starting his second cycle of chemo. Nice guy, told me what his experience had been to this point. His hair was long gone, so I could very well be sporting the Yul Brynner look by Valentine's Day.

The port-a-cath worked like a champ. They used it to draw blood for my test, as well as hook up all that saline and a few drugs into my system (my flu shot, however, went straight into the bicep, thank you very much). They flushed it and left the little needle and dongle in place so I'll be ready for another hookup as soon as I arrive in the morning.

Also got a script for Nexium (you know, the little purple pill, except the medical stuff says it's actually amethyst). I'll be the walking pharmacopoeia by the end of this journey. (Good thing he's got Sponge Bob to carry them for him.--Sarah)

I feel kinda fuzzy, with all this crap swimming through me. Slight tinge of nausea, but not much to speak of. Aches and pains, which may be related to the flu shot, plus a little residual back pain from the unwelcome gate crasher in my lower back. The onc says the back pain may start going away by the end of the week as the platinum does its stuff. Here's hoping!

The sinister-in-law came by to make dinner, and now I think it's off to a drug-induced sleep, courtesy of Ativan/lorazepam. Tomorrow is another day! (of chemo)


JDBob said...

What would a day be without suprises!!!! (New schedule--- New drugs--- The Rev getting up & going strong before 8 am, etc) Sounds like you both did well for the day!!! and Frank finishing it in a way I surely approve of---taking a nap!!!!

SueBec said...

So here's what I am wondering... does the chemo room have wireless? Cause if it did you could blog... surf...etc. Maybe that is something you can advocate for...

Anonymous said...

Wow!! What an exciting day. Glad to see "the daughter" could handle the ear-li-e (sic) call. I second the wireless in the chemo room. If they have a connection I have a 802.11b Dlink router that I would loan them..HA!! Keep on keepin on......jke

Andrew Molenda said...

Good luck on week #1 - Get ready for food to start tasting like sh*t by the weekend and more Nausea.

Listen to them about the water, it is really important.

Watch for signs of Neuropathy - tingling/burning in your hands/feet. They have medicine that will mute the pain.

Just remember you'll be 1/3 of the way done after this week!

Lola Pocadot said...

Good luck on chemo