1 down, 7 to go
Posted by wendy on 2011/01/28
I need to write about this or I’ll forget–I’m already hazy on the detail of my treatment yesterday. I don’t think it’s chemo-brain setting in, because I usually can’t remember what I had for lunch. The memory has never been stellar.
Dr S. said the treatment would last around two hours–all told, I was in the clinic 3 solid hours. That’s a fair chunk, but not nearly as much as I was expecting, so yay.
Before I left the house, I used the numbing cream they gave me. I put a dab on my finger–about half of what I’d use on my toothbrush if it had been toothpaste–then, I smeared it on all around my port (I forgot to get pictures–I’ll do that next time. Oh future frantic googler, I am trying to get as many pictures here as I can, because fear of the unknown is the pits.). I did not rub it in–it didn’t seem to want to anyhow. I thought I was doing it wrong–and seriously, that’s the one thing I did not want to fail at today, because this was my first port access, and I was nervous enough as it was. Once it was smeared around, I tore off a piece of cling film and stuck it on my skin over the top of it (it’s to keep it from rubbing off on the way to the clinic–not very fancy, but very effective).
Clearview Cancer Institute is full of amazing, caring people. Some are survivors themselves–and getting to know them has been such a pleasure. So, there’s always greetings and smiles and jokes at the door when I arrive (and everyone loved my new hairdo, so that was fun). New hair, you say? Well, honestly, why not at this point, eh? (all credit to M for the color choice–Smart British Boy!)
I had to get my blood pressure taken/weight (down 1lb! eek.)/etc, but the momentous bit was getting blood drawn because they used my port. OH MY GOD I LOVE MY PORT. I LOVE IT. Once day, I will write a sonnet to my port, and I will call it “Ode to My Port’. There was no pain–I felt a tiny little…pinch? sting? No, not that bad. A twinge, maybe. That was it. No needles in my arm, no tears. Wanna see my port all ready for use? OF COURSE YOU DO. That’s why M took a picture of it. I really need to paint little hearts and flowers all around it to let it know how much I love it and how sorry I am I ever doubted. heh.
When it’s not being accessed, my chemo port looks like a little disk under my skin. When it’s being accessed for use, my chemo port looks like a little yellow butterfly on my chest. A butterfly with a really long tail. M and I were trying to figure out how to get a picture of me holding the tip up to my mouth so I could make a silly vampire cannibal joke, but before we got the chance, the nurse came in with my meds and tossed a metric assload of information at me about everything that was about to happen. And, here’s where it gets a bit fuzzy, because there is so much they give you. The best thing I remember is how non-scary it was. They’ve got chairs and recliners all over the room for patients to sit in, blankets if you’re cold–and I had the added bonus of listening to M and A banter back and forth, which made both me and the nurse laugh at how silly boys are.
I don’t know what to call the little “tail” bit of my port-a-cath. Hang on, I’ll go find out–oh hell, no I won’t–I’ll just get a better picture next time, because I like calling it the tail (OF THE BUTTERFLY–what?). So, the tail has those little fiddly bits on the end for hooking up IV’s or shooting directly from a syringe. I was surprised that a great deal of my meds were giving to me via a timed injection with the syringe, rather than through an IV. I was given antibiotics and saline and a steriod and nausea meds and the two biggies, Cytoxan and Adriamycin (looked like a huge syringe of red kool-aid, heh). The saline injections were weird, because I immediately smelled and tasted them. They didn’t smell of salt water, though–it was more medicinal. No pleasant by any means, but not bad. It was, all in all–pretty pleasant. Nothing hurt, nothing was overwhelming, I had M next to me holding my hand for the majority of it, A spent his time entertaining pretty much anyone who was there to listen. I have such amazing men in my life. I hope they both know how much I appreciate them.
The nurse warned me that Cytoxan can turn your urine red or orange–which is a good thing, because the first time I used the toilet after my injection, there may have been a bit of panic.
All in all, the first treatment is really, really easy. In a scary way, because now I’m all “ooo..that was okay, I can do this.”, and I know that the effects will eventually catch up with me, and there will be moments in which I think “Oh, hey. I can’t do this.”–but I will. And I will hopefully be stronger for the experience. I know I will be back in the happy little low-risk-of recurrence demographic, and that alone will make all of this worth it.