Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Slash/poison/burn: Poison Cycle 1, Day I

The above is the unholy trinity of cancer treatment. The slash section is over and now on to the posions. Currently Steve is on the phone trying to add my name to the system. I was put on his plan Friday but they take their sweet time putting me into their computer. If it doesn't get added, they won't give me my drugs. Seems really unfair to do this to someone in need. The neulasta I don't need until tomorrow but the Emend, Aloki, Prilosec, steroid and some other drug, I need today. So chemo was finished just 45 minutes ago. Except for a headache, which I hope Ibuprofen will fix, and some spaciness, I am not yet miserable. This morning was spent with the oncologist discussing my test results and what is going to happen. She is very positive, maybe trying to minimize the 'nocebo' effect. My heart function was fine as is most of my blood work. Some liver enzymes were slightly off. My TSH was low, indicating possible hyperthyroidism but my T4 was low too indicating hypothyroidism so go figure. I have had lower TSH numbers than those so I will stick with my current dosing. They measured my FSH, an indicator of menopause status. During a young woman's cycle, this number varies from 0 to 1.2 depending if she's ovulating. Mine was 45.5 which I guess puts me into supermenopause. Why the body still makes this useless hormone, I don't know. It is associated with hot flashes.I was told I still needed to schedule another mammogram. When I asked the scheduler person, she asked when I wanted it, I said sometime around now. She told me I needed to give her 6 months lead time, blah, blah, blah. I will get it Dec 30.

Steve and I stopped for a snack. A man who saw us leave the cancer area asked which one of us had cancer. Me. I guess most people would guess Steve as he is so thin, pale and has some skin lesions. I certainly don't look like I am wasting away, am quite pink and tan, and have nice skin. Lots of this will change. He then told me his whole prostate story-no chemo as it was caught early but he still has trouble in the bedroom. Good to know.

We waited an hour past the appointment time in the infusion waiting area. Very sad faces and bald heads. Some people were on oxygen. No one looked like they had run 5 miles recently. Too many kids with cancer.

To keep up our spirits, they have the Mennonite choir ladies in their old world clothes sing. The hot drink lady goes by on a regular basis to make sure we are hydrated. I was told I could get a free massage and various other therapies.

The infusion room is a semi-circular room with many windows facing the Cedar Bend Hills. Very pretty. My chemo partner was Doris, in for her 61st treatment (I will have 8 total). She has melanoma that started on her scalp and now is in her liver. She's now on Taxol, which I though was only for breast patients. It doesn't bother her except to make her muscles sore. She is more concerned with her husband's bad heart than her prognosis. The Taxol has stopped the tumor from growing but it isn't disappearing. The door to the kids' infusion room was right next to my berth-lots of crying. Kids with cancer. It doesn't get unfairer than that.

The education lady came in teaching Steve how to give me the Neulasta injection practicing on soft rub pad made to look like stomach fat, which is where they recommend sticking me. Ew. They gave me about a half-hour of pre-treatment drugs, then it was time for the Red Devil, which they do as slowly as possible by syringe to make sure I don't react. Meanwhile the education lady tried to divert my attention from the poison by quizzing me on what-ifs and hygiene rules. I did look once to see this awful stuff go in me, it burned a little at first but then I really didn't feel anything different. It was just creepy knowing that it will change my life. It got into my urine very quickly as now it is red too. The Cytoxan drip took an hour but I didn't feel much. It might cause bladder spasms but so far, none of those.

Hopefully this will be as bad as it gets-which is basically nothing other than feeling spacy. Thank-you all for the e-mails. It does make my day brighter.

1 comment:

S. F. Heron said...

Sue, drink ALOT of water - like more than 80 ounces and flush your system. This is something you want to do every day. You'll hydrate your skin and flush toxins out of your body. Your skin might get dry from chemo so moisturize.

I sleep through most of my treatments, at least for part of them. I don't know why, I guess I work myself up to such a state of upset that I conk out when I get there. My nurse is great and very gentle in the fusion ward.

Please ask them to move you away from the children's ward. I know that is heartless but you really don't need any more on your plate. And ask them to place you in a private area if possible. I have chosen to not have chemo with my oncologist because there isn't a private fusion room. I'm sorry, it's selfish but I can't hear any more cancer stories face to face. I'm living it here (minus you wonderful ladies on the net, of course).

Protect your heart, protect your head.

Please pop onto my blog and leave a note or drop me an e-mail at maui6347@aol.com if you have any questions or need anything.



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