Adriamycin, Ativan, breast cancer, cancer, Cancer Kitten, Cathy Kenney, chemo, chemotherapy, cytoxan, Dana Farber, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, DFCI, Faulkner Hospital, IV, oncologist, Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma
I wore pigtails because I didn’t have much time to get ready Thursday morning, and I wanted to show my hair that I appreciate it. A ponytail seemed too simple to prove this fact. Also, I was drinking water like a fish that day-I had started a UTI the day before- so all of my trips to the bathroom (and therefore views of my pig-tailed self in the bathroom mirror) reminded me that I am still young and have a lot of life ahead of me.
When I arrived at Dana Farber, a nurse took my vitals, height and weight, then sent me to have an IV placed in my arm. The infusion nurse, Peggy, was confident and kind. While working on my arm, she eyed my pigtails and told me all about side effects of the medications, including hair loss. I reassured her that I am cutting my hair and donating it, I am waiting until the very last minute to do so. She took my height and weight again, just to be certain that I received the correct chemo dosage. Then I was sent back out to the waiting room only to be whisked away to see Dr. Parker. After a brief conversation with him, I headed to the infusion room with Mom and Mooie in tow.
This is a really pretty picture of me waiting for my blood test results. Mom didn’t tell me when she was snapping pictures, I just learned it happened when I heard the pretend camera shutter sound of her iphone. I had an IV in, and it was bothering me a bit so the nurse covered it up with a warm towel. Out of sight, out of mind. It works for kids and dogs, right?
Once my bloodwork came back fine, Peggy gave me three oral doses of a steroid to help with nausea, and Ativan to help me relax. Then she infused me with two other relatively new anti-nausea medications that took about 45 minutes. Then Peggy got dressed in a space-invader-type gown and got ready to administer the big guns. A second nurse came in to review the medications and ask me questions. They need to double-triple-quadruple check that they give the correct patient the correct medication.
I believe Dr. Parker stopped in to check on me at this point. He offered words of encouragement, and answered a few of my questions. I finally asked him what stage cancer I have, and he said a Stage 1, as I figured. Really great, hopeful news.
This red stuff is the Adriamycin. It can cause damage to veins and skin, so Peggy slowly administered it and watched my vein as she pushed the plunger. I didn’t have any problem with it, thankfully.
Apparently that is the stuff that will cause my hair to fall out in a couple of weeks. I think I am finally cutting my hair off Friday and picking up my wig.
The Cytoxan administration was pretty simple. Just a drip that lasted for about an hour, and then we were done. I felt a bit woozy between the anti-nausea meds and the Ativan, which made the car ride back to my Aunt and Mom’s place all the more entertaining. We asked Siri juvenile questions, she responded, we laughed until we cried at times.
Today (Friday) I feel sick but like I can function. My appetite is alright. I feel hungry but nothing is all that appealing, so I am laying here trying to figure out what to shove down my pie hole. I don’t have a metallic taste in my mouth. Everything still tastes OK to me. Apparently, I will need to be careful with my exposure to germs at about 7-10 days after treatment, as my WBCs, platelets and RBCs will be at their lowest. This state is commonly referred to as the “Nader” point. To me, it should be the nadir, but what do my English professors know about cancer? (I looked this up – nadir is correct. Perhaps the medical field just needs to feel special).
I am about halfway through this entire process now. Three more chemo treatments, six weeks of radiation, and hopefully I am finished by February 2013. That’s just nine months of cancer. Maybe this will make pregnancy seem easy (but I doubt it). I hope to leave Boston Sunday and stay in Steamboat until either my final chemo right around Thanksgiving, or even beyond that, sometime into December when I begine radiation. I will probably have radiation in Boston, as I have to travel well over an hour each way to Vail if I want to have radiation in Colorado, and that will be in the middle of winter.
I just want to be home to take care of my animals, ride my beutiful Ben and to actually feel like I am building a home and a life with Bing. We have a lot of love to catch up on.