First of all, I have been waiting to use this blog post title for over 2 months. Feeling super-awesome to know the time has come.
I was probably at my most nervous walking through the doors. When I got to the check-in desk, I just started to sob uncontrollably. So much so that my mom had to give them my name and birthdate.
Next, we waited outside and shot the shit for a few minutes waiting to be called in.
Called in- sobbing again.
Get vitals taken and am brought back to my lovely private room (not sarcasm, serious). We are greeted by our cool and competent nurse Anisha who ‘accesses my port.’ I was prepared for this by globbing on topical lidocaine 2 hours before the appointment and wrapping that part of my arm in Saran Wrap.
We were then visited by Dr. Wade, my oncologist, as Anisha got me started on the pre-drips of anti-nausea drugs and anti-anxiety drugs. Dr. Wade seemed to love my kooky new hairstyle and reassured me that this will be fine. She gives a great hug.
After about 2 hours of prep and pre-meds, it was time to start Taxotere, chemo drug #1. I was prepared for immediate possible reactions (of which I had none, thank goodness), then Anisha put on her hazmat dress and gloves and she hung the drip.
Many, many tears followed.
I felt afraid, pissed, alone, yet terribly well-loved at the same time. Nothing physical changed during the hour. I just cried real tears as my mom rubbed my back and my support team comforted me.
I can’t stress enough that I had the right team. My mother was my doula. My sister, my unwavering support and killer administrative instincts. My husband, poor Joe, I think he needed his own support team.
After an hour on Taxotere, I was switched-hazmat style-to 30 minutes of Cytoxan. This is the drug for which they recommended chewing ice chips for the first five minutes, to avoid mouth sores. Awesome!
5 hours, all in, and that was a wrap to Chemo Day #1. Overall, not that bad. I was kept comforted, entertained, supported, loved and safe. All I could ever ask for.
I slept at my mom’s house in her magic bed and slept quite well, at that. Today (the day after), I feel pretty fine. My hands are shaky, my mouth is dry, my belly is a little crampy but nothing I can’t deal with.
Now I wait and see what each subsequent day brings. So far I’m feeling confident.
I head back in in a few hours for a Neulasta shot meant to bolster my white blood cells. Some say it’s uneventful, others say it causes extreme bone pain. Let’s go with the former, shall we?
Thank you all for your positive vibes, great wishes and prayers. So far they seem to be working.
Grancer loves you.
Again, a very special shout out to my homegirl Katie Gierke for so beautifully photographing my cancer odyssey. Check out her website. She takes the BEST family photos (or cancer photos– whatevs you’re into). www.kathrynhastings.com