My friend Lesley took me to my first chemo. It took forever for the pre-party to finish. The pre-party consists of them accessing your port, waiting for blood results to make sure you are fit for chemo, then drips of 2 anti-nausea meds, a bag of roids and a bag of Ativan which is an anti-anxiety. I had to ask for this one, which I found annoying because I made my desire for anti-anxieties very clear. This whole thing took at least 2.5 hours. Then they pushed the red devil and then Cytoxten. I read somewhere to eat frozen grapes during infusion to avoid mouth sores. Now I hate grapes. The thought of a grape is vomit inducing.
Afterward at home; too tired even move my lips. Like Jello descended on my bed. Things taste wrong. No appetite. Stomach in knots. Scared it’s already in my system and there are no take backs.
Cotton mouth like you wouldn’t believe. Can barely eat a bagel and cream cheese. No available working saliva to aid in this situation. My tastebuds are already wrecked. I am on a lot of meds to help avoid nausea. They are working, but I still have that low-level hangover feeling that unfortunately will not go away with a good vom-sesh. Did I mention all the pre-meds constipate you? We are still waiting on a clearing of the bowels…
I feel best when I am asleep. So far no fevers.
Also on day 2 I had to go back to the cancer center for IV hydration therapy and the Neulasta shot. Hydration therapy is just being hooked up via your port to a standard Sodium Chloride bag of fluids. This, and most chemos, are terribly dehydrating. I have been drinking a lot of water, but getting the internal bolus helps a lot.
The Neulasta shot- WHOOOAA Bessie. I know from experience Uno that it is simply fucking terrible. The shot itself, who cares. It is the effects. Its job is to rapidly produce the white blood cells chemo robs you of. The drug heads to the nearest, largest bones, finds the marrow and starts throwing a Studio 54 party of cell production that hurts like a MFer. I got my shot in my upper arm so my sternum and ribs will take the blow. It is like growing pains x1000. I asked my onc if I could not do the shot, and just wait and see if I need it at my next blood draw. I got a hard no.
I am anticipating a bad night. I hope I am wrong.
Days 3 & 4
Day 3 had some decent moments. I went to 2 labs to get cardiac markers drawn. They were both so busy. At the second I pulled the cancer card and simply said, I had chemo 2 days ago and am not doing well, please help me. They did. I was able to eat some soup and even a piece of pizza.
Woke up today, day 4 and I feel the worst I’ve felt. Nausea to the point where the idea of someone gently sitting on the bed is terrifying. I’ve been to the bathroom and that’s it. Sitting on the toilet shaking and wondering how I will get back to the bed.
My face has started to swell from the steroids. It is also red like a light sunburn. My ribs hurt when I take a deep breath from the Neulasta shot. Headaches, foggy brain.
If I could have one wish, it would be to sleep through this whole thing. No one should have to be conscious for this. What’s the point? I would pay out of pocket for someone to place me in a sleep-like state and keep me there.
I realize this post will be horrifying, but I know many are waiting to hear how I am and I can’t lie. I hope to feel decent in a few more days. It’s hard to imagine, but docs and friends who have been through this claim it will happen.
On my behalf, I challenge you to use your able minds and bodies to deliver kindness to others. In any form you can. Just make someone else smile today.