Chemotherapy Day. This morning I felt like I was getting married or something…..or starting a new chemo regimen. I had a bag packed with something old (my 2 year old running shoes), something new (comfy outfit from my friend Staci and her mom Elaine), something borrowed and blue (Boo sent her blue Ugly Doll Ket)….I made sure Ket was in a few photos:
I was supposed to show up at 8:30am. When we got there my FIL Barry showed up….he had just finished his morning rounds at the hospital. He absorbs all the information and asks the right questions and I know he’s looking out for me.
We went over my scans from last week again and the risks of the treatment with Dr. L. The decision was to get through a few rounds of the EMA-CO regimen and then do some more scans to look at my liver again to see if anything happens to the tumor there. No one wants to biopsy it….the risks outweigh the benefits and if anything were to go wrong it would affect the current treatment. Dr. R, my gynecological oncologist from Loma Linda, called and gave his blessing.
So Day 1 of EMA-CO was:
E – Etoposide (small bag): This drug attacks cells during various stages of division. Maybe that’s why it makes you lose your hair?
M – Methotrexate (huge bag): I was a little shocked at first at the huge bag of Methotrexate I was given. The dosage was FOUR times what I have been getting the last 8 weeks. This drug keeps cancer cells from dividing.
A – Actinomycin-D (by injection into IV): Dr. L had to special order this because it isn’t used often. It’s an anti-tumor antibiotic.
Each drug was given one at a time and before they started I was hydrated well and given nausea medicines by IV. They had a hard time getting blood from my finger first thing. I have really long skinny fingers and they just kept turning purple all day. They might put in a port soon but for now the IV is working and I asked them to take it out when I left knowing they’d still have to put it back tomorrow. I just wanted to be free of it all and walk out the door with no contraptions. They’ll find a vein somewhere….
“HOW are you going to fit THAT inside of me?”
I’ll be honest that it bothered me a little that the word “TOXIC” was written all over this huge bag of neon yellow liquid slowly dripping into my body….no turning back now!
Gale brought me some food from Cheesecake Factory and I ate as much as I could. Barry came to check on me too.
7+ hours total of chemotherapy today. After about 6 hours my brain felt cloudy. I could smell the toxicity coming out of my pores. I finally got home around 6pm. I was able to eat a little dinner but mainly my joints hurt and my leg muscles don’t feel like they work quite right. I’ve got a massive headache too and I’m just trying to stay hydrated. Brett says I sound drunk when I talk…..I feel out of it…really foggy…..I guess that’s what they call “chemo brain.” I only speak in 3 word sentences.
The most important thing about Methotrexate is remembering to take my Leucovorin in the morning right on time. Leucovorin decreases the bad side effects. I joked “Dr L. said if I don’t take it right on time I will DIE.” The nurses didn’t even crack a smile and said “he’s right, you WILL die if you don’t take it.” They win….way to scare the patient in to following orders! I have every alarm set on my phone since I can’t even remember how old I am or what the year is. Brett went to pick up the prescription at the pharmacy tonight and they said they didn’t have it available. Brett: Really? That’s the one thing she’ll need or she’ll die. So, they called every Walgreens in town and figured it out after talking to the doctor’s office that they could use smaller doses and I would just take more.
I think the hardest part of the day was hearing from no less than 10 people: you are TOO young to be in here. And there were the sad smiles when I gave any details of why I was there. I just tried to reassure them that it was okay. As Dr. R says: we are bringing in the “bazooka” now. Yahoo.
We must not wish for the disappearance of our troubles but for the grace to transform them.