Let's Get This Party Started!

Nurse Lorraine
Today was the big day-my first chemo treatment-and boy was it a long one! We had to check in at 9:00 a.m. at the Cancer Partnership in Everett, and we were pretty amped up to get going. The infusion area there is very nice and very comfortable. The nurses are all over the top kind and crazy attentive. My personal assigned nurse was Lorraine, and she was nothing short of Fabulous with a capital "F"! Right from the get-go she explained everything in great detail. She asked me a ton of questions and answered a ton of mine, and it was all very reassuring. It's all about confidence in your caregivers people, at least for me.

My mom, Gail, and my aunt, Diane

First off, you have to imagine my "entourage" walking into this place. It was me, Jeff, Mandi, Jeff's dad Howard, my mom Gail, and my aunt Diane. Jeff surprised me this morning and shaved his head which was totally unnecessary but very sweet. Of course his hair will be grown back by the time I lose mine in a couple of weeks, but sweet of him nonetheless.

Mandi giving Jeff some of her hair to cover his shaved head.
So my entourage and I get settled and the festivities begin. They are extremely pro-active in treating nausea so the very first medication they give is for anti-nausea. That takes about half an hour through the IV which goes directly into my port. The next step for me was the Taxotere infusion. This one can have some initial infusion reactions so they start off with a slower than normal drip to see how it's tolerated. If it goes well, they increase it after about a half hour. Total time on this one was supposed to be about an hour and twenty minutes. I tolerated it well the first half hour and they increased it. Then of course I had a reaction. I started feeling really nauseous and wasn't able to shake it through the entire infusion.  They did slow it down again and watched my vitals pretty close to make sure I was ok.  I didn't vomit at all, it just wasn't pleasant.  Like I said, they are very careful with nausea so they adjusted my at home medication regimen and before giving me my next drug, I got another dose of anti-nausea meds. Right about this time my friend Kyla stopped by and brought me some iced tea and the movie Pretty Woman. Love it!  I was a little out of it at the time but it was so great that she came to visit.  Thank you my lovely friend!
Kyla and I

So the next drug to be given was Cytoxin. This one was supposed to be less harsh and only takes about 40 minutes to infuse. By that time they moved us to a semi private room (I think my group was a tad overwhelming). Here's the line of the day (which gives you an idea of the banter going back and forth).  Picture Mandi getting her flu shot and Howard says "suck it up Mandi".  Not to be outdone,  Mandi cleverly responds "Grandpa I'll suck it up, if you suck it in!". A true Hagen...Jeff was so proud (and so was Grandpa). So anyway, we're in our private room and very comfy. The cytoxin went off without a hitch and we were free to go. Woo hoo! One down three to go. We were there for about five hours and ready to get home.

But oh nooooo, the story doesn't end there. We're driving home and are just about over the trestle and Jeff mentions "I'm having some issues with my throat and my chest feels tight". Seriously? This was alarming because like Mandi, Jeff too had a flu shot. Can anyone say anaphylactic reaction? Yep. We dropped Mandi at home and I got Jeff two Benadryl and we headed back towards the hospital. On the way we were able to get through to our doctor's office and they got him in right away. By then the Benadryl started to kick in and we were fortunate to avoid a trip to the ER. The doctor gave Jeff some Prednisone and our day was done. We were wiped.

As the evening is winding down I feel pretty good. Nothing too concerning going on, just tired and a little tummy discomfort, but stuff to be expected. Tomorrow I get a shot of Neulasta which stimulates white blood cell growth and has been known to cause bone pain.  Let's hope I don't experience that little treat of a side effect. 
Good night all.  Go team Honey Badger!!!!!

Getting ready!

Whatcha doin' Lorraine?
Here we go!  First drug being infused!

Nice and comfy in our private room.

1 comment:

  1. Go Honey Badgers! Get in there & tear those little cancer cells to shreds!