Halfway Done!

Yesterday, I completed my second round of chemo – and officially passed the halfway mark!

My mom asked to accompany me this time and since you can only have one person in the treatment area, that meant that Bri couldn’t come along as well.  I think he was a little upset that he couldn’t be there with me, but only because he feels so helpless throughout all of this.  It must be noted, that Bri is doing an amazing job taking care of me and I honestly thought he might like a little reprieve from all the demands of being the primary caregiver.

So, my parents drove down from Jersey Wednesday night and we enjoyed a quiet lil evening at our house.  Maxwell came too, so Jessie had a friend to play with!  I packed my chemo bag – blanket, iPod, book, 3 magazines, sugar-free Werther’s, dry cereal, and a note to pack some apple slices in the morning.  I had been craving protein and Mexican, so we made turkey tacos for dinner -YUM!  My taste buds were not completely back to normal, but things were starting to taste a lot better – especially the sangria and glass of wine that I had on Monday!

Once again, I couldn’t sleep the night before treatment.  I was not nervous, so I am now convinced it really is due to the steroid that I’m on.  I woke up early, walked Jessie, made my vegetable juice, and got ready.  And then we were off to Christiana.  First up was blood work again.  No problem there.  And I didn’t cry in the waiting room this time.  Woo hoo, I’m improving.  After my blood work, we met with Dr. Biggs and discussed some of my side effects from the first treatment (all normal by the way).  But overall, I felt fantastic and he seemed pleased as well. My blood counts were good and actually my white blood counts were higher this time around (probably from the steroid).  My blood pressure was also good 117/69.  I was really nervous that it would jump since I’ve been salting my food and exercising less.

By 10:00 AM, we were back in the treatment room.  A nurse greeted us and told me she was going to order my cocktail to have it mixed up.  Soon, after my IV was started: first the Benadryl and then the anti-nausea medicine.  When that was done, I had 15 minutes of a saline solution.  Everything seemed fine and then they started the Taxotere.  I had no problems with this last time, so I wasn’t expecting any issues this time around.  About 10 minutes into the treatment, my chest felt heavy and I was having trouble breathing.  It was quite scary.  My mom flagged a nurse down and of course the dam opened and I started crying.  I hate this whole process, but I hate that I’m such a baby.  The nurse stopped the Taxotere and found Dr. Biggs.  Don’t get too worried, I was warned that this could be a possible side effect from the Taxotere.  Since, I had my mom to drive me home, Dr. Biggs prescribed more Benadryl and a dose of the Dexamethasone (the steroid) into my IV.  After that, I would also need to be flushed with the saline solution for 30 minutes.  Ugh.  The steroid burned so bad going into my IV in my wrist, so I squeezed my mom’s hand and cried some more.  The feeling passed after about 2 minutes.  After the saline solution, the nurse slowly started the Taxotere again.  And I was so sleepy from the Benadryl that I was actually able to get in a little nap.  I woke up right when they were switching me over to the Cytoxan – no problems there.

My mom did great as my caregiver – must be the nurse in her.  She was so diligent about following every step and asking the nurses what they were doing/giving me.  Ah, there is a funny story though.  Since I chose not to have a port, I make sure I drink lots and lots of water before each treatment.  The water along with all the fluids that are being pumped into me make me have to use the restroom (a lot).  My mom insisted on helping me drag my IV pole to the bathroom and waiting outside in case I had any problems.  She insisted that I not lock the door.  Well, the 1st restroom visit was interesting.  Sorry if this is too much info, but it’s kind of funny.  As I was going about my business, my mom opens the door slightly and says “Lex, are you ok?”  “Yes, mom.”  She proceeded to open the door a lil further and said, “What, Lex?”   “Mom, shut the door.”  Then she majorly opened the door while I’m just sitting there because she couldn’t hear me.  “Mom, OMG.  Shut the frigging door!!!”  I’m not sure if the other patients saw me in my moment, but they definitely heard me.  Needless to say, on the 2nd bathroom visit, I told her that under no circumstances was she allowed to open the door.  There is a call button in the bathroom, so if I needed anything I would use that.

It was another long day – totaling about 5 hours – 9:20 AM appointment and we didn’t leave until 2:30 PM.  When I got home, I parked my butt on the couch and settled in with some naps and Law & Order reruns (I love that show)!  I could feel my taste buds starting to switch back to that nasty chalkiness taste, ugh!  I was hungry, but not really interested in food.

Friday:  Today, I feel great.  I am trying to take it easy.  I went to bed late (for me) and woke up early.  Again, probably all this jitteriness can be attributed to the steroid.  I walked Jessie 1 mile and then ran a few errands – despite the cold, it does feel good to see the sun!  I’m not enjoying food, but forcing myself to eat healthy things.  I made my veggie juice in the morning and followed that with a bowl of plain shredded wheat and blueberries.  I’m scared of getting constipated (a problem from last time) and so I’m upping my fiber intake.  Sorry again for too much info, but this is my life and it’s what I’m dealing with.  For lunch, I had a big salad loaded with veggies.  I’m praying I can enjoy our weekly ritual of pizza party Friday.  I even went out and bought some more smoked mozzarella and pecorino romano in hopes that these strong flavors will help!

Next up on the list for today – gonna relax for an hour or so before I have to leave to pick up Sassy!

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4 Responses to Halfway Done!

  1. Milinda R. Atallian says:

    Your a totally hot bald, brave, chic. Hang in there, your doing such a good job. Keep allowing those that love you, to care for you.
    Soon enough, you can repay the favors… right now… let them do it, it will help both you and them.
    Hang tough, keep moving forward.
    :0)
    Milinda

    • Thanks Milinda! I am so grateful for all the wonderful people and caregivers in my life. I saw some patients in the chemo treatment area that were flying solo & I couldn’t begin to imagine being there by myself.

  2. amyreinink says:

    “I hate this whole process, but I hate that I’m such a baby.” Crying doesn’t make you a baby—you need a way to process all the scary, painful stuff happening, and that’s just your way of doing so. Brave isn’t a matter of crying or not, but of keeping going when all you want to do is stop. You’re brave and amazing, and the fact that you have people fighting over who “gets” to accompany you to chemo says a lot about the kind of wife, daughter and friend you are!

  3. Courtney says:

    the story about your mom and the bathroom door just made me laugh. to her, there probably isn’t TOO much difference between that situation and when you were 3 or 4 years old 🙂

    i agree with Amy… and the thing that popped into my head was “it’s my party, i can cry if I want to…” the second part applies too “you would cry too if it happened to you”

    congrats on being 1/2 way finished

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