Thursday, August 11, 2011

Round 2 Chemotheraphy--The Experience

8:32 p.m.

Great day with family at chemo, but now, I feel like shit.

My day started off well and in routine fashion; made a glass of green tea, fed the dog, brewed coffee for baby who was still asleep, and pretty much just chilled out in those early hours of this Thursday morning. I switched between watching the news and listening to music, and returning messages on Facebook and via email. It wasn't until I decided to prepare breakfast that that I began to experience nausea, which I learned in my cancer research is called anticipatory nausea. Right in the pit of my stomach was that feeling that reminded me if I wasn't careful, I would lose my entire stomach contents, a la Linda Blair in the Excorcist. Right away, I popped a Zofran, an anti-nausea pill prescribed to me for these reasons exactly. The pill settled my stomach and I was finally able to eat a full breakfast. Whew!

At the doctors office, I was called right away and sensed a "flat" energy from my doctor and his staff. I was forty minutes late for my 11am appointment, and didn't realize it till I got there, and I thought maybe they were a little miffed at me. I sat in my chair in the waiting area, waiting to be called in, when just then, my eyes locked with a woman's sitting in front of me. It was Johanne, the woman who was also getting infused with me two weeks ago. She was there for a check-up on her white blood count, and finally to get an order for a CAT Scan which will determine if she's cancer free or will need to continue treatment. That is a precarious position to be in, that one day, I too will have to face. It seemed I was entering the door of cancer freely, and I could tell by her eyes, that she wanted to bust of of the door in the other end. There was so much fear and angst written across Johanne's face. I felt happy for her in a way, but also joined her in her moments of terror that is caused when you have completed 10 months of chemotherapy, only to be told you still have cancer. Man! The most I could do is show her a symbol of crossed fingers, wish her the best, and whispered to her "you're a fighter." I truly hope Johanne's scan comes up clear.

My little chit-chat with Johanne was interrupted by my name being called by the lab assistant for my bi-weekly blood draw. My White Blood Cell's are still holding up--good. I then got ushered into an examination room, where my doctor performed a quick exam. It seems the 'flat" mood I felt earlier had melted away, and I wondered if I was just projecting that mood out of a slight increase of my own anxiety and anticipation of doing chemo. In what seemed like a flash, the nurse cane in when I was talking with the doctor and began hooking me up. I was so unprepared. Getting me set-up was awkward. I pulled away a couple of times as the needle came towards my port. I winced when I got pinched with the needle, but lied to the nurse when I told her I didn't feel a thing. Everything was moving so quickly and at that point I really just needed to see my partners face who had been sitting in the waiting area. I began growing increasingly anxious throughout the set-up and explanation about the fact that I was being introduced to Decadron, a steroid that has properties that was proposed help keep the severe chills to a minimum.

When the nurse escorted me and my IV pump to the infusion room, there was already a (very little) lady getting infused, sitting in a chair that looked like it was swallowing her. The nurse introduced myself and Irene (not her real name here), but she was not as conversational as Johanne. Actually, she was looking like an old pro, reading a book and in her zone. Meanwhile, I was so tense and anxious, I couldn't sit in the plush chair comfortably enough. When my nurse came in to administer the chemo, she noticed I wasn't very comfortable and reminded me to relax. She also said the fist time around wasn't as bad, and now I was just reacting and anticipating getting severe chills again. She was right. As soon as my partner entered the room, with my dad (along with his suitcase-fiull of goodies) and my sister Sandra, whose first time it was observing my chemp experience, I felt so much better. Irene's treatment was finished so we had the small infusion room to ourself, and we certainly spread out!

Nurse HOPE, hooking me up.

IV bags and medication waiting to be given to me.

The chemo medication, Adriamycin being slowly "pushed" into my IV line.

The infusion itself was pretty mundane and it was noted that I was being given more Normal Saline to hydrate me than before. The nurse who's named HOPE, infused me will all four medications, only after receiving two bags on anti-nausea IV medication and ending with the same. For the most part, things went well and we all laughed and joked along the way. I even mananged to dose off during the movie selection on my laptop (Evita), but I was wide awake when I showed my dad the docu-series, Blacks in Latin America when we viewed the Haiti/Dominican Republic installment.

Fun times with family. My dad showing his bald head. :)

Me opening of box of delicious Haitian Patties given by my dad, like it was christmastime. :)

Me and dad.

Towards the end of receiving so many bags of fluid, i made a quick trip to the bathroom, when just then, I started to feel chills running throughout my body. Once back in the infusion room, everyone could see what was happening to me, and there came the four blankets, the Nurse, and the look of concerned and loving family. Though I did get chills, they didn't last as long (about 10 minutes) this time, or were as severe.

My treatment was about over, the nurse took my temperature and noticed my temp was rising. She gave me Tylenol, and we were free (and well enough) to go home. Once I got home, I felt so fatigued and nauseas that I could barely make it from one room to the next. I took some anti-nausea medication and brewed some ginger tea. I tried laying down, and that seemed to make the nausea increase. It was a real challenge trying to get into a comfortable position on the sofa in the living room, so i slowly moved to the bedroom while my partner prepared some dinner. It took every ounce of energy in me to make it to the bedroom, but i made it, and all I could do was sleep for a few hours.

Despite feeling fatigue and nausea, I'm glad I got number 2 chemo out of the way. It brings me that much closer to healing! The battle against C rages on in 2 weeks, with chemo treatment #3! I'm a FIGHTER!

Couldn't imagine going through this cancer battle without my loving and wonderful partner k.

1 comment:

Salman Saem Khan said...

Well done brother,Keep it Up!!!