I'm in the chemo room of California Cancer Center, getting ready for the next round. This will be 7 of 8 for the total treatment cycle and 3 of 4 for the Taxol. I'm gonna try to blog as it happens, tho I'm behind already. Technical difficulties with the iPad may get in the way - or I may fall asleep midway - but we'll give it the old college try.
Here's what's happened so far:
- in the chemo room, I chose a lounge chair with a great view of the outside. Tim, my registered nurse for the day found a vein, injected a little lidocaine and inserted the catheter, getting good blood flow return. He drew a CBC, hung a tiny bag of normal saline fluid and went to get the lab run.
Lab work is good to go...which means my hemoglobin and white counts are high enough to give me the Taxol. Now, Tim is here with the first of the IV pre-meds: Benedryl 25 mg and Zantac. The Benedryl is to prevent a possible hypersensitivity reaction, which Taxol occasionally causes. The Zantac is for nausea...also a possible side effect, though much less of an issue with Taxol than with the Adriamycin/Cytoxan cycles. This runs for about 20 minutes...the Benedryl is the one that may send me to nap time.
Last week was a tired one, with lots of dizzy/wobbly spells. Today I feel better again...eating well, no dizziness (other than my usual strange self) and feeling energetic. Started my prep for this round with dexamethasone yesterday and will get more IV today. Pretty much makes me "up" and wired.
Jim is here, making his Blackberry smoke. Once again, he's re-arranged his schedule to sit with me for these 4 hours. At the hospital, it's budget season and Jim is up to his eyebrows in getting the operating and capitol budgets done. And, it's time to get ready for year-end close, followed by audits. This week, he has Finance Committee and the Board meeting too! Busy and nerve wracking for Jim! Though I love having him here, it's a hard week for him to do it!
The next round of pre-meds are up and running. Zofran, another anti-nausea med and the steroids, dexamethasone. Another 20 minutes or so and it will be on to the Taxol. I got here at 10 am and it's now 10:50 am.
Now the Taxol. They start it slow to be sure I'm not going to have one of those hypersensitive reactions. I haven't so far, but they can be dangerous. Shortness of breath, swelling, etc. Reminds me that this stuff is poison! Total time for the Taxol will be a couple of hours.
So...a brief hair - or lack thereof - update. Taxol is also one that makes hair fall out, so not expecting any regrowth to happen. We buzzed my head two weeks after the first round of A/C. It fell out quickly and I now have a tiny halo of gray fuzz that remains. The fuzz hasn't fallen out nor has it regrown in one bit. I shaved my legs at about the same time and there's still no re-growth. Have lost most arm hair, but still have eyebrows! I'm altering between my wig and scarves. Don't really like wearing a wig...itchy, hot, strange. I wear it outside the house when I'm tired of being stared at...when I wear the scarves, strangers do double takes. You can almost hear them say " poor woman.". Ugh!
Thank you ALL for the wonderful cards, wishes, blog comments and support. I read them all and am continually amazed at how many friends and colleagues are out there taking this journey with me. Thank you, thank you!
So, all's finished. 2:00 pm. IV removed. Time for lunch - I feel good and then our long ride home with Jim at the wheel...he doesn't let me drive at all. Wishing you all a great week!