Topic: First Round of Chemo....check!

Today, I went to the local oncologist to have an orientation and to see if the infection in my leg was okay enough (after two days of antibiotics) to start chemo.  I haven't had a temp since Sunday night, so the onc was ready to move forward.  It was a moment of, "I want to do this....no I don't...but I WILL."  I was there from 8 am until almost 2 p.m., with some issues of too much fluid too fast, causing a pretty bad tightness in my chest, throbbing of my external ears and then throbbing of my lower teeth.  Yes..my teeth actually throbbed.  They checked BP and it was 120/80...pulse was fine and chest sounds good, so the doctor ordered a shot to go in as an IV push to convince my kidneys to release fluid.....and they sat me upright.  In a half hour I felt considerably better, but even now, I still have a bit of a 'knot" feeling in my chest upon inhalation.  The port didn't work to draw blood.....why wasn't I surprised?  After many attempts and flushing, raising this arm and the other to try to get blood to move, she gave up and had the tech draw blood the conventional way. 

Tonight, I am making myself a chart for star stickers (yes, like many of us had as children for reaching goals).  Mine will be one for each infusion of my chemo (Gem and low dose Cis) until I am done.

Though one oncologist said I would not lose my hair, this one says I will, and the nurse said it would probably thin (and I already have very thin hair), so I took the business cards of the two wig places in town and info, so that one day when I'm feeling fairly decent, I can go to check out my options.  I have a little 3 year old grandson, and I don't want to upset him with some major hair loss if I can avoid it.  He has already shown some reservation to being close to me after I had surgery and he was told that grammy was in the hospital to get an owie fixed.  And, if I wore a scarf or hat around him, he'd want me to take it off...as THAT is NOT how grammy dresses.  smile  He's pretty ritualistic.  Plus, scarves and headbands roll off my head and hats are generally too small, even with my fine, thin hair.

So, next Tuesday, will be infusion #2...just the gemcitibine and no pre-chemo infusions because of no cisplatin on week two of the regimen.  It won't take as long as this morning's infusion did.  Fortunately, my husband took me and stayed with me the entire time.  It just happened that a retiree from his workplace was there also with his wife having chemo at the same time, and the two of them chatted up a storm until they were done and left.  I was glad he didn't just have to sit there either looking at me or trying to sleep in the hard chair. 

ONward.....it's started....I will be honest....I can't say I'm just thrilled to be doing this....seriously, I don't think anyone would willingly put themselves though this without wishing they didn't feel they had to.  But, at least for now, I have an end goal.  We are to do 4-6 rounds, which is 12-18 weeks, or a little longer if we have to sit out a week here and there for blood counts to come back up.  They said it might happen, but with the lower dose of Cis, not necessarily. 

Meanwhile, I must watch for signs of infection in the unhealed incisions and in this leg infection getting better, not worse. I think I need a flow chart to keep track of all this stuff.  My meds basket on the table over-floweth.  smile

Thank you everyone for your information and encouragement.  It didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped, but not as badly as I imagined it could.  I know I have a decent chance as any for a cure....and that's why I'm doing this extra boost from the chemo.  My goal will be to do the 6 rounds...and not pull back at 4 rounds unless they tell me I can't for some reason.  More isn't always better, but since we had a somewhat late start on the chemo after surgery, I'm thinking that I will push through to the 6 rounds if they let me. 

It wasn't a great day ....but it WAS a great day...because I feel like I'm doing something to hopefully effect the outcome of this in a good way.  In any case, I'm giving it whatever it takes.

Julie T.

"Just for today, I can get through anything."  Hey....I'm a cancer survivor, not a doctor.  The opinions I state are my own, based on my personal experiences or knowledge.  As always, talk to your doctor about your concerns and treatment.