Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chemotherapy - Round 1

Yesterday was my very first day of chemotherapy.  John went with me and we had to be there at 9:00a.m.  The first hour or so was spent going over the different medicines I would be taking, and all of their side effects.  Some of the side effects are hair loss, metallic taste in my mouth, headaches, achy bones, numb fingers and toes, sores in my mouth and throat, nausea, insomnia, the list goes on.  It was quite overwhelming.  I was so grateful to have John there to help me keep it all straight--what medicines I should take and when.  After meeting with the Nurse Practitioner, they took me into a large room with lots of chairs and I.V. stands.

The nurses there were all very friendly.  They tried to put my mind at ease and make me as comfortable as possible.  My nurse put an I.V. in and initially started with saline, steroids and anti-nausea meds.  Then she brought out the first dose of chemo called Cytoxane.  It was a 30 minute drip.  While I was receiving the drip, I sucked on pieces of ice to help fight against sores forming in my mouth.  I seemed to tolerate the Cytoxane fairly well.

The next dose of chemo was Taxotere.  This chemo causes you to have numbness in your finger tips and toes for the entire 18 weeks you are on the chemo.  The nurse gave me 2 ice packs to set my hands on during the 1 hour drip to help prevent some of the numbness.  I was feeling quite cold and shivering a lot.  John bundled me up with four different blankets to help me get comfortable.  I had only been receiving the drip for 3-5 minutes when I started having an allergic reaction.  It started with chest pains and I sent John to go and get my nurse.  Then my lower back was hurting.  Before John and the nurse returned I felt like I couldn't breathe and was burning hot.  I sat up straight in my chair and started ripping the blankets off of me and was trying to catch my breath.  I felt like I was gasping for breath.  Several nurses joined me with oxygen, and they immediately stopped the I.V. drip.  They then gave me a large dose of Benedryl and Demerol.  My entire body was shaking uncontrollably.  A nurse took my blood sugar to make sure that I wasn't low.  It was very, very scary for me.

The nurse practitioner told me that I needed to go home and come back today to try it again.  This time they are going to have me take steroids before I go to see if that will make a difference.  I took pills last night and will take more before I go in this morning.  The lovely side effect of this medicine...insomnia.  I fell asleep around 12:00 and have been up since 4:00.  So, I finally decided to get up and update my journal.  Things always seem worse at night when you are lying there thinking about everything...not feeling well, all the medical bills, how to juggle all the kids schedules when I'd rather be in bed, etc.

In a few hours, I will be heading back over to the Cancer Center to try the Taxotere again.  Man that makes me nervous.  I don't want a repeat of yesterday.  It was too scary.  If my body reacts to it again, they will have to try a different type of chemo.  It's bad enough just getting the chemo and it's side effects--to say nothing of an allergic reaction. 

I was told that I should be feeling awful the rest of this week and into the next week.  As soon as I start feeling a little better, it will be just in time for Round 2.

No comments: