Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 1, Cycle 1

Before I get knocked on my ass by the toxic cocktails that were pumped into my system this morning, some updates and some smart ass comments about what I have already learned about chemo infusions.

[Skip the next part if you don't want to read about chemo drugs.]

My first four chemo cocktails are a combination of cytoxan and adriamycin.  This is a standard treatment for breast cancer.  The adriamycin is the hair killer.  It is bright red and pumped into me using a syringe over 15 minutes.  The cytoxan is administered through IV drip over the course of an hour. 

Before these are administered, I visit with the oncologist and a blood draw is taken.  Once in the treatment room, the first course is an IV drip of  super-steroids and an anti-nausea medication.

Then the chemo drugs.  Shit that might burn a hole in the universe shot into my bloodstream.  

After that, guess what....more medication.  I have four bottles:  must-take anti-nausea pills, must-take horse steroids and two sets of  "in case of emergency" anti-nausea pills.  I hope all of it works because I waited at the hospital pharmacy for two hours after chemo.  Rad.  Tomorrow I go back to St. My Cousin Vinnie's for a shot of Neulasta, a white cell booster that aids my immune system.  And for the drugs they were out of at the pharmacy.  Because, as I have learned, hospitals run of things all of the time.  Like sane patients. 

I can expect to feel OK for a day or two and the worst over the weekend.  

[Rejoin here for some more non-essential cancer advice.]

The infusion room at St. MCV's is very nice.  As something that has only been open for a few months, it should be.  Huge windows on two sides, comfortable recliners, and all of the beverages and lights snacks you can stuff into your face while impeded by an IV pole. 

Hydration is my new big THING I CAN CONTROL, so I came prepped with three full water bottles with the goal to get through all of them before I left the infusion room.  The infusion time was shorter than I had expected and I spent most of that time talking or being talked to, so I only made it through two.  Good for my system, but it also meant having to pee every five minutes.   And,  of course, I had to go and pick the seat the farthest from the bathroom door.  Every 450-700 seconds, I would have to clomp past (because, of course, I am wearing cowboy boots...and ninja socks) all of the other cancer patients to the john.  Thud, Thud, Thud. Slam, Flush, Slam.  So much for keeping a low profile.   But I did get all of the adriamycin dye out of my system within 40 minutes. 

Non-Essential Cancer Advice Note to Self #1:  Next time, sit closer to the bathroom door.

Non-Essential Cancer Advice Note to Self #2:  Hospital wireless sucks balls.  Bring more magazines and cell phone charger. 

Non-Essential Cancer Advice to Everyone Else #3: Please text me  at will during infusions.  Playing with my blackberry in an important manner keeps me from staring at other people.  Staring at other people makes me look like an asshole.  No one want to be The Asshole in a chemo treatment room, but I can't help it when I'm anxious.

So help me out on this one. Next round, April 27 from 10AM to 1PM.  If you want my cell number, email me off-line.

Non-Essential Cancer Advice to Everyone Else #4:  Post-chemo retail therapy is highly recommended.  I have been going to Target after all of my big appointments.  All of the adrenaline rush, but for  one-sixth of the price of downtown Portland.  I bought at $15.99 cowboy hat this afternoon.  It is ridiculously fantastic...I haven't taken it off yet.   That or the ninja socks.  Which, considering that I am now also wearing a seersucker miniskirt around the condo, makes me sort of awesome-sauce right now. 

Non-Essential Cancer Advice to Everyone Else #5:  If you don't know about Cleaning for a Reason and are going through cancer treatment or know anyone going through cancer treatment, please go here NOW and learn about them.   While I was packing up my bags, my mom and I just happened to be talking about the service that spit-shined my condo yesterday  (Maid to Shine in Vancouver, WA....did a phenomenal job), the patients next to me and the oncology nurses overheard, but had never heard of it.  WTF?!

These ladies donate their valuable time and supplies to help cancer patients.  All I had to do was make a phone call, get a doctor's note and sign a waiver.  And voila!  You can now eat off of my bathroom floor.  Not that I would recommend it, but you get the point. Cleaning for a Reason pays for it once a month and I am having the service come in twice monthly on the day before infusions.

The doctor's note requirement threw me for a loop.  Apparently there are people out there that fake cancer.  For fuck sake people, really?  For these people I have created a special level of hell.   This level of hell involves screaming uncontrollable three year olds, dog shit that hasn't been picked up, neon-colored skinny jeans, BumpIts and Jack Johnson playing on a continuous loop. And the only thing to eat and drink are PBR and bananas.  And everything operates using Windows 97.  That, to me, would be the worst hell could possibly be.  This is saying something, as I have fucking stupid cancer.

OK,  off to pee (again) and try and control my anticipation anxiety.  Will keep you all posted.


(0v0) said...

Fuck cancer.

You're fucking hilarious.

Sleep well, goat.

I set an alarm for April 27.

Caroline said...

I've met quite a few women who weren't knocked on their ass by chemo. At all. You might be one of them. No reason to get too worried! Have a lovely night - pamper yourself.

Lindsay said...

That is good to know. My oncologist is going to hook me up with some of her other young patients that had an easier time. Just so I have a different perspective.

Hollie said...

I am glad to be able to help any way I can!! I will see you in 2 weeks :-) Keep your chin up! You and your family are in my thoughts.

Scott Lommers said...

You make me laugh, Lindsay.

You're a great writer, if not a great cancer patient.

Kronda said...

Thanks for the tip re: Cleaning for a Reason. I paused mid-read to sent that info to my friend Jessie, who is always battling breast cancer--and not faking it.

Keep keepin' on. I don't know you, but text a lot and would be happy to set my alarm for your next chemo session. You can reach me at ephany [at] gmail.