Chemo Treatment #1 – Day One

Wed Aug 8 – 2012 Chemo #1 Day One – Chemo Lounge

Today was my first chemo. Over the past few days my anxiety level has been rising and my emotions have been pretty volatile. I had my PET/CT scan on Friday and I’ve been waiting impatiently for results.

We walked into the doc’s office to meet with him before going back to the chemo lounge. He came in wearing a face mask due to starting a cold. He was barely in the room before he told us that the  scans were clear. Only thing lighting up was surgery sites due to lingering inflammation. He said the only thing found was one kidney stone… here’s hoping it keeps to itself for a while. I don’t know if I can handle passing a kidney stone right now. :-/

Doc went through the blood work from the 15 vials of blood they had drawn before my PET scan. My CEA marker went from 90 pre-surgery to 8.5, again possibly due to surgical inflammation still. I have no markers for clotting issues. This was a concern because of my mother’s history of TIAs and a huge ‘horseshoe’ clot around her lungs. I’m not even anemic, which surprised me as I have a history of walking a fine line there.

I sit in a bright airy room with hospital type recliners around the outside perimeter along with IV poles, side chairs and tray tables available. I’m offered pillows and warm blankets if needed. The nurses are friendly and helpful. Accessing the port was much easier than I expected. They sprayed some cold spray over the area and the needle unit just plugged right in. I barely felt anything. They start the IV into the port and get me started with a glucose solution, some benadryl, and I believe some anti-nausea meds. This is when they actually order up the chemo drugs.

I am getting the FOLFOX 6 cocktail. This starts with the following drugs into the port for three hours

leucovorin – helper drug

Oxaliplatin – actual chemo drug

I was suppose to start Avastin also but since my incision isn’t fully healed yet I get to wait on this for several sessions. The Avastin can prolong wound healing. He said we’ll wait on this until incision has been fully healed for at least 4 weeks. Not having this did knock my time in the lounge down by about an hour.

Next, they unhook the IV and hook up a large syringe with what they call a ‘push’ of the next drug. This is called 5-FU. They slowly but steadily push this into my port.

Next comes the pump. This is an automatic cartridge of more 5-FU that is added into my system a little bit every hour for the next 46 hours. I wear the pump home held in a stretchy band with a pocket wrapped around my stomach. The pump and any extra tubing fits down in the pocket. They showed my daughter and I how to take the pump off ourselves so we don’t necessarily have to go back to office to get it removed on Friday.

Other than falling asleep for a bit due to benadryl, the actual chemo infusion went well.  So far no side effects and I am feeling so much better right now.

~~ Gayla


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cyn on August 9, 2012 at 12:30 am

    I’m glad it was relatively easy and that the test results are so promising!


  2. Posted by Deb Westenberger on August 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing your journey so far, Gayla. This sucks big time for you! But, I just “feel” you’re going to be A-OKAY!! BTW, I didn’t know you were such an excellent writer!! wow!! I’ll be following your blog, Sister! Big HUGS!! xoxoxoxoxox


  3. Starting chemo was sort of a blur for me, as I was in the hospital for induction. I definitely remember the anxiety before starting the arsenic infusions. It’s an emotional time, and non-cancer folks can be supportive, but never really get it. Thanks for the post 🙂


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