Friday, September 28, 2012

My First Day of Chemotherapy

Yesterday morning I began my chemotherapy treatment. I arrived at 8:45am and was on my way home at 1pm.  It really was not what I expected at all.

Me in my Chemotherapy Chair
The room at my oncologist's office where the chemotherapy is injected was full of the reclining chairs as pictured above.  There are many televisions in the room that patients can watch (wireless headphones are provided).  There is also free guest wifi available, so that if you need to work (or just want to play on the internet) you may.  They offer you a warm blanket (or you can bring your own) because the room is kept very cold.

This is the machine that they connect to my port to inject medication.

This port implanted in my chest on Wednesday is so weird!  The first thing the nurse does when you arrive for chemo is clean the port area and draw a ton of blood from it.  It is strange to see vials of blood drawn from your chest within seconds.  They check my blood to make sure my cell counts are high enough to enable me to endure the treatment.  My cell counts were OK yesterday, so they began treatment.

Before they inject the actual AC (Adriamycin Cytoxin, my chemotherapy for the next three months), they inject a lot of other things:  saline, anti-nausea drugs, steroids.  I didn't receive the steroid injection yesterday since I had already begun a steroid pack for hives issue (I have discovered since all of this started that I am allergic to CT contrast and latex).  When they inject saline into my port, I can taste metallic gases immediately.  It is such a strange and icky feeling.

I was feeling pretty well following the injections until last night. That is when nausea began.  I am in the process of figuring out how to manage the nausea, much like I did when I had morning sickness with both children.  So far, I have found that using my motion sickness wrist bands, combined with trying to drink water as frequently as possible and eating even when I don't feel like it works best.  It is so hard to eat when nothing sounds good though. 

This afternoon I went back to the oncologist to receive my Neulasta injection.  It is much like receiving a flu shot, except they hold the needle in much longer since there is quite a bit of medication to inject.  This injection is given to keep my immunity up.  About an hour after receiving the shot, my lips and mouth began to swell.  So, I returned to the oncologist's office and they injected me with more steroids through my port and told me to go home and take Benadryl around the clock.  Perhaps I am allergic to something in the Neulasta.  We are probably going to need to change some things up for the next round.  My body is not used to having any medication, so it is getting a bit overwhelmed.

Enough with the boring chemotherapy updates.  How about some positive news?  First, when I returned home from my injection, I discovered a wonderful surprise that was delivered by Fedex to my front porch. Some of my friends at one of my former employers, Dayco, sent me the best care package imaginable.  I was overwhelmed by their generosity and thoughtfulness!  Each gift had been thoughtfully selected and I just sat in tears as I read each card and looked at each of these things these wonderful women purchased or made specifically for me.  I thank God for all of the wonderful friends he has put in my path throughout my life.  Abbey and Luke enjoyed looking at the items in the package also.  We captured a couple of photos of Abbey, but Luke, as you can probably guess, moves too swiftly for a camera to capture. 

The package was full of thoughtful gifts--scarves, a beautiful hand-made bag, blankets, books and magazines to get me through the chemo sessions, lotion, lip balm, a special bracelet, pajamas, a comfy robe, and more!

We have also already received some delicious meals from friends.  We are SO thankful for these.  We are thankful for our friends who continue to bring milk for Abbey and for our friends who are watching the kids when needed so Drew can go with me to some of my appointments.  We are most thankful for the hundreds of people praying for us right now.  The prayers are truly felt.  We are just feeling so blessed right now.  Sometimes, it takes times like these for us to realize all of the many blessings we have.  God has taught me the importance these friendships.

And, I can tell you that God has made himself SO present in all of this.  I see His Holy Spirit in our young children.  Some of the things Luke has been saying lately are WAY too mature for his age.  I know these specific words are coming from the Lord.  I could document countless examples on here--enough for an entire post.  But, I think it is important for me to share at least a few.  Luke turns three years old next week.  Today, he has asked me numerous times about my "boo boo."  He asked if it was getting better.  He told me that he is so happy to see me several times.  He said, "I love you mommy" and hugged me countless times today.  He asked if he could bring me my water.  He asked if he could hold my hand.  He asked if he could rub my feet (I am not sure WHERE he got this sweet and so intuitive).   He brought me his "blue blankie" (this is his lovey that no one gets to touch normally) to comfort me.  This is just today!  Each time he said these things I felt my spirits lifted.  One more example of his ability to relate and comfort:  When he first saw my bandage from my biopsy two weeks ago, he asked me what happened.  I told him it was just a boo-boo.  He then showed me a boo-boo on his knee.  He said, "See that mommy--that was bigger but now it is smaller.  It is getting all better."  He was telling me that my boo-boo would heal also.   And Abbey--oh precious Abbey.  It is so hard to feel ill when Abbey is making hilarious faces, doing funny things, or giving you her precious smiles, hugs or kisses.  Thank you Lord for orchestrating all of this and giving us these precious children to provide so much joy during this difficult time!

1 comment:

  1. Praying for you Heather! Luke and Abbey can come over ANY time!!! Please let us know when you need help.