Sunday, June 16, 2013

Round 2

I have my second round of chemo today. The day before and day that I have to go to chemo I wake up looking and feeling something like this:
Yeah, angry and mean. All ornery-like. 

I dread it, and its really not even bad. Its mostly the anticipation. Right now, I*m worrying because they keep telling me that the effects are cumulative.... Since this is the second round, it might be harder.

 I also have this very strange preoccupation with my port. I put numbing cream called emla on it, so I don*t really feel anything when they stick me. Maybe a little pressure. It just makes this SOUND that I cannot stand. And when they flush it I feel the temp change. But for DAYS beforehand, I just obsess over it. I think that its going to get better now that my stitches are out. I hardly feel it anymore. Yesterday, I laid the palm of my hand over it. It was the first time I touched it except about ten minutes ago I just had an itch and scratched it and felt the wire part. Pretty gross. 
I don*t think my little obsession is healthy, but no amount of Ativan makes it go away. Last week, during my Vincristine/Cytoxan, I didn*t take the Ativan. Bad idea. I was tweakin! 

When I woke up today and thought about going, I did this:

Then again, thats not much different than how i look most mornings before my cup of joe.

So, what do I do to get ready before chemo? Yesterday, I cleaned up my bedroom and the two bathrooms in the house that I use. I have to use a different bathroom, plus close the lid and flush twice. Its a pain and makes me feel a bit like a pariah. 

I also slept in with Jack and gave extra cuddles and kisses. Because I won*t be able to have contact with him until 48 hours after chemo.... which is going to be Thursday afternoon. Even then I try to take it easy, and only kiss on Sundays. I swear, when this is over I am going to have a complex. I*m going to be kissing Jack when he goes to college. Last night, he slept on my chest. We were in constant contact for about 16 hours which was amazing. I can't get enough of that kid!


Sunday, I also talked to my dad. Its Father*s Day! I dedicated a whole post to the dads I love. 
Can*t resist posting these pics of us. 
Thats my brother Ed on the left. He thinks we are utterly ridiculous. 

If I had better foresight, I would cook a few meals to have as leftovers for my 2 days of chemo. Maybe I will do that next time. You would think that my appetite would be less during chemo, but I think I eat more. Its all the antiemetics, they give me FIVE on day 1. And people keep sending me ice cream, munchies and cupcakes, so I'm not going hungry. 

 I get three drugs on Monday, and then they hook me up to an infusion pump which gives me Methotrexate for 12 hours. At about 5 AM, Jim unhooks it. I still have the needle in my chest, the whole two days actually, but there*s just a wire hanging. Whatever time the infusion stops, is when I take my rescue dose at 12 hour intervals for 3 days....

Jim and the bag. Isn't he cuuuute?

I take my medications and pack up my chemo bag. It has lots of fun stuff in it. Snacks: animal crackers, cheese its, mints and candy. I never eat the snacks because they bring me goldfish crackers and Shasta! 

I have about 4 back issues of US Weekly. If you are the person who mysteriously renewed my subscription, please stand up! I have decided that it is Jim, but he swears up and down it wasn*t him. It was supposed to have ended in April. But, I am obsessed with that magazine, so I*m really happy and grateful to the mystery person. And if it was an oversight on behalf of US Weekly, may they never read my blog. 

My fuck cancer blanket goes in there, and sometimes a pillow, although they will give me one. You kind of don*t need it, because you are sitting in a recliner. I usually sit Indian style. I just chat with Jim and the nurses or my little suite-mates. You can go in a room with a bed, but wheres the fun in that? Some people are very friendly and others don*t want to chat. Almost everyone looks at me with these pitying stares, which I hate, so I usually try to make them laugh. Once, I took a nap. I always bring a phone charger, because my phone is perpetually dead. Sometimes a hat, and a change of clothes if its rainy or cold. I throw my iPad in there a lot, but never use it. Its hard for my eyes to focus during treatment. The bag I use is a huge Abercombie backpack that Jim has had since high school. He carries it for me. He*s pretty cool. I also bring along my purse which has lip balm, hand sanitizer and lotion and other fun stuff. You never know whats going to be in my purse, except like 5 lip products. Right now I also have fancy sunscreen for my face, and spray kind for everywhere else. They say with the chemo, you can get this strange burn under your first few layers of skin. Sounds painful. I'd like to avoid, so I obsess over sunblock. I actually did pre-cancer, too. Guess it didn't work. 
My friend Jaimie was here this weekend and she gifted me this amazing new purse... its tie dye. 

Before chemo, I get all snazzed up with my favorite makeup from Urban Decay, the Dangerous Pallette and Stardust shadow which is just shimmery and sparkely and I let it go everywhere and it's just so much fun. It's war paint. Makeup can help you transcend reality, and the colors and 80's vibe I'm rockin have been a ton of fun so far. 

I just downloaded the blogger app on my phone, so for today's special trick, I will be posting from good old TCC. That's short for Tunnell Cancer Center, where I get my treatments. So, I'm going to have Jim take a pic of me with, as my cousin Tammy called it, the glitter flowing. 

Here I am signing for my giant bag of chemo. It's 81 units of methotrexate. Mmmm. I take this home with me. 
There she is. 

Here I am looking a little peeved because my white cell count is a bit low. It's 1,100. Its called neutropenia. At 1,000, they stop treating you. This photo was taken before I saw the doc. I was worried he would delay treatment for today, and I just want to avoid that at all costs. Any variation from the routine is really not recommended, it's the only point my oncologist upstate, Dr. Cowabunga really hammered on.

Sooooo, they decided to give me treatment, but I also need some extra injections to stimulate my white blood cells. The man with the plan wrote me a diagram explaining:
Basically, it explains the types of white blood cells I have and how the most important ones are neutrophils. Mine are 1,100 and if they are less than 1,000 they don't give chemo. So, on Wednesday and Thursday I will have shots called Neupogen. The side effects are bone pain and burning where they inject you (back of the arm.) Also, my hemoglobin is steadily lowering so they are considering a transfusion. It's really not a question of if, just when. I'm ok with it. 

So far, for now, they have given me my antiemetics (the last one is infusing in a bag as I type this:

While I chat with
the man with the plan, Dr. Sehbai. He told me today that on his initial notes, he wrote "to be nice to this young lady." He also told me I have an over active imagination. Seriously?!?! I don't see it. He also talked up my blog to Jess, my nurse.

So, we have covered a lot of bases here. I'm back at the chemo suite with all my important gear (phone not pictured.) 
Half eaten smiley cookie from Sandy Paws. Love you lots! Copy of TVM, an oldie but a goodie, Jaimie suggested I re-read it. I actually was reading Eve Ensler's book, The Good Body when I found out I have cancer. The book actually is about her own uterine, colon and vagina cancer. Pretty ironic for vagina warriors like us to wind up with these crazy female system cancers. I really wish I could get in contact with her to share that fact. I've tried tweeting. Can anyone else help? Bueller? I love the unicorn lollipop, refer to my post about chemo visualization... Plus a new prescription for Dilaudid, which he thinks is less addictive than Percocet, but just as effective. I will try it and see.  

They already pushed my first drug, Actinomycin. I'm getting Etopiside, the hair stopper, in an infusion as I type this. 
Jim checking in on me. 
Here's the methotrexate. It's neon yellow as you can see. 
I'm all alone in my little infusion suite today because I was running a bit late for my appointment, so now they are closing for the day. We got halfway here and realized we didn't have the diaper bag for this guy:

Isn't he the best? Come to think of it, everything I do is for him. I love that little nugget. Jim went back to get his stuff and my infusion pump. 

I need to close my eyes for a bit. They gave me Benadryl and Ativan. Bye for now, thanks for being a part of my journey. 


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