Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just Adding to Billy's Note - Chemo Day 1

I'm so thankful that Billy was able to update all of you while I was sleeping off my benedryl and morphine yesterday.  I told him that I felt like I was on a "trip".  My limbs felt very light and I kept telling him not to let me do something embarrassing and silly like start raising my arms and legs in the air because I actually did feel like they might float away...and my mom can testify I've done this a couple times before.  I'm very sensitive to these type of drugs.  One summer when I was in high school my dad got my siblings and I a summer job of painting the public library and fairfield center apartments. I was terribly allergic spending all that time outside in the trees and grass and took a benedryl one day over lunch.  Soon I was found just laying on the sidewalk taking a nap.  Now, we all know we have reputations to uphold in high school and I'm pretty sure sleeping on a downtown sidewalk was not on my list of to-do's, but benedryl just knocks me out.  Last night I came home and never left my bed until just a few minutes ago (5:30 am).  I woke this morning feeling pretty good.  A little shaky, but I think that is still the after effects of the morphine too as I've been on that before.  I have my hot packs on my shoulders and back because I laid around too long yesterday and I think I must have been clenching my teeth as my jaw hurts as well.  I tend to have that problem and should have worn my mouthpiece the dentist gave me.  Anyway, enough about that.

I awoke planning to call and reschedule right away at 8:00, but got the answering service saying the offices weren't opening until 9:00 due to inclement weather.  I called again at 9:00 and 9:20 leaving messages for the person who does rescheduling.  At 9:30 I got on a call with my new boss and while I was on the phone it continued to beep with numbers I didn't recognize.  At 10:40 I called them back and they said they needed me to come in ASAP to get my radiation treatment first and then my chemotherapy.  I called my friend Sara to see if she would watch my kiddos and thankfully she said yes right away.  We packed up all the kids snow clothes so they could play outside and got ourselves ready and off we went.  Another "no time to think about it" moment! 

We arrived at the radiology office to find out that even though I only had 30 minutes to spare before chemo should start (according to the nurse) the rapid arc radiation machine was broken down and they had a technician looking at it.  We were going to wait until 1:00 pm, but the tech finally came out and said they had no idea what was wrong with the machine yet and I better go on to chemo and they'd stay late to see me afterwards.  They later called again and said it still wasn't fixed and they'd just see me Monday.  Two radiation treatments missed this week.  I walked over to the chemo office and checked in.  They had me waiting in the lobby for about an hour because all their nurses didn't come to work because of inclement weather, so they were behind.  Darn weather!!!!  I chose a chair at the far end of the room where I could see a visitor chair open right next to me.  I had used an itunese  gift card to download a movie for Billy and I.  They brought me a heated blanket and I sat in a large comfy recliner.  A student massage therapist came by and gave me a hand massage while I waited for the nurse and the receptionist came by with cinnamon sticks from the local pizza joint.  I looked around at the cheery yellow room with windows solid down 2 sides and bright white snowflakes dangling from the ceiling and though to myself this wasn't starting out as bad as I thought. 

The nurse put my IV in and gave me an intravenous dose of anti nausea medicine, then dripped a large amount of fluid into my system.  Billy and I visited with a nice woman my age getting chemo for breast cancer during this time. This took a couple of hours and I unplugged my I.V. to walk all the way to the other end of the room pushing my fluids along to use the restroom.  The nurse told me I might want to sit close to a restroom, but I couldn't find a good spot for Billy to sit down there and I wanted him right by me. 
Billy and I were getting settled in to watch our movie when the nurse came and gave me the diuretic medicine and said it was to push the fluids through with the chemo to spare my kidneys.  Then she started the actual chemo treatment and said it would take and hour and then we'd be done.  Within 1 minute my stomach began to feel immense pressure and then my lower back was hurting and got worse by the second.  I felt like my kidneys were going to blow up and shoot right out of my back.  It was taking my breath away and Billy realized he should get the nurse.  I kept wondering if it was the diuretic and I was just going to have to make another quick trip to the other end of the room. But the nurse ran to me with her eyes wide asking, "You're having back pain?".  She turned and told another nurse, who told another nurse.  It got very hectic with one nurse taking vitals and calling out numbers that were confirmed much higher than my normal.  My blood pressure was 148 over 98 and I typically run very low like 108 over 65ish.  My heart rate was about 99 and I usually run below 70.  My temp was up 2  points since they had taken it upon arrival.  A lady doctor showed up to oversee as they put something in to reverse the effects of the medicine and gave me some benedryl.  I was perched on the side of my seat gripping the arms of the chair while those in the room all watched.  A nurse had gone to get morphine and we were waiting as my diuretic kicked in and I asked to be escorted to the the far end of the room again.  I tried to go but my 9 our of 10 pain turned into about a 15 so I came out knowing they were bringing morphine.  They put the morphine in and said it would help in about 2 minutes and thankfully it did.  I went back to the bathroom from my new seat about 8 feet away.  We stayed in this chair as I continued to have to pass the diuretic through at what felt like every 5 minutes for an hour.  I gave a urine sample, which showed a little blood but no bacteria or anything.  The nurses knew of another patient with my kind of chemo that could not handle the lassic diuretic and because I had no other issues they were told by the doctor to start the chemo drip very slowly again and monitor me closely.  I slept through it except when they came to check on me and make me wake up and attempt to speak while I was on my morphine trip!  I felt like I was making no sense, but Billy and the nurse were kind enough to not laugh.  I did laugh though as I kept looking at them with only one eye open and thought of my mom who does that when she's very tired.  I kept looking at Billy with just one eye open and saying, "who does this remind you of?".  He wasn't getting it, but my siblings would have.  It was silly, but I was so tired that was all I could accomplish. 

Last night I watched two movies in bed, took naps along the way, ate some soup and saltines in bed and forced about 50 oz of water down, which still left my eyes and mouth and throat feeling dry.  Partially because of the benedryl and partially because of the chemo killing off cells in my body.  We learned yesterday that outside of cancer rapidly growing cells, our bone marrow and GI tract rapidly grow cells as well.  Therefore, some of my side effects as the chemo kills off cells will be anemia because the bone marrow is producing as fast as it should and also my mouth and throat could get ulcers easily because the GI tract isn't producing as fast as it should.  I'm learning so much about myself!!!

Billy was fantastic yesterday and our friends Steve and Sara were wonderful to keep our kids overnight so we could have a very peaceful house last night and this morning.  Thank you so much to all of you for your support and prayers. 

Chemo treatment # 1 is over. 

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