Today was my first day of chemotherapy.
I was really worried that I was going to be nervous--too nervous to get a good night's sleep or function--and was pleasantly surprised that I slept fine (going to bed at 2:00 a.m. will aid in that) and woke up feeling the same calm and detachment that I've felt throughout this continued ordeal. For the record, there's only place that the calm comes from and that is from Heavenly Father. I would be a wreck otherwise, and somehow, I have felt nothing but fine this whole time. I mean, there are moments, don't get me wrong, but a part of me feels like this is all part of a bigger purpose or is not without meaning, and I'll survive. And I don't just mean that I'll live. Dying of Stage 1C/II Granulosa cell carcinoma was never going to be my cards. But I'll survive the treatments, the nausea, the going bald. I'll survive as I have to regrow my hair (oh, my friends, I have great plans for this...) and the other physical changes. I will survive the fatigue. And that knowledge does not come from my optimistic attitude. It comes from my faith and my knowledge that I know who provides peace and comfort, my Father in Heaven.
It was a long day, but not nearly as bad as I imagined. Meghan picked me up from home and drove me to Huntsman, where they checked me in, we ran and got breakfast in the cafeteria, and then we came down and started the preliminary infusions. I tried to get the port in my right hand, but I guess my right arm is pretty worthless when it comes to veins. It made it difficult each time I went to the bathroom. Imagine trying to do something with your least dominant hand that you have been doing for some 27 years with your dominant hand. It's not easy. The prelim stuffs include anti-nausea and Benadryl to help control some of the side effects.
They did the Taxol first. This is the three hour infusion and the drug that makes you the most nauseous and the one that makes you lose your hair. Within seconds of it hitting my blood stream, I looked at Meghan and said, "What were the symptoms that I was supposed to report?" She asked me how I was feeling and I sat up and said, "Sick." I couldn't believe how fast it hit me. The nausea was first, but almost as immediate a vice had taken to my chest and I couldn't breathe and my shoulders and face felt as though someone were spraying me with a blow torch. Meghan said that my face turned bright red. The weird thing was, I wasn't really worried until I looked at Meghan's face, and she looked worried. She ran and got the doctors, and really, it had been thirty seconds since the onset, that they took the Taxol off, gave me more Benadryl, and started the whole process over on a lower dosage.
We were able to bump the dosage up once, but never to full strength because I was hovering on feeling sickish for a while. It added several hours to the whole day.
I got up and walked around a bit, but they had me trapped in the infusion room. So I couldn't go far. All I wanted was to be able to walk in a loop, but I was told not to leave the tiled area. Mostly I just sat and talked to Meghan.
Kati brought lunch for us, and the spicy Thai was just what I needed to curb the nausea that was lurking nearby. I really felt pretty great after that, and would have liked to visit the library or go outside. Anything to get out of that room.
We met a guy named Dove (pronounced like the verb, not the noun) who had gone through eight surgeries, and THOUSANDS of hours of chemo. He was the cancer celebrity of the unit, and told us some of the crazy stories that he had a hand in. Things like Chemo Cupid, and hiring a male stripper for one of the patient's birthdays. He was a ray of sunshine, and given his prognosis--terminal--it was a really good reality check. I am blessed, and really don't have much to complain about.
Everyone was really nice. Other patients were giving me encouragement and all of them said that after their first treatment, it wasn't so bad. And I have to say, that I really do feel very good. Not at all like my body has been pumped full of poisons that are killing my cells.
When I left the hospital after eight hours of infusions, I got a call from the doctor saying that I am anemic and I need an iron supplement infusion. That's another four hour treatment to take place sometime this week or next.
I also had a hair appointment last night. I have been reading different blogs and boards, and everyone says that it is recommended that you cut your hair. That way, it's easier to make it look puffier and healthier by giving it more volume as it starts to thin; and, it tends to be less traumatic when you finally lose your hair. So I did it. I chopped it all off, as short as I could go without shaving my neck. And I put pink in it. It's fun and sassy. And I'm devastated that I was so close to my "mermaid hair" goal (I wanted my hair long enough that it would cover my boobs) and had to cut it off. I may never get to that point. Everything I look at shows a full eighteen months of regrowth before you have a decent bob--a bob! That means my 30th birthday. . .oh gosh. Let's not think about it. My stylist did have me save my pony tail so that I could maybe use it later as extensions. That might help. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Just like everything else.
This is going to have to be a day at a time things. I feel fine now, but I have no idea what is in store for me in the next few days as the drugs continue to course through my body. I am to start taking more anti-nausea pills tomorrow, and that's suggesting that tomorrow may be rougher than today. Again, I just have to wait and see.
So one treatment of the six is done and done. It's probably too much to ask that they all go so smoothly.