Wednesday, December 12, 2012

purple power port, chemical cocktail, chest wounds

Yesterday was my first chemotherapy treatment. I had all sorts of, so far, unfounded fears. The port install went just fine, although I thought they were a bit stingy with the Versed. I was looking forward to a long nap but I was barely in and out of wakefulness, no pain but awareness of them fiddling around with me, then fully awake as soon as they finished. I like to be less conscious than that.

I ordered breakfast which was waiting for me when I got back to my curtained cubby hole. The eggs were cold but I don't mind them that way and it all tasted great, not having eaten since the day before. The photo at the top was my destination: Chemo Chair #8, Andreas Cancer Center.

My chair hos lots of comforts: massage, heat, foot-rest, back recline, cup holder, and television remote. The nurses or volunteers will bring coffee, water, and pretty much your heart's desire. We packed a little bag lunch of peanut butter sandwiches, nuts, crackers, and dried fruit.

Regis sat with me most of the time as they hooked up bag after bag, I think there were 8. a bag of saline, a bag of antibiotic, a bag of anti-nausea stuff, then another, then a steroid to make the anti-nausea bag work better, then the real stuff. One of the real chemos (and you can tell them because the nurses suit up like they are approaching ET) came in a giant tube of red liquid. It makes your pee red for a couple days. TMI?

I had to pick up four prescriptions on the way home. Since they weren't ready, we dropped into Tav on the Ave for a glass of wine and some popcorn. I think that helped as much as anything.

So now, I'm dinged on both wings: the scar and potential swelling under my left arm, the stitches over my left breast, the hole up near my collar bone where they snaked the port tube in, and a  minor lump further down where the port is. Don told me they aren't purple anymore but clear, which is not nearly so much fun. I am pretty sure that all these owies will prevent me from doing household chores like dishes and cleaning.

I'm going to follow my friend, Jan's philosophy which is try very hard not to act like a sick person and to have fun every day. First...a short nap.


Caroline said...

Napping is very important during chemo. I'm glad it went well. My husband came with me to almost all my chemo rounds. We would play scrabble to pass the time. He liked it when the drugs would kick in and I could only figure out 2 letter words. I have friends who would bring knitting, DVDs to watch, play computer games, etc. Good luck and sleep well!

Amanda said...

you look great! you're so brave.

Anonymous said...

dear theresa,

i am so glad all went well with your first day of chemo, the port insertion, and how wonderfully you were treated at the cancer center. oh, yes - versed - my fave, too, but i agree the effect should last longer!

reading your blog is helping me as i approach the day on which i was diagnosed nearly one year ago. i brings back all kinds of memories, which i need to help me with all of the surrealness i feel. it is more shocking to me than it was when i first heard the have ST IV metastatic breast looking back, seeing i made it through to N.E.D.

i think we are kindred spirits. what your writing conveys is that you are a woman with such a deep appreciation for the pleasures of life, ones that can never be taken for granted - your wonderful regis, your mom, grandchildren gus, your friends, wonderful food and drink, a proclivity to feel joy and contentment, and the abiding comfort you glean from nature. i love that you never shy away from the truth of your feelings; your inimmitable (does that have 2 "m's"?)sense of humor is a delight, but when you feel pain, anxiety, or sorrow you acknowlege it in ways i know resonates with your readers. it sure does with me. and it helps me see that i was blessed with so many of the same gifts, that it basically boils down to a keenly honed sense of gratitude. and now i realize THAT'S what got me through the year long gig with BC! and i will be BELIEVING that it will be what gets you to the other side as well.

keep writing! you do it so beautifully. i am so happy i found your blog.

love, XOXO,

karen, TC