Chemo #5 done...but what an adventure!!!)
I have to start by saying how eternally grateful I am for the Chemo Unit I am blessed to be in. There are a ton of benefits to being in the smaller unit in the city...besides the 10 minutes from my house...I am surrounded by the same core of nurses every time I go to treatment. There are 4 that I have gotten to know quite well over the last 4 treatments we know each other by name and know stuff about each other and each of our quirks and personalities....which I must say made a big difference today.
I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to new drugs and my body...it's always a krap shoot. There were a few surprises this time....my last cocktail took about 2 hours from start to finish...this one was supposed be just over 5 hours (2 pre-drugs 15 mins apart then 15 min wait then the chemo for 3 hours)...except for yesterday when we took over 6+ hours thanks to a lovely mess of side effect/reactions right in the middle of infusion. My nurse/friend told me IF I felt anything unusual. no matter how small or seemingly insignificant to let her know. She reinforced it with me a couple of times because she said "I know you....you never whine or complain about anything but this is important to let me know" So I knew she was serious and I needed to pay attention. About 90 minutes into the chemo drug part I started getting heaviness in my chest, a miserable headache and a real sore throat...so I told her...WELL...they moved like lightening!!! The curtains were drawn, the pharmacist suddenly appeared, the doctor was called and another nurse came flying over. (She was one of my friend/regulars too) She took one look at me and said "Where did your rosy cheeks go girl, you have no color? And she grabbed my arm noticing that I was really clammy . They started shooting me full of anti-reaction drugs and at this point stopped chemo ...then they made me sit for 45 mins until I was completely back to normal. Then we restarted the chemo with the "slow boat" infusion of half speed for 45 mins to be sure I wouldn't react again then finished up at full speed. So the next one they will add all these anti-reaction measures before we start the chemo bag and so it should run smoother.It is an interesting feeling sitting watching the entire Chemo unit fill up with people and empty out during my stay. I always felt sorry for the patients that were there before I came and I left behind during my last sessions... know I was the LAST one to leave....weird.
I met some great women today and was able to help one who was there for her first treatment who was really nervous so that was really nice...and I met a woman married 68 years...she was way cool.
LESSON LEARNED TODAY:....step outside yourself and engage with others around you....you never know when or what you have to offer will calm their fears and who can brighten your day with a smile. We are all in there together going thru the same icky mess of drugs for different kinds of this lousy disease....we need to be there for each other....we are kind of a "cancer made" community and we need to remember that sometimes it takes a village to help/lift/heal each other. Just because you don't look like the old you....doesn't mean that YOU aren't still inside and you need to be ready to reach out to others...let the Lord work thru you...you just may be the answer to their prayer for comfort, friendship, a smile to let them know they aren't alone in this. Listen for those promptings and then be brave and act on them...step outside you own little chemo world and look around...you are there for more then just yourself.