Friday, August 8, 2014

First chemo, last notion of normal

My very first chemo is on a Friday.  On Sunday, I will tell my boss that I've had worse hangovers and to expect me at work. I have some shit brained notion of being able to work at my full capacity all through treatment. It lasts about 48 hours.

It's simple, really. Insert needle into port, deliver cocktails. At first, it will take 6 hours or more. It is due to all the separate infusions and the need to ensure I do not go into cardiac arrest or otherwise die the first few times. I also get anti-nausea drugs (Zofran) and a steroid, along with Carboplatin, Taxotere, Perjeta and Herceptin. 

Carboplatin and Taxotere are for any little scoundrel cancer cells that may be in circulation systemically.  There really is no way to convey the mixed emotions when seeing your nurse double glove, mask and gown up when handling sealed containers of these two drugs, then only to put them in your jugular.  I wanted to cower while simultaneously thrusting out my chest to receive them.  

The Herceptin and Perjeta are for my specific HER2 positive cancer.  In short, they stop the proliferation. Cancer can't handle their party-busting ways. Together, they really kick ass. I feel grateful to have them in my veins, terrified about them turning on me.  My port is very tender and the needles hurt.

My nurses are Donna and Marisel. Donna has decades of experience and gets all the newbies. We love her instantly because she takes all my sick jokes with hearty laughter. Marisel finishes me up, and is very methodical. She says she got into oncology nursing because her auntie died from breast cancer. She is warm and caring.

I must return Sunday for a Neuplasta injection, to help my white blood cells rebound from the killer drugs.  I set up my next lab draw appointment and depart. I am tired and stressed but otherwise feel normal. 

It won't get worse, right?