This is Me!

This is Me! The good, the bad, and the bald. You get it all! But I have hair now. This spring I'll be rockin the pixie.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Just Another Day at the Spa

Many of you have asked me what an actual chemo treatment is like.  I had my friend take a few pics on Monday so you can see.  It starts for me about an hour before I leave.  I didn't get a picture of this part so you'll have to imagine it.  I put a big blop (medical term meaning an amount equal to a dollop of sour cream) of Lidocaine, which is a numbing cream on my port site.  Then I use Press n Seal to cover  the area.  This keeps things clean and in place for the next hour.

On the way into town, we stop for some "treatment" treatment. Drinking iced beverages while receiving chemo is supposed to help prevent mouth sores.  I certainly don't want mouth sores, so iced Americano it is!  Then, it's off to the "Spa" aka - the Cancer Center.

All of the people that I have met here so far are quite amazing. Today I would have about three helping to give my treatment.  One of my nurses cleans off the Lidocaine and preps me for inserting a rather large needle into the port.  If the Lidocaine has done its' job, I won't feel a thing!  Here's hoping!!!   She leans in for the injection and......... Nothing!!!   Perfect!

Before they begin any injections, they run blood tests to make sure that my body has responded well to the last treatment and that blood counts have come back up.  We have to wait for the results.

Good news today!  Everything looks as it should. Treatments begin with a saline drip and all the anti nausea drugs.  After the last treatment, I learned a few things about how my body responded to the anti nausea pills I was taking at home.  I am going to try to skip one that we think gave me bad headaches.  If that doesn't work, we'll try something else.

The tank top isn't because it's so warm and tropical feeling in the room.  It simply makes it easier to access the port.  Actually, once they start the drips, I tend to feel a bit chilly.  This is when my new blanket comes in handy. 

After the anti nausea drugs and steroid, it's time to start with the chemo drugs.  The first one they give me is Adriamiacin and its' pretty nasty stuff. So much so, that a nurse hands pushes it, in case it leaks out of the port or connection and gets onto any surrounding tissue.  It can apparently cause a lot of damage and they want to be able to stop it immediately. This one makes me a bit nervous.  I am not sure that it helps that it is bright red so I can actually see it traveling along the tubing and then going in!  

The other chemo drug, Cytoxan, is just dripped in, but has its' own weird side effect.  About 15 minutes into the drip, my sinus area starts feeling like it is burning.  I didn't realize that they could simply slow the drip down and it would alleviate this problem.  See, I learned something new for next time.  After everything is finished, they do a Heprin block to prevent the port from clotting.  

The whole process for me is between 2-3 hours depending on which nurse or nurses I have and how quick they set things to drip in.  Each person has their own little area with a huge comfy chair, a few chairs for people who come with you, a nice flat screen tv, and for your snacking enjoyment, they have this kitchen area which is stocked with all kinds of great treats.  They have everything from juices, pops, and broth to jello, peanuts, and chips.  It is quite extensive and makes the waiting a bit yummier and so far I have been fortunate and haven't had the metallic tastes in my mouth that often  accompany chemo.

This weeks recovery has been a blessing.  I was quite out of it Monday night, but Tuesday I was feeling pretty good even after the Nulastin shot.  This shot to assist my body in white blood cell reproduction after being zapped.  I knew this was the week that I would likely start to notice the hair falling out and by Tuesday it was happening.  I made a decision to call in the troops and have a hair shaving party since I was feeling ok and may not be the rest of the week.  Most of you have probably seen the evidence of this on Facebook already, but just in case here are some of my supporters who went hard core with me. 

Some opted to show their support with color rather than with the razor.  Hey, to each his own.

The kids brought me dark chocolate for a chance to whack some of the hair off.  If it was really good dark chocolate, they got to take a pass or too with the clippers.  I didn't go straight to bald.  They buzzed me to a number 2 with a little spiky hawk down the middle.

My brother in Spokane is showing the love with his new buzz cut too.  He sent me this pic in a text.  I'm guessing his fiancé had a hand in it as well.  thanks!

The rest of the week was not too bad.  I had a couple of sick days and then by Saturday I was feeling good.  So good, that I was able to use the tickets given to me by a friend to drive to Seattle and see Christ Tomlin in concert.  It was also an opportunity to take my bald head on its' maiden wig voyage out in public.  With a little help from the teens in my house, I managed to head out on the town and leave the cancer behind for an evening.  I was even told by the gentleman who was managing the 5 Guys down south, that I could land an airplane with the rock in my necklace.  Hmmmmm, now we know why he is managing the 5 Guys and not working for Tiffany's or Jared's, just sayin.  He obviously doesn't recognize his vegetables, cause I assure you, there were no veggies on my neck that night.

All in all, I am so grateful to report to you that God has been ever present in this experience and this week was no exception.  Even through treatment number two, feeling sick and tired, and loosing my hair... I feel confident of this very thing, that he who began his good work in me will carry it on unto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6


  1. Glad the week went as well as can be expected :-) And I LOVE your hair -- both ways! luv ya! Tricia

  2. I LOVE your hair both ways, too (jealous of the wig, way nicer than mine was ;) )!!
    You're doing it, and prayers are coming in every single day for you!
    I hope this week isn't too hard on you. xoxo

  3. I'd love to go in with you sometime and sit for those few hours and visit.

  4. Thanks for sharing what a typical treatment is like as I have been so curious so it was great to hear the nitty gritty & see the pics too. Love the wig! So very in you know:). Love!

  5. Thanks guys but now my hair is even in another style.... GONE! Yes, I'll post that too.

  6. Nice job. I like the do, it looks good. This will be a great inspiration for your kids and friends. :-D

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