Yesterday I went for my second round of chemo. I go once every 2 weeks for the first 4 rounds. I thought it might be a little quieter there yesterday since it was the day before a holiday. But it was extra busy as they worked in some of the patients due for treatment on 1/1.
First I had a blood draw to check my counts. I love my port… no sticking needles in my arm for this blood draw… they just attached the butterfly looking thing (Huber Safety Needle) to my port and draw the blood through it. The infusion nurses do the blood draw in the infusion lounge, and then leave the Huber attached to me for the upcoming chemo infusion. After the blood was drawn and sent to the lab then we sat in the auxiliary waiting area for the appointment with the oncologist. Dr. Jones was out yesterday and I got to see a nurse practioner, Coleen. She was great… and running waaaay behind. That was fine, I didn’t have anyplace to go, and Kevin and I had books to while away the time.
The MA got my vital signs, and Beth, the RN who works with clinical trial patients, came into the exam room and just talked, asking questions about how things went in the last two weeks, and giving advice for the heartburn, etc. She is super friendly and would probably have stayed and talked for an hour if Coleen hadn’t come in!
Side note: Have I mentioned that I got a JURY DUTY notification in the mail last week?!! I haven’t been called for jury duty in years… so of course it comes at time that is rather inconvenient. I took the notice along with me yesterday and Beth was johnny-on-the-spot at getting a doctor’s excuse written up and printed out for Coleen to sign and for me to send in to get excused. She says it happens all the time.
Coleen said my labs looked great. My neutrophil count is actually slightly higher than my baseline from mid-December… because of the Neulasta! All my counts (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) were within a normal range – which meant that it was okay to proceed with the chemo part of my visit.
So Coleen accompanied me back to the infusion lounge and actually pointed at a reclined and said “why don’t you sit there” – which was very nice of her… and it was the same spot I was in two weeks ago! This time I made use of the small TV next to the recliner and had the Oregon vs Michigan State football game on. The infusion was the same process as last time. It started with pre-chemo meds to help me deal with the chemo… a Benadryl pill, IV Dexamethasone (steroid that helps with inflammatory response and nausea), IV Ondansetron (anti-nausea that tells your brain you aren’t nauseous – AKA Zofran), and IV Emend (anti-nausea). That takes up to an hour, and makes me kind of sleepy. Then I received the chemo meds… Adriamycin and Cytoxan. That takes up to an hour.
The Adriamycin is administered by hand – my nurse has a big syringe of it (100cc syringe I think – it’s about an inch in diameter and 7 inches long) and the med is red. I mentioned before that it makes you pee pink for a few times… well after Karin had slowly administered the Adriamycin, flushed the line, and started the Cytoxan drip, I went to the bathroom with my friendly IV pole, and I already had pink pee! I was surprised that the color went through my system so fast!
I had planned to read while I reclined, but I watched the football game, ate my mini-lunch … I brought along a cheese sandwich and yogurt, and picked out some hearty fig newtons from the snack cart as well. And the highlight of the day was getting to see the therapy dog, Sybyl, again. Last time I was there it was Sybyl’s first visit to NorthStar. This time it was her second visit… I guess we are on the same schedule! I didn’t read, and I didn’t sleep.
Kevin came with me for the blood draw and the visit with the nurse practitioner, saw me settled in for my infusion, then left to do his own stuff – turns out that he fed the dogs, went for a 2 mile walk, and started making a batch of bread. I texted him when I thought it would be about 20 minutes more and he timed his return perfectly. He drove me home and I went to bed and slept for a few hours, got up for an hour, then slept until supper was ready. Kevin made a rosemary chicken in the sous vide, pasta with a garlic cream sauce, and carrots, for our supper – and I didn’t have any problem eating! He takes such good care of me.
Then I went to bed, and slept fairly well until about 4 a.m…. It’s 5:30 a.m. now. I’ve been up since 4, but I figure I can nap all day if I want. But I’ll probably watch the Rose Bowl, since Teresa is there! Maybe I’ll see her, right? Y’all can watch for her too… she’s the one with purple lipstick.