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My 2nd Chemotherapy Session

9:40am. April 8th 2014. I just finished eating breakfast. I juiced celery, kale, carrot, grapefruit and had half a cup of dry multigrain Cheerios. Now I’m snacking on celery sticks. 

How I’m feeling: A little tired. My mouth has been really dry this morning. I’m hoping I don’t get nauseous today because throwing up is no fun. I’m feeling good that I have an appetite right now. 

Yesterday was my second session of chemo. I was anxious, nervous and just didn’t want to go. But I keep on reminding myself that each session is one step closer to kicking this cancer in the @$$.  The original plan was for me to have chemo every 21 days but my oncologist, Dr. C decided to have me do my 2nd session 17 days after. He felt that my body could handle recovering in time. A good thing! From what I understand, the time in between cycles accounts for some time you’ll go through hell (experiencing the side effects) and then strengthening back up in time for the next session.

My second session totally sucked the energy out of me. I was hooked to IV from 11:00am to 6:00pm and slept for most of the 7 hours other than when I was awoken every (what seemed like) 30 minutes or so when the nurse would come by to check my vitals or when the family across from me would be a little loud. But I was so tired that I passed right back out each time. For those of you whom are curious, I take in 4 medicines when I’m hooked up to the IV: Vincristine, Doxorubicin, Cyclophosphamide and Rituximab – in conjunction with my cocktail of medicine in pill form.

While normally, the family sitting across from me would have normally annoyed me (the group of 6 of them were very chatty and loud) I’ve realized throughout all of what I’m going through that loving company and support really does play a big role – even when you are ambushed with it. I have appreciated all the ambushed love I’ve received from those of you who have woman and man-ed up to fight this one through with me. It means so so much. That said, the chitter chatter actually made me happy for the patient across from me. To be awoken by the sound of laughter and loving support aint such a bad thing, is it?

The patient was getting his very first chemo treatment done. While, I’m terrible at guessing ages – I’d guess that he was in his 50s or 60s (I know, a huge gap. I told you I’m terrible) I could tell that it was his wife that was sitting by his side – as from time to time I’d catch them look at one another with loving admiration. It really warmed my heart. And I thought to myself, “They are so lucky and blessed to have one another through this” I think one gentlemen in the group was the patient’s son and the others were family friends. In fact, at one point he said to the nurse “These are my friends – but they are like family. Even closer than family”

That’s right. I totally ease dropped  – but they were only a few feet from me! I couldn’t help it. Also, they were persian (I grew up around a lot of persians and can detect the language in a heartbeat) and spoke a lot about one of my favourite things – food. I ended up talking to our shared nurse about my favourite persian dishes, desserts and restaurants in our city. He was impressed that I knew of all of the places he and his family frequent. As we were talking about it and how wonderfully diverse this city is, my heart skipped a few extra beats. I love my Toronto 🙂

Anyways, I did well in my session according to my nurse. He found my vein quickly, got it in one shot and even used the biggest IV needle. After I confirmed that I was “OK” with the pain, my nurse said that women are always stronger (no surprise there) and can take way more pain (Again. No surprise there). These PMH nurses are really great. At Toronto General Hospital (where I was initially admitted) it always took a few attempts and a couple of nurses to draw blood from me and/or get an IV in. Nurses tend to hate my small and deep veins. And I can tell you that being stabbed by needles a bunch of times and watching my arm swell because of it is no fun. Also, being pumped with antibiotics because there was some concern after my arm ballooned, was hot and was red that I had cellulitis was also not so fun as well.

This week, I’m in hiding. My immune system is at it’s lowest after chemo and I can’t afford to get sick, I’m feeling weak and based on my first chemo session my nausea is going to kick in really soon. I’m looking forward to when my energy is back up next week! Until then I’m going to focus on resting, sleeping, eating really well, researching natural remedies that will help me cope with chemo side effects, researching support/social groups for those in their 20s and 30s going through what I’m going through – and start a whole bunch of paperwork.

This Friday, I have an appointment with Dr. C, my oncologist to check in on how my mass is doing, how much it’s shrunken (fingers crossed), how I’m handling the 17 day cycle break, do some blood work and get x-rayed and scanned.  I’m both excited and anxious for that appointment. I just want all good news!

Thanks to my sis for sending me this message today:

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2 replies »

  1. Hurrah, you’re on the right track with your healthy eating and drinking regime. Juiced fruits, vegetables and legumes save my mom, who has colon cancer. They will save you too. Keep it up, Carolyn!

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