Chemo Journal Notes

It's been five days since my first-ever chemotherapy treatment. Here's what I'm thinking:

  • I've learned more about myself.
  • I am listening to my body.
  • I'm grateful to God for His mercy.
Following is my journal from last week's trip.

CTCA Staff: I felt so prepared. They all walked me through the whole process, step-by-step. I knew what to expect. No mystery.

My sweet Texas Belle: Rachel was such a help! She is an encourager. Wonder where she gets that from? Rachel carried things, ran errands, massaged my shoulders before the treatment and rubbed lotion into my hands during. My Belle kept me company during the treatment and got me home when it was all over. You have no idea what a comfort it is to have your daughter tuck you in after a big day.

CTCA Infusion Center: As nice as the hospital is, the infusion center is that much better. I was ushered to a nice suite with an upholstered recliner and rocking chair. The recliner had heat and massage. Yep. My nurse, Nancy, walked me through each step one more time, asked for any more questions, and then gowned up. My port had already been accessed the day before, so she merely had to hook on the IV fluids. They started with saline and loaded on two big doses of Benedryl and some steroids, in case of an allergic reaction. It felt cool at first, followed by drowsiness. Didn't sleep; just felt relaxed. We laughed with Nancy. She asked what I was listening to on my MP3 player. Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough." Chemo humor. When Nancy loaded the bag of Taxotere, I said a silent prayer for healing, along with gratitude for His blessings. A second bag with Cytoxen finished the five-hour marathon. Actually, it went pretty fast. We read, watched TV and ate dinner. I didn't feel sick. I didn't feel weird. I didn't feel pain.

Cool Stuff: There is a concierge in the infusion waiting room to help you with any questions, schedule future treatments, flights, free massages, grilled cheese's ridiculous. I got my first pretty bra and real prosthetic this trip. I feel quasi-normal again. (Face it, I've never been really normal.) Spent time with "Tory," the CTCA therapy dog. She's a giant poodle and sweet as that first bite of ice cream. Under the category of Now-I've-Seen-Everything: there was a caricature artist doing portraits of diners in the cafeteria at lunch the last day. Is this heaven? No, it's a cancer hospital.

Side Effects: The morning after my infusion, I had a injection of Neulasta, to boost my white blood cells and prevent infection. In the first two days after treatment, I felt a little tired and I had several bouts of hiccups. At the end of day two, my neck and shoulder muscles were sore. By Saturday morning, I was really sore all down my back and fatigued. I spent the day napping and relaxing. Pain was controlled by Tylenol. No nausea to date. A bit of growling guts. I monitor my temperature twice a day. Blood work will be done once a week at my family doctor's office. Mouth tastes like metal. All.The.Time.

After a quiet, restful weekend, I feel pretty much like myself today. Sore muscles started to let up on Sunday and are even better today. I'm so grateful to get great medical care, have a supportive family and loads of people praying for me. One down, five to go!


Female in Motion Exercise Update: I did two 30-minute treadmill workouts on Monday and Tuesday last week. I was too stiff and sore to work out the rest of the week, but was back at it this morning. Exercise is important to my health and happiness. I've lost three more pounds.


Notable Quote:

Psalm 105:1-5 (KJV) O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;


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