Friday, January 23, 2009

Chemo sesh #1

I recently began drafting a blog that included information about the clinical trial side effects, and my trip to D.C. which I had promised...oh about 15 days ago? Now, as exciting as those topics are, I figured that my first round of chemo kinda trumps them, so said blog has been put on the back burner for the time being.

Tuesday, January 20th was the scheduled date for round one of six chemo treatments at the London Regional Cancer Program . As I am not allowed to drive myself, my mom and I headed out at about 8am for our 9:30 appointment.

In my whole life, I have no recollection of ever seeing a rainbow (or even part of one) in winter, until that day. Although I have no pictorial evidence, I can assure you that, albeit small, it was there. We took a little comfort in perceiving it as a bit of a good omen.
sunrise en route

Upon arriving and checking into clinic 3 at the cancer center, you are given these handy little guys.
E55 was my number for the hemo-lab. Lucky for me, the wait was only about 10 minutes until the special comfy blue chair was all mine. This comfy blue chair will be the first of three stops that I make every time I go for chemo. Prior to my treatment, I am to have my blood drawn and tested to ensure that my white blood cells, hemoglobin and platelets are all within healthy ranges. If not, then my chemo has to be postponed for a week (or until they are normal again).
The blue thing on the left is a pager for my doctors appointment. Whenever the doctor is ready to see you, it buzzes like a manic bumble bee.
Mom and I in the exam room

Although we weren't given the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Vandenberg, we were able to speak with Dr. Shim (his resident). She was the one that delivered the good news that my cancer has not spread to my bones or my liver... what a relief that was to hear.

Just prior to withdrawing from the exam room, Dr. Shim asked us to take a slip of paper to Clinic 4. There we received yet another big angry bee of a beeper, and were told that the chemo itself wouldn't be taking place for another 45 minutes. Ugh.

We managed to round up some (terrible) soup for lunch and shortly thereafter, the pager summoned us back up to the chemo clinic. A very sweet nurse whisked us down one wing of a huge L shaped room to an awaiting chair. The nurse gave me 2 warm blankets and tried to help me get nestled into what would be my resting place for the next 2 hours.

The room where the chemo is given is huge. I imagine it could easily fit at least 100 people. I never envisioned that there would be so many people having chemo at once. It was a rather eye-opening experience (and more than a little unsettling, to put it lightly).

Getting comfy

Getting needled

Getting IV'd

My Chemo meds

The first of the 3 meds that I was given was 5-Fluorouracil(flue-row-YOUR-a-sill). It is injected directly into the IV via a needle. The nurse regulates the injection, as seen below-

After the nurse finished with the 5-Fluorouracil, I was then administered Epirubicin (e-pee-ROO-bi-sin) in the same manner as the previous drug. This drug is bright red, and as you may have guessed, comes out looking much the same as it went in. ha.

Getting taped up for a trek to the washroom
My triumphant return

The last of the drugs was called Cyclophosphamide I.V. (sigh-clo-FOS-fa-mide). As you can probably tell from the name, it is an IV drip that takes about 45 minutes to finish.
I don't have any pictures of it being administered, cause it was kinda boring to be honest.
I.V. Finishee

Not feeling so hot at home

Overall, The chemo hasn't made me feel as bad as I figured it would. I have yet to throw up (keeping fingers crossed), and the only real problem I've been having is grogginess and loss of appetite. Every time I think about food, I want to throw up.
With a little luck, this will resolve itself shortly.
There are a few more pictures here, if you care to check them out.

Oh... and wigs are WAY expensive! After chemo, mom and I popped into one store in London (before I started feeling like crap) to take a gander. The only one that I was interested in, that kinda, sorta came the closest to resembling my hair now, cost $400. I can't begin to conceive of how I could justify spending that kind of cash on something that I need for only half a year or so. Dang...between that and prosthetic boobs, I'll be in the poor house for sure.


Randy and Pam Warner said...

1 down five to go - glad it wasn't too terrible although it looks like it makes you feel like crud. Fantastic news that it has not spread.
Our best to you
Randy and Pam

iamthenarwhal said...

i think the beeper thingy is the funnest part.

iamthenarwhal said...

only 5 more wooooooo

euchlid said...

hey megs you need to rock the bald head... way more awesome... pretend its 1996 and you are realllllly into tank girl

Anonymous said...

what i can't believe in all of this is how pretty you can look getting chemo. so far, every time you should be looking like crap (surgery, recovery, chemo), you still look beautiful. what the crap.

lucky said...

that sunrise pic is amazing...

i wish i could take some of the stuff off my butt to make you a boob. wouldn't that work out well?

yeah, you are probably right. nevermind.


Lallen said...

Too bad your hair hadn't been longer before your recent haircut. You could have made a wig of your own hair. :) Hey has Brad grown his long again yet ??;)

Mae said...

Euchs- Sadly, i've never watched tank girl... but if there ever was such an occasion to do it, this is it. Any other movies with bald actresses that I should be enjoying?

Lucky- Now...whatever would we tell people? Hi, this is my friend Lucky...and this used to be her butt (pointin to my chest).

Lisa- Sadly Brad isn't in need of a haircut, and luckily neither is Uncle Chuck. ;)

lucky said...

they would be all, "why is that boob jigglier than the other one??"

oh, the jokes could go on forever! comedy gold, i tell you.

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