Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chemo Round One

I really want to update you on this past weekend, because it was really nice, but I need to get to bed, but I wanted to update you on yesterdays first chemo treatment.  We left the house a little after 8am to get to MSTI(Mountain State Tumor Institute) by 9.  On our way there I mentioned to mom that I could feel at the specific time so many people saying prayers in my behalf.  It gave me great peace, even though I cried the minute I walked into the clinic.  I mean really, how could I not.  Everyone told me if I wasn't crying they would think something was wrong with me.  The waiting room was filled with several people, all much older than I which is even harder.  My nurse Starla was great.  She started off with drawing my labs to make sure my white and red blood cells and neutrophils where normal or high enough to have chemo.   If they are too low, I have to wait a few weeks for them to elevate before having another treatment.  My chemistry's where mostly normal, except for some slightly elevated liver functions, which are likely from taking tylenol for the headaches that the pain pills have been giving me.  This happened when I was in the hospital too and they took me off it and they normalized.  So no more tylenol for a while, but the headaches have let up the last few days.
They pre-medicated me with 2 different anti-nausea meds which I had never heard of before.  They use them only in chemo patients and are suppose to last for 2-3 days.  They also gave me claritin, instead of benadryl which they were going to give me to prevent allergic reactions.  The last time I took benadryl 14 years ago I couldn't wake up for an entire day.  They also gave me some ativan to calm me down, which helped with my tears, dexamethasone a steroid that helps with nausea and other side effects and Ranitidine which settles the stomach.  This will likely be the norm every time I have chemo.  My nurse accessed my chest port without any trouble and I barely felt it, thanks to the emla cream they had me put on the area 60 minutes before I came for treatment.  The chemo drugs were Taxol and Carboplatin.  They will only use the Carboplatin for this treatment and then use a different one when they put the chemo into the abdomen which will be in 3 weeks.
We had several visitors from the hospital and MSTI team yesterday, which made treatment and the day go rather quickly.  Several elderly volunteers brought us drinks and asked us if we were hungry at least every 10 minutes.  The cookie lady and her grandchildren brought us delicious chocolate chip cookies, of course not as good as our family recipe.  Apparently she brings them every Tuesday.  The chaplain Kelly came to visit first.  She was such a sweet lady and we discussed religion and I shared with her my  testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The genetic counselor was amazing.  She took a very precise family history and rather quickly.  I loved her map of my family.  It was interesting in her analysis that if this is truly a genetic cancer that it could come from either side, likely my mom's but because my dad had melanoma and melanoma is in the triad of breast and uterine cancer it is possible it came from him.  We will do the BRCA (breast cancer gene)1 and 2 next week and we will have the results in about 3 weeks.  She also informed me that less than 2 percent of the female population gets ovarian cancer and only 52 women in Idaho get it a year.   Crazy that I'm a statistic.  A social worked came in at one point as well as a lady who helps with billing and changing over to COBRA.  She discussed getting financial help through Social Security.  Thankfully I have a very nice savings account, thanks to living with my parents for the past year and a half and being a saver in general. I had a follow up with Dr. Cooper, she came to me instead of me having to go down to her office.  It was nice to see her and I know for her to see that I was doing better.  My next follow up with her will be in 2 months.  I got a complimentary lunch from their very large menu, that of course I wasn't able to enjoy while in the hospital because I was only allowed liquids for 2 weeks.  The quesadilla was delicious and so was the cheesecake!  I did squeeze in a little nap as I listened to my pandora.  I'm into piano music.  It relaxes me and helps me to sleep.  
Surprisingly I had a little energy after my treatment which wrapped up a little after 4pm and mom and I stopped by the wig store.  Everyone keeps telling me I need a wig before I lose my hair and I just haven't been ready for it.  With a little courage I walked into Kathy's (suppose to be the best wig shop around), stated I had just had my first chemo treatment and I needed to shop for a wig; as I of course said through a few tears.  The lady there was very nice.  I tried several on and actually it wasn't that bad.  They were very light, which I was surprised by.  I did find a few that are similar to my current style, but most have bangs and I'm not really a bang person, but might have to be soon, since I will need something to cover my missing eyebrows; ugh on that one.  I didn't make a purchase, because I want my cousin Callie and Tristen to come with me to make the purchase and lets face it I really am not ready to make that kind of a purchase yet, I do have a glimmer of hope that I won't loose my hair with the vitamins my mom makes me take every day.  Hopefully I will have some courage to actually buy one when or if that time comes.  Funny thing is they gave me a prescription for a scalp prosthesis and insurance does cover it; never thought I'd need one of those in my life time with how thick of hair I have on my head.
Last night we had a member from our ward bring the most delicious spinach lasagna.  Mom and I were starving by the time we got home, so that was nice.  Last night mom went to RS and dad had meetings.  Sometimes it's nice to be home a bit by myself.  The best part of my evening was the time I was able to to talk to my dear friend Lauren for nearly 2 hours.  We have been playing phone tag for the last week.  It was so good to talk to her.  She is such a great friend, I mean really any friend that is willing to help paint your house not once but twice and help you pack things up when you are moving is a friend for life!
Last night I woke up with tingling and weakness in my arms/hands and a little in my feet.  It was most annoying, but is a side effect from chemo.  Thankfully it went away, some but I did feel it a little when I napped.  I have felt rather good today, but took a long afternoon nap, after we had lunch at the Robins Nest.  This evening however I have had a little upset stomach, which seems to have dissipated a little while I've been blogging, but I took an ativan which helps with nausea, something I never knew before 6 weeks ago.
I have to drink fluids like they are going out of style, because Chemo dehydrates you.  This hasn't been the easiest but I going to make it my goal to drink 60 ounces a day, which is their suggestion, or else they make me have IV fluids, which is likely anyway when I start the IP chemo.
So there you have an update.  I hope to be feeling better tomorrow so I can blog about Nicks visit and finish my blog of my week one of my hospital stay.  Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts.  I really truly feel such peace from each one of them.

1 comment:

  1. Terra , thank you for the update. Its so good to hear from you and know how your doing, feeling and thinking. I called your mom yesterday to see how your day went and she said you were really tired so would be taking a nap. Deborah said she talked to you yesterday too. I check your blog every day so thanks again for the update. Your so loved by your entire family!! Love Aunt Leslie