Yesterday I met with the Chemo Dr. Z and his nurses. He looks younger than me but was terrific! He studied and practiced in Boston, so I know he has great experience. His father is also an oncologist at MISTI. He said that it didn't matter where in the country I had treatment, that the treatment for ovarian cancer is the same. It is rough and powerful, but that is what we need to kill all the microscopic cells. He said that even though I had cancerous tumors on my colon, appendix, liver and else where they were still all from ovarian cancer which had spread and that I don't have colon cancer which was a great relief to me. He explained everything in detail, let me cry and told me his goal was to cure me. That gave me hope for sure. I really did have great peace as we prayed for before going to my appointment. My aunt Thalia came with us which I appreciated so much, given that she is a nurse and understands medicine.
I am starting Chemo on Tuesday, a little earlier than I planned. I just don't feel quite ready for this, but I know the sooner we start the quicker it will all be over with and I'll be on the road to recovery. Dr. Z told me I am going to be sick, very sick especially the first few days after chemo. I will have low energy, have cramping in my abdomen, and will have nausea and vomiting. They gave me 3 different nausea medications; that's a bad sign. Remember I hate to vomit! I was also told to take my pain medicines as needed, because I have cancer and no I am not going to become a drug addict, which I of course am afraid of given my work in the ER. I have been trying to skimp on taking the pain medicines, but I feel so much better when I take them, even though I think that I am finally feeling somewhat better. They say there are days that I won't want to get out of bed, but that I should get up every day and get dressed. They are right, because who doesn't feel better when they get themselves ready for the day.
There are 3 different chemo drugs that I will be given. I will have 3 treatments in 3 weeks, with the exception of the first and maybe the second treatments as they will only be given IV, because of the fact that I'm still healing from surgery. From then on out the regimen will be on days 1 and 2 and then 8 days later. This will start again every 3 weeks for 18 weeks. If all goes well and we don't have any setbacks with low blood counts or illnesses my last treatment would be the first week in November and I will hopefully be on my road to recovery around the holidays! This is definitely something to look forward to. There are 2 different ways to do chemo; IV and Peritoneal. The best is through a peritoneal portacath which means it goes directly into the abdomen, they put the port in during my initial surgery; it sits just above my pancrease. They said they roll me several times during chemo to get the medication throughout the abdomen. Hopefully by the time they do this I will be able to roll, given the fact that I still can't even sleep on my sides; only on my back. The other way is through an IV portacath that they actually inserted into my chest today. This was a rather quick surgery and they only put me under sedation, although I don't remember anything. I only woke up with a very sore neck and chest, which they say should improve in the next few days; and I can't use my left arm much for a few days. So the first chemo and maybe the second chemo treatment they will only do one day in 3 weeks which will be IV only. From then on out I will have both, depending on which days and which medications they are giving. They did mention several times that I will lose all of my hair within the first 3 weeks. I'm not ready for this and don't think that I ever will be. As they say in Little Women, when Meg's hair gets burned by the curling iron, "Oh Meg your one true beauty." Yep, that's mine. What I will do without my eyelashes and eye brows I have no idea, leg hair, arm pit hair I can live without for sure. They say I will also have to have several liters of fluids on days after chemo because they don't want me getting dehydrated, which is highly possible with the ileostomy and the chemo combination.
I had amazingly, wonderful nurses today as I have all through this ordeal. St. Luke's has been wonderful and makes me want to be part of their medical staff someday.
Tuesday will be a very big day: blood work, chemo IV, meeting with a genetic counselor, nutritionist and follow up with Dr. C. For the next 5 days I'm going to enjoy my family and Nick and his grandmother come on Friday! I can hardly wait.