First chemo

Nicole was my chemo nurse today, which meant she was the primary person who put each medication on my stand and started the IV through the port. You can see me all set and ready to get started in the photo.

All set to start adding drugs to my port

All set to start adding drugs to my port

I didn’t bother with the pain-numbing cream over my port. It just seemed like too much work for a little needle stick that hurts for only five seconds.

I get nine drugs each time I come for chemo. They start out with two anti-nausea drugs, Emend and Aloxi. Next I got an IV injection of a steroid, dexamethasone. I have to take the steroid the day before and for three days after to prevent edema from one of the chemo drugs. Yesterday, after taking my second dose of the dexamethasone, I noticed my first side effect – the lower side of my forearms was tingly and I felt pressure in the muscle. It was the weirdest feeling that went away about six hours after taking the dose. I know, because I was still awake at midnight, and 2am, and several other times in the night. I’m hoping that was mostly nerves, because I’d like to be able to sleep for the next few days.

After the steroid, I got Pepsid, to prevent heartburn and an allergic reaction. Then came Benadryl, which made me feel a little drunk and made my legs twitch (odd, but a common side effect). Finally, I got to my chemo drugs. We started out with a slow drip of Taxotere. Allergic reactions are common enough with this drug, they monitor you closely, and start it slow, increasing the drip rate over time. Next was Carboplatin, a pt78platinum-based chemo drug. I got two Tylenol, and then the last drug, Herceptin. Herceptin is a biological, treating specifically HER2-positive cancers. It’s not technically chemo, so it has less side effects, but I will get that one for a full year.

All the nurses are quite chipper and helpful. Although I pretty much had the place to myself when I started at 9am, by 1pm, all the chemo chairs have filled up. However, any of the nurses in the chemo area were able to help out. Ever once in a while, someone would be by with snacks and drinks if I wanted anything. The chemo room is pretty cold, and you’re sitting all the time. I ended up in a sweater, long pants, and still needed a blanket over my legs. I’ll have to force myself to wear pants to all chemo days, or I will be quite cold.

Overall, wasn’t a bad start to the process. We got in at 8am to see the doctor, and were out by 3:30pm. The only drug I noticed going in was Benadryl, and that wasn’t at all surprising. Now to see what the side effects are going to be like.

Element added: platinum