Chemo buddy & Me
Posted December 5, 2009on:
It’s not that much fun to get chemotherapy if you are the patient, and not so much fun to watch someone else hooked up to these poisons, life-saving as they may be. Of course, I’m sure it’s better to be the watcher rather than the recipient. Who wants to need this stuff, after all?
My dear friend, Gayda, came with me Friday for my latest treatment, which was truly a marathon and not a sprint. The last time Gayda came with me I received Adriamycin and Cytoxan (AC). It was much more difficult than Taxol, but it also went in much faster – in about an hour or so after the pre-medications to keep me from getting sick.
I was usually out of the cancer center with those treatments after three or four hours total with AC, including included blood counts, visiting the doctor and then treatment. There are waits between all these things, just par for the course.
Friday’s visit took about six hours plus. I had the usual blood drawn plus another sample for a genetics study to learn if I have the abnormalities prevalent in women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent (Central or Eastern Europe).
If I have them, I would be at higher risk for ovarian cancer, too. I’d probably have my ovaries removed as well – but not this week.
It’s important information for my kids, too, as they are related to me. And clearly should have chosen better parents – at least medically.
As far as the Taxol, I know I was supposed to get rid of my impatience immediately as Dick and I laughed about last time, but the length of the treatment really does test me. It’s takes more than three hours for Taxol to drip in once everything else has been done, a reason the visit was six hours plus. Gayda hung around, except for picking up lunches for us from the Franciscan Skemp cafeteria.
During those three hours I slept for a while, thanks to Benadryl. I was in a deep, deep sleep and I was even snoring a bit when the nurse who is responsible for the genetics testing woke me.
She had to tell me that according to the national guidelines, I probably am eligible for only one of the tests since I was diagnosed after age 45. That’s fine with me as the test I will get is much less expensive.
Gayda and I then played a game of Scrabble. She is new to the game, but I’m showing her the tricks – and there are many in Scrabble.
I’m really grateful to Gayda for coming with me. As I said, it’s a long day.
The big news from Friday is that I mentioned to my oncologist that if both of my last two chemotherapies are on schedule, the final one would be on December 31. I was willing to come in on New Year’s Eve. I love to party, as you can see.
She’s taking December 31st off so Dr. Gill suggested December 30 and it’s scheduled now. I can’t tell you how excited I was by that. Gayda knew; she heard me say it several times.
MY LAST CHEMOTHERAPY WILL BE DECEMBER 30, ASSUMING MY COUNTS REMAIN GOOD. AND, THEY SHOULD.
I’ll still have radiation next year for six weeks, five days a week, but there is light at the end of the chemotherapy tunnel. (Hopefully, it’s not a train, as the saying goes.)
Stay tuned. My next blog entry will pose the question: What has changed most about me since my treatment started?
Feel free to hazard a guess.