Treatments 1-3

I have discussed some issues surrounding the chemo treatments in previous posts, and will try not repeat myself here.

The Onc explained that after 3 treatments I would have a cat-scan to determine the degree to which the treatments were effective.

Just a reminder, I don’t recall a huge amount about this process so I rely on my husband person/caregiver/teacher (aka, Mr T) to make sure I am relating my experiences accurately

# 1 was a humdinger.  We met the nurse I would have for the entire process, she explained the ins and outs, procedures, etc.  And then we finally got to “the chair.”  These recliners were in pods of 4 chairs each.  So there were plenty of people with which to visit if one was so inclined.  Now I must admit, this first time in “the chair” was kind of weird.  The entire area was quiet as a morgue.  I kid you not.  Fortunately, it wasn’t like that for the subsequent 5 treatments.  In fact, it was the laughter by others getting treatments, their caregivers and, nursing staff that made the whole experience delightful.  But I digress …

My nurse (I will call here Melissa) was great.  She was a younger lady and was quite adept at balancing objectivity with compassion.  She never, repeat never gave me the “oh poor you” attitude.  That was very helpful.  Did she care?  Absolutely she did!  But she had to stay focused on the task at hand.  She was handling several of us at any given time.  In fact we were packed in there like sardines.

I opted to have the needle in my hand the first time.  The vessels in my hands were just asking to be stuck.  They were bulging and the needle went in very easily.  I will say, the advantage was that when I needed to use the bathroom, it was much easier if the needle was in my hand.  When it was in my arm, it was more of a pain.

My four bags consisted of anti-sick schtuff, Benadryl to fight allergic reaction, the BIGGIE bag with the really nasty chemical and, a smaller bag of chemical.  (I don’t count the last bag as it was just some saline solution to wash out the line).

First bag emptied … cool beans.  Second bag hung and drip started and wonder of wonders, one nurse took a look at me with my eyes swirling in my head and asked, “Are you ok?”  “Absolutely,” I said.  I was high as a kite.  I felt no pain.  Melissa commented to Mr. T at one point that I was “drunk.”  They had a good laugh.

And then came the core of the humdinger experience:  I suddenly felt very hot.  I was feeling really bad and we called the nurse over.  She took my temperature and then the game was on.  Folks moving quickly, doctor called.  I was having a bad reaction to the BIGGIE bag of chemical.  Not good.

The process was stopped for 10 minutes.  They then began the drip again at a slower rate.  It was necessary that I get this schtuff if I was to survive as the communist cancer cells needed to die.  A lot of folks were taking time to pray for me throughout this entire period of time.  The result … the slower drip did not produce the allergic reaction.  My treatments took 5 hours as a result.

And that was # 1.

Now the next two treatments did not produce the excitement of the first one.

If you have read the previous posts you know that humor was essential for me and Mr. T.  It was necessary to have some fun.  For example:  the day the dealibob on which the bags hung was not cooperating when I had to use the bathroom.

I would take a step or two and the crazy wheels would go in three different directions.  Now this isn’t cool when you have a needle stuck in your hand or arm.  After about the third or fourth step I blurted out loudly to the dealibob, “HEEL!  HEEL.”  The nurses started laughing and even a couple of patients were amused.  We all had a good laugh.

Mr T and I decided the dealibob needed to be named.  After some discussion I said to Mr T, ‘The name is Camshaft.’  So from that point on, I would instruct Camshaft on how to behave when I needed to use the bathroom.

The Cat Scan Results

We were praying for a positive result, meaning that the chemicals were doing their job at a decent level.  The report back to us was that there was an approximate 85% kill.  The Onc told us that while not unprecedented, it was unusual and was very pleased.  Evidently, I was the only lady person with cervical cancer this far advanced that had tolerated 3 treatments.  The Lord showed us mercy.


22 Comments on “Treatments 1-3”

  1. Gar Swaffar says:

    Titus 3: 5
    And you deserved it

  2. thedrpete says:

    The Lord showed you mercy and we readers here kindness and generosity.

  3. peppermintfarm says:

    Mrs. Al,

    Great description of what you went through. And you added a bit of humor. I’m so glad you got through all of this and God gave you back to us. I love the “Camshaft” name.

  4. Scott Sholar says:

    I will be praying for you.

    • Mrs. AL says:

      You are most kind, Scott. Just to refresh … my last treatment was Feb 6th of last year. And I are here! So far so good! And I do enjoy your blog.

  5. CW says:

    It’s very interesting to hear about what goes on for those of us who haven’t been there, so thanks again for sharing your experience.

    I don’t think it’s possible to underestimate how much it means to have good doctors and nurses. I’ve seen both, and it makes such a difference. I’m happy for you that you had good people helping you with your treatment.

    • Mrs. AL says:

      CW, part of the reason I decided to do this is because there may be someone out there who needs another perspective on all we experienced. My hope is that someday, someone will relate different experiences. This kind of battle is very personal. And you are most welcome!

      I agree about the Docs and Nurses. They are key. What really concerns me about the present state of affairs in the healthcare community is that there are many who may not get the level of treatment I received. With the insurance industry in turmoil and folks losing their insurance right and left …. it’s very scary.

      • CW says:

        I can tell you that when we were having so many problems with my dad that the information we found on the internet from people sharing their experiences was a godsend. And yes, the state of the health/insurance industry is very scary. Unfortunately many people may not apprciate the danger until the time comes that they need care.

        • Mrs. AL says:

          Should you decide, please feel free to share some of your experiences with your Dad, This is not a ‘formal’ blog and anything goes at any time with any condition. Stressful situations are stressful situations. And mine is by no means the only POV.

          Danger, indeed. I think about the many people I met also getting treatment and their families. The money end of getting treatment for these types of life threatening conditions is not easy to deal with any way. And as we both know, you don’t need the additional stress during these times.

  6. tannngl says:

    Well done, Mrs. AL. Your description is wonderfully real and I can picture our own chemo center.

    You are blessed. God has something special for you to do. I’m sure this is part of it. Thanks for this blog. ♡

    • Mrs. AL says:

      You are most kind, tannngl. It is my prayer it is helping someone else and their caregiver.

      Care to share more about your chemo center? The more discussion the better. Just like each patient, each “chemo palace” (phrase my husband person uses) has its own unique personality.


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