Treatments 1-3Posted: January 7, 2014
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.