Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lucy vs. Chemo - Round One

Why do I feel like there should be the Rocky theme song playing as you read this?  Oh, I know.  Because that would be dumb & look how well it turned out the last time I put music on the blog!

Matt took me to Dr. Seisholtz’ on Tuesday for my first round of chemo.  It took over an hour to see him (see, Doctor, I TOLD you I was telling).  We finally did, & he was his usual charming self, which almost made up for being so late – almost.  Of course, I was nervous, but again, those nurses!  I swear, you must have to take some type of oath that says you’re a very kind & caring individual to work with cancer patients.  I haven’t run into one yet that’s made me want to slap her.  Just saying.

They finally hooked me up by my port, & man, was that uncomfortable.  The needle seemed to go in further than for the venofer (iron infusions) treatments that I’d undergone.  I was squirming like a fish on a hook.  Apparently, enough that Dr. Seisholtz noticed, & ordered something called, “Ativan” to be put into the IV.

Now, here’s the funny part.  Remember I’d said earlier in this that I’ve had more surgeries than your average 10 folks put together?  I’ve always let current doctors know that, & that due to that fact, I have a very high tolerance for pain meds & such.  Dr. Quiros (hi, Doctor!) told me that during my mastectomy, the anesthesiologist had a hard time keeping me asleep.  So, I know what I’m talking about here folks.

The nurse told me that this medicine was going to make me very sleepy & I should just relax & take a nap, which made me giggle.  I let her in on the big secret – if it can fell an elephant, than, yes, I’ll be looking at the insides of my eyelids.  Of course, she was thinking I was joking . . . . .   so, for the next 3 hours, I sat knitting, answering emails, & listening to music.  The drug did manage to relax me, but sleep?  My body taunted the drug, then came back around & taunted it for a second time.  Silly drug – my body mocks you & the IV line you rode in on.

I should backtrack at this point, however.  Before chemo was administered, they drew blood, to check my blood cell counts & my hemoglobin (Hgb) levels (they can actually do this there at the office – freaky scary technology).  Remember, the normal Hgb count for a woman is 13.5 to 14.5 g/dl.  I was at a whopping 6, which was why I had the two venofer infusions.  They “spun my blood” & were astonished to see that I’d only advanced to 7 g/dl.  I’m telling you, I’m part Borg!  The Borg side wants nothing to do with human blood cells.

They decided to add another does of venofer during chemo, which added 45 minutes to the therapy session.  But, it wasn’t bad, since I had things to keep me occupied – mainly my music.  Dakota has “lent” me his ear buds, so I can blast my music without setting off any decibel monitors.  I put the word lent in quotation marks since he hasn’t gotten them back just yet.  I guess I need to replace them, since I LOVE them!  My ears are usually ringing when I’m done, but, I was a rock singer for years.  If I didn’t damage them during those years of traipsing around with a band, I think I’m good.  Here's proof of my misspent youth:

Or, it could be the whole Borg thing again – don’t know, don’t care.

Side bar:  Speaking of ear buds & how loud I blast my music . . . . .  You know what?  I’ll put that at the end of this. 

Finally, the infusion fest was over & it was time to go home.  I know this is going to sound silly, but do you know what it feels like to be a science experiment or a dough ball trying to rise?  I do.  My entire family watched me like a hawk the rest of the day & pretty much, since.  If I sneeze, two to three people come running.  “Mommy, are you ok?”   “Yes, baby, mommy’s fine”.  And if I cough?  Holy Cow!  You’d think I was wheezing for my last breath.  Coughing had the tendency to bring any & all family members within a 5 mile radius, faster than the speed of light.  Throw in Michele, & you’ve got a full house.  Family, sometimes a cough is just a cough.

The day following chemo, patients are now given a shot which is used to counteract the awful side affects from chemo.  It’s called Neulasta, & it raises your white blood cell count.  This should protect you against infections, & keep you as safe as possible from the poison they just pumped into you.  However, it makes your body work extra hard to produce said blood cells.  This makes you sick; very, very sick.

Dr. Seisholtz warned that it would be rough & that I’d feel as if I had the worst flu in the world.  My joints would be sore, I’d feel like a truck hit me, & even my hair follicles would ache.  Of course, I’m invincible, & I’d willed myself to not have even one of those symptoms.  Plus, the chemo didn’t bother me, so I seriously doubted that it would bother me even a little bit.  . . . . . I remembered my arrogance the following day as I lay in bed, moaning.

Now, folks, I’m an upbeat person; or at least, I try to be.  But I can also be a huge, whimpering baby when I’m not feeling well.  I whined like a toddler whose pacifier had been taken away from them – seriously.  Honestly, you’d have thought that I was on a rack being tortured somewhere.  That shot made me feel like the flu was a sissy’s virus & I pride myself on not being a sissy.

So, Thursday & Friday were spent in bed, wishing there was a happy little Neulasta fairy somewhere, poised to sprinkle feel better fairy dust over me.  Sadly, there is no such fairy.  That’s probably better, though.  Seeing how lousy I felt, if some pretty little sprite had come into the room, waving a teeny little wand, making pretty little noises with her teeny little bells & grinning from her teeny little ear to her other teeny little ear, I probably would have shot her.

Today, I’m feeling better.  Not 100% percent, but better.  I’m hoping that my mood will be on an even keel, & that set backs will be few & far between.  At least I hope I can keep my murderous urges to shoot innocent imaginary pixies at bay.  Wish me luck.

Speaking of listening to my music a bit too loud. . . . .

I was trying to be considerate of others in the chemo ward.  So, I asked Matt if people could hear; while I had the music blaring in my ears.  I discerned that he said no, but apparently, the whole room & the hospital down the road heard my query.  Thinking he was being obnoxious, I called him a name.  Not his name, a bad name.  Well, not the worst name I could use, but, still.  OK, OK, I called him a “dick”.  He promptly pulled one of the ear buds out, & whispered, “Everyone heard that, too”.

Kids, learn a lesson from your Aunt Lucy.  Never say bad words.  Never say bad words when you have music blaring in your ears.  Never say bad words when others are around.  And ESPECIALLY never say bad words in a room full of elderly folks, who are already quite annoyed at having to deal with chemo (& as such, are exceptionally ill tempered), who’ve been giving the stink eye since before your mother was born, perfected it to an art form, & thus have the ability to make you feel as if you just stood up & as loud as humanly possible, called upon Satan in middle of St. Peter’s Basilica while the Pope was saying High Mass.   OK?  Lesson learned.


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Angela said...

Sorry it was not going easily. Even though you are a super studly mama, I wish you weren't having to prove it! Hugs!!

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