Saturday, December 5, 2015

First Day of Chemo Therapy

I had the first session today.  The day went very well. So much better than I had dared to hope!

My cousin who was accompanying me got here by 6:45 a.m. and we left the house at 7:15 a.m.  I drove my car while cousin followed in her car (she was trying to familiarize herself of the route so that she can take me on future sessions).  Traffic wasn't too bad - it's what the TV traffic reporters call "Friday light".  What that means in So. California terms is that the freeways were a solid parking lot!

We got to the clinic by 8:30 a.m.  In plenty of time for appointment at 9:00 a.m.  I was called in more or less on time.  I asked if  my daughter and cousin could come in and was told yes.  Lots of other patients were also accompanied by a friend or family member, although I was the only one with two companions!  It was practically an entourage!  LOL!

My blood pressure was elevated but, they rechecked (and I tried deep breathing, etc.) and it went down quite a bit.  It could be the stress of the situation, insufficient sleep, or the new medicine isn't doing as well as hoped (won't be the first time that has happened!).  The doctor came in and said he won't come too close to me because he has a cold - BUT HE WASN'T EVEN WEARING A MASK!!!  WHAT???!!!  He went over things with me again and answered more of daughter's questions.  :)

But then, we had to wait for some time because...guess echo cardiogram test results (taken on October 23) had not been received by the clinic and had to be requested, again!  Now, where have I heard this before?   Anyway, they were finally received and reviewed and treatment started.

It didn't hurt.  I didn't feel a thing, other than a dry mouth (easily alleviated with drinks of water). I didn't feel nauseated.  Such a blessing!  

I recalled the Bible verse I had been directed to by a friend:  Isaiah 43,2:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

I had told her that I equated the treatment as the waters, with the chemo treatment being the rivers and the radiation being the fire.

I read this Bible verse and another one, Joshua 1;9, before I started my treatment.  During my treatment, I read my book of prayers.  My cousin held my hand and silently prayed.  My daughter sat on the other side of me and checked on me.  And I knitted.

I was given Benadryl which they said might make me feel sleepy and I didn't feel sleepy.  They gave me steroids which they said might give me a burst of energy and keep me awake in the night, but I stay up late anyway so I don't think it's kicked in yet!  They gave me anti-nausea drugs which apparently worked very well.  They gave me 2 types of chemo which didn't seem to have any immediate side effects (other than the dry mouth.) 

We came home around 2:00 p.m.  Daughter drove, although I really could have driven myself if I had needed to.  The gardener was doing the garden when we arrived and I showed him my spindly dracaena plant and, since it is toxic to cats, offered it to him.  He said he'll come by on Sunday to collect it, as he didn't have enough room for it in his truck, today.  He loved it's "sculptural effects".

Daughter went to pick up my anti-nausea drugs from the pharmacy and bought Chinese take out for lunch, while cousin stayed with me and kept me company.  Cousin left after lunch (which I enjoyed because I was hungry) and daughter and I took a nap!

In the evening, another cousin called and visited;  I made us tea and felt fine.  I made soup for dinner and, by that time (after 8:30 p.m.), I was getting hungry and thought I might be feeling just a little queasy.  So, I had 2 crackers, took one anti-nausea pill (I was given 2 kinds - 1 to take first to prevent the nausea, and the second to take if I still feel nauseated after 4 hrs.), ate my soup with toast and treated myself to chocolate for dessert.  I no longer feel any queasiness.

I have drunk 10 cups of water, today (includes 2 cups of tea, as that's mostly water).  I have eaten breakfast (bread and butter), lunch (Chinese fried rice and chicken), dinner (chicken vegetable soup) and snacks (nutritional drink, peach fruit cup).  

The only possible side effect I've had has been the dry mouth.  As side effects go, I'll accept that, gratefully.  I also had a slight pressure in my sinuses - but I had that since I woke up, so, it's possibly related to weather (kind of cloudy, today) or not enough sleep! 

A HUGE thank you to everyone who kept me in your thoughts and prayers. I know I got through today with no discomfort due to the power of your prayers.  Today's flight of steps up the mountain was accomplished with very little discomfort.

I hope I will continue to feel this well, tomorrow, too, but we shall see.  Someone mentioned that the side effects really make themselves feel a few days later as the body tries to repair itself - the fatigues, aches, pains, etc.  Again, we shall see.  

I need to do a blood test on Wednesday for a white blood cell count and go in for hydration next Friday.   I am supposed to get the chemo therapy every 3rd Friday, but, the 3rd Friday from today falls on Christmas Day and the following Friday is New Year's Day.  So, my oncologist said he will postpone my next chemo session until after the holidays, for January 8!  Which means I can spend the holidays without worrying about being nauseated and fatigued, etc.  What a blessing!

Today, I am grateful for:

- Kind medical staff (the nurse who attended to me was so pleasant and caring!)
- A loving, caring cousin who spent practically the whole day with me.
- A loving, caring daughter.
- Getting though the first chemo session without experiencing debilitating side effects.
- The prayers, thoughts and well wishes of so many family and friends throughout the world!
- So many blessings

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but today was a lovely day!


  1. Terrific news, take care of yourself during the holidays, not push yourself to do just one more thing...Perhaps having lunch as the major meal and light dinner might be tried. I'd like to see mention of green, leafy, yellow squash or yam, green/yellow beans yadda yadda.

    1. Thanks, Hon. Will do on the not pushing myself, etc. How is your DH? How are you holding up? Hope all is well.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Jess. It is truly a blessing! I believe that it was all the prayers and thoughts and good wishes that helped me along.

  3. Oh Bless, this is the best news.. I have been anxiously awaiting to hear from you. and praying for this very report..Thank God...
    Take care of your self and dont over do.. Prayers going strong in Mississippi..
    hugs.. and again............... I am very HAPPY.. [also happy that you will get to go through Christmas with out the treatments..]

    1. Thank you, Judy. As I stated above, I feel truly blessed. This is all due to the prayers and thoughts and well wishes, I am sure. I promise not to overdo things. I anticipate there will be fatigue setting in, later on, and I will rest as needed. But the time off during the holidays will be lovely and I fully intend to enjoy it!

  4. Hope you're feeling well this AM and throughout December with crackers rather than drugs holding side effects at bay.

    DH was released from hospital by evening. He has no patience as a patient and is not yet allowed to drive. Friends have taken him out to lunch today so I turned on music loudly to improve my disposition [hehe] while I get some chores completed. So many things only 'underway' but I'll get it done!

    DSs will not be here for the holidays and with much loved DSIL having so recently passed away, none of us feel very celebratory. Christmas will be very modest.

    1. Hon, I am feeling well this morning. Woke up feeling fine, no nausea, no medications or crackers needed. Had a cup of tea and breakfast of bread and cheese. Keeping myself hydrated - 2 cups of water drunk, plus the tea.

      Glad to hear DH is well enough to go out to lunch with friends and give you a little break. :)

      Sorry your DSs will not be with you for the holidays and the loss of a loved one so close to Christmas. But nothing wrong with a modest Christmas. I remember that first Christmas after my mother died, I didn't want to do anything. But I put out a decoration she had made (a crocheted candle), and a snowman wreath that I had made at her request, and a crocheted throw I had made which she loved and that was all the decorating I did. Last year, because I had been sick, I just decorated the living room mantle with some paper cutouts and that was it and it was still Christmas. (HUGS)

  5. Sending hugs. From what I have heard, things like gunk in the eye can be an unexpected side effect. Sometimes you can do okay. Still praying for you. x

    1. Oh! Thank you for that tip! I hadn't heard that before. I shall certainly watch out for that! And thank you, so much, for the hugs and prayers. Hope all is well with you as you go through the holidays.


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