Friday, June 4, 2010
Today is the day...again. It came so fast this time, probably because I was really dreading it this time. Yesterday was a tough day because all I thought about was today! Chemo treatments are like getting kicked when you're down . No, chemo is like getting kicked right when you're about to get back up! Very frustrating. But it is what it is and after today I only have 1 left!
So, as I am sitting here in this chair I thought I would go through a Chemotherapy treatment, step by step.
The first thing you do to prepare for a chemotherapy treatment is put a numbing cream over the port area so you don't have to feel the needle being pushed into the port but of course I forgot to put mine on before I left this morning! I actually got into my chair around 11:40 and first thing we did was put some ice on my port so it wouldn't hurt as bad. Then they placed the needle into the port, flushed it with saline solution and checked for a blood return to make sure it was working correctly. The crazy thing is the bulk of the chemo treatment is the nurse actually preparing you for the chemo, which they call giving pre-meds. The pre-meds first include Granisetron, which is a push med, meaning the nurse has to manually push through the port rather than hanging it and letting it drip over time. They push different meds for different reasons but I think they push this one because it comes in a very small amount. The next pre-med is a steroid called dexamethasone and they hang that one instead of pushing it. The reason for giving steroids is it helps your body to respond better to the chemo treatment as well as helps kill the cancer cells. The next one is the Emend and that's the best of them all! It is a very powerful anti-nausea medication. So powerful and expensive that they have to get special orders for it. For example, my insurance will only give me the exact dose right before each treatment because it is so expensive. I take the pill form on day 2 and 3 after the treatment. So far I am still waiting for the Emend to finish dripping then they will start my treatment and give me Doxorubicin or hydroxydoxorubicin, which is the H part of CHOP. The side effects of this one are of course nausea but also hair loss. It can also have a negative effect on your heart if given in large amounts. There are tons of other side effects but these I think are the main ones. The Doxorubicin is a push medication. This one has to be pushed instead of letting it drip because this medication can burn your skin if the port stopped working and didn't go through a vein. So when pushing this one she continually checks for a blood return just to make sure. It comes in 2 separate vials and right before she pushes each she flushes it with saline. For some reason that saline gives you the nastiest taste in your mouth and smells bad! That is the only thing that gives off a smell or taste when it's going through the port. I hate it! So we are all done with the the H now we move on to the Vincrisitne or oncovin, which is the O part of CHOP. This is also a push medication. They push this one because they've found that this medication has a better response when pushed fast instead of a slow drip. Along with plenty of others, hair loss is also a side effect of this medication. Then the last part of chemo that is given here is the Cyclosphosphamide, which is the C part. The main side effect of this one is nausea. Had I not been given so much anti-nausea medication before hand this would be the medication that made me the most nauseous and would cause me to vomit. I actually respond very well to the anti-nausea medications because some people will still get extremely sick and will have to be given much stronger medication for nausea. The way they gauge it is if you have had children, how your first trimester went. Chances are if you had really bad morning sickness then you will probably have a much stronger reaction to this drug. This one is given through the IV drip and takes about 30 minutes to complete. Once that is done, they flush you again with Saline and send you on your way! The P part of chop stands for Prednisone and I take that in a pill form on day 1-5 of chemo. Those 5 days aren't fun because steroids make you very jumpy and on edge. It's not a good feeling. I pretty much have to take a sleeping pill if I want to get any rest. The Prednisone does help with my appetite though. It makes me very hungry and while I am on the steroids and do a lot better about eating. Once I'm off my appetite kind of dwindles away. So that's it. It's almost 2 o'clock and the process of CHOP completed! 3rd treatment is over with and now I only have one to go. Then just one month of radiation and we're done...CAN'T WAIT!!!