1st Day of Chemotherapy—What am I in for?
Prepping for chemotherapy is a lot of work period! The night before my first treatment, my ENT physician sister April showed up to check on me and I’m so glad she did. I complained to her about the rash on my right arm and pimples on my back. It turns out I was going through a bout of Shingles due to all the stress. April and I ran to the pharmacy to pick up Benadryl and Zantac. I completely misunderstood the instructions about taking Benadryl and Zantac. Part of the preparatory regiment is to take Dexamethasone, a steroid, 12 hours and 6 hours before the chemotherapy treatment, so I had to set alarms for the middle of the night.
I was a bit nervous about the upcoming intense treatment and wired from the steroids as I’ve never been sick like this before. My first treatment was scheduled for noon and would likely take up to 4 hours. I arrived with 4 bags of stuff just in case I might need something. I get that from my mom, she always brings everything except the kitchen sink. I thought I was ready for the therapy. At the Infusion Center, they always start by drawing blood samples to confirm various blood counts. This was an ordeal as the nurse had difficulty locating my access port. It took several attempts and two nurses before the blood draw was completed. While waiting for the results, the nurse confirmed I had shingles and waited for the nurse practitioner to give the okay to proceed. I also realized I shouldn’t have taken the Benadryl and Zantac the night before as these drugs are given via IV prior to starting the Taxol. Oops, I was going to be very sleepy. Also note, the healthcare staff does not allow you to drive home from the first treatment due to the potential for an allergic reaction. After I passed with flying blood results, things went relatively well with the Taxol delivery taking 1 hour and Herceptin delivery taking 1.5 hours. It ended up being a long 5 hour session. Fortunately, my sister Kelly ended up visiting me along with my husband, Carey. For the first week of treatment, my side effects were fairly minor with some nose bleeds and a little fatigue. The only thing I could really complain about was the lower back pain. Otherwise, naps are always good and who doesn’t like a good nap on a Sunday afternoon.