Chemo (Week 1) – Here I Go

Upfront disclaimer: I promise I will not write an update every time I have an ache or chill or other general feelings of unwellness. I don’t want to inundate you with every little symptom. Just want to let you know when something interesting occurs.

I started chemo yesterday (Tuesday, 5/18). Doug and I went to the chemo infusion center at 8:30 a.m. I was treated to my very own Sea Foam Green lazy boy recliner accompanied by a pole on wheels for all the drips. There was also a nice chair next to each recliner for visitors. Blankets, drinks, peanut butter and crackers, TV – what more could one ask for? I spent time listening to my iPod while Doug worked.

Chemo started about 9 am with a huge load of anti-nausea drugs and Benadryl. Then Erbitux was up to bat. After some complications (flushed face, hard to breathe, extreme body chills), they loaded me up on some steroids which solved the problem. Apparently, I am very sensitive to the wonder drug, Erbitux. Eventually, we moved on to the FOLFOX chemo which I had for a few hours and then went home with a pump to continually infuse me with the remaining chemo until mid-day Thursday when I get disconnected. For those of you wondering what the pump looks, it’s about the size a 1970s pre-Walkman cassette player in it’s own zip-up bag with a strap so I can hang it on my shoulder. But instead of the cord going up to my ear to listen to music, the cord goes straight into my port in my upper chest below my collar bone. (Think Iron Man with his core. YES.) Yesterday, was a very long day as we left the office at 5 pm. It shouldn’t be that long again – the loading doses of all the drugs take longer and reaction to Erbitux ate up some time.

Today, I go in for more anti-nausea drugs and a couple of hours of IV fluids. My doctor does not want me to get sick. And then I go back in tomorrow for more IV fluids and then get disconnected from the pump.

So far, I am pleasantly surprised. I have had no nausea. I’m eating regularly. I did wake up in the night and noticed that my wrist muscles and jaw muscles were starting to ache. I couldn’t cut my omelet this morning – how weird is that? I think the Erbitux acne rash is trying to start. I’m a little loopy but that’s to be expected. Still have a day to go before I’m done with this first treatment. A couple of friends that have been through similar treatment say that it is not surprising to feel pretty good with the first treatment. The symptoms are cumulative so we’ll see how I feel down the road. Thinking positively.

It just feels GREAT to have thrown a sucker punch at this cancer and, specifically, the second tumor. It’s now 7.5 cm in diameter, up from 5 cm a month ago. But my doc says that aggressive tumors usually respond well to chemo. Only 15 more treatments to go (FOLFOX every 2 weeks and Erbitux every week). September, here I come.

I am visualizing a very angry tumor being melted away and the cancer being stopped in it’s tracks.

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