Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cocktail Mixology

Hi friends, I'm back with some more details of my first day at the Chemo Infusion Center.  I arrived at 8:00am and was done and out of the building by 3:45pm.  I get to take my portable infusion pump home with me; think of it as my 48 hour companion.  I feel just fine right now except that I would consider myself fairly foggy (so please excuse me if my prose isn't up to my normal standard).  I'm not necessarily tired, but rather I'd consider myself to be rather slow as in slow blinking, movement, speech, etc.

Getting my chemo at the infusion center was completely different than receiving it while I was a patient in the hospital.  It's very streamlined in the infusion center, comfortable, and looks and feels much different than a regular hospital room.  Most of the patients here are "healthy" compared to admitted patients.

My infusion center is a large room divided into little separate alcoves with fake wood floors and large leather like chairs that recline far enough to feel like you're laying down... they are quite comfy.  A big plus is there are lots of beverages and good snacks as well as nurses that are constantly asking the patients if they need/want anything.

Prior to any of the real chemo drugs I need to do some prep, think of it as stretching before the the big run.  I really started my prep yesterday when I had some Dexamethasone (pill form) which is a steroid, then this morning an hour prior to treatment I took my new anti-nausea drug Emend.  

Once at the infusion center I started on the other medications and chemo that are all administered through my fancy new Port via IV.  Obviously, the chemo is toxic and the port makes it safer to administer.  They actually make an incision so they can put a plastic tube within the vein which is attached to the port that is then placed under the skin.  To  apply these drugs via other veins can be very harsh on them.

Here I am getting my port accessed.








I noticed in some of the pictures I looked a bit apprehensive, but in all reality it's not bad at all.  Numbing spray is sprayed over the area before they add the needle.  Once its in place there is no pain or discomfort.

Once my port was accessed I started off with a blood draw and then some: 
  • Benadryl which helps to avoid a variety of side effects.
  • Zantac which helps my stomach and aids in the nausea fight
  • Dexamethsone a steroid that helps the anti-nausea drugs to be more effective 
  • Aloxi  another anti-nausea drug


Once the prep work is done we move on to the real drugs starting with Taxotere a semi-synthetic version of Taxol an extract of the Pacific Yew tree, this runs for just about an hour.  Following the Taxotere we move onto Cisplatin a platinum based chemo drug which has the added bonus benefit of being rather toxic to the kidneys.  To combat the kidney problems I'm given several liters of saline to help flush out my system, the last one of these also includes some iron and potassium. The process of Cisplatin and fluids takes a little over 4 hours. 

Next up is Leukovorin which isn't a chemo medication but helps to combat the ill effects the chemo has on my  internal organs.  This is a small bag but it takes another two hours.

To finish off we move onto the last drug 5-FU starting with an IV push, then moving onto the portable infusion pump which I get to wear for the next 48 hours.  Interestingly enough this particular drug has been used since the 1950's.  As I've been sitting here with the pump I can hear it make a noise as each incremental dose of medicine is pumped through.  It makes the same noise that your camera makes when the lens closes after sitting idol.  There is nothing painful about the pump, except the awkwardness of having to have to wear it.  The needle and IV that are attached to port  and it isn't painful or even discomforting, but obviously, I won't be sleeping on my chest.  After the 48 hours, Kevin will remove the pump, flush the lines and pull the port access line and I'll be back to "normal".  Then I will finally get to take a nice hot shower.

All the drugs have lots of side effects and I won't bother to list them all, but I will share what side effects I end up with :)  I'll be doing all my anti-nausea meds though, without a doubt.  I can say that I've ended this day on an up note (even made a short trip to the craft store with my Kevin's Mom).

Until next time.

-Katie

57 comments:

Jen Tapler said...

Despite the "over accessorizing" you seem to be doing in these pics (LOL), you look amazingly beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story and including these photos from today's journey.

Sue Ann said...

WOW you have had a long day but YOU LOOK GREAT!!! And now that you have short hair you can show off all your pretty earrings!!! Wheat Grass Juice!!! Wheat Grass Juice!! Wheat Grass Juice!!!

Saskia said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us. You're such a great person!!!

BIG hug, Saskia :)

Joan B said...

had no idea that it was an all day affair. i had imagined that you would be there for a half hour. hope those anti nausea drugs work!!!!

glad you were at a craft store. rocks!

Pascale said...

So happy you got to get to the craft store. I have only just started to follow your blog you are truely amazing and have such courage. I am very moved by your story and I agree you look so beautiful in your picutures. I too hope that your anti nausea meds work for you xxx Hugs Pascale

Diane said...

You look wonderful in these pictures, Katie and I'm so glad that you're sharing your journey with us! Your strength and positive attitude is an inspiration!
Diane x

Candy F. said...

Like you said earlier "best MIL eva" to take you to the craft store! Sounds like things went a lot smoother this time and hope that you post you had a restful night with no side effects.

Jocelyn aka JoBear2 said...

Just wanted to know that I am thinking of you with all that you are going through. Sending you lots of {{{{hugs}}}} from across the miles.

Tammy Hershberger said...

Wow Katie, you just took me way back in time! I used to work for an oncologist, doing all the scheduling of appointments and I used to know the names of all those drugs, how much time to block off for treatment, etc. It's been 3 years since I worked there, and it came flooding back with memories of patients, too. Thanks for sharing today's journey! My prayers for you continue!

True :) said...

Katie,
You look beautiful in the photos! Love that smile girlfriend!
I am praying that you feel much better after this treatment. It sure sounds like they are doing everything they can to insure it. I am so thankful that you have a place to go where the workers obviously care and make it as pleasant as possible.

Big hugs,
True :D

Ted said...

Katie, you look so brave there. Being a guy, I'd probably be whimpering like a baby! Thank you for a quite educational blog entry, but I think you left a question unanswered:

What did you get at the craft store?! :)

God bless you.

Dinahsoar said...

You're doing a great service to those who might follow after you by posting the pics and information. Just remember to do some visualization while the drugs are flowing through you body--imagine them as cancer seeking missiles destroying every harmful cell lurking in your system. And don't forget--your body is a miracle, a wonder--able to heal itself, especially with the assistance of the drugs.

Lisa H. said...

you are amazing and look beautiful! keep fighting, sister!

Pat said...

Hi Katie...you are amazingly brave, hon! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Sounds like you're just the one who can kick this things butt!! Love your photos...you are beautiful, sweetie!! Keep fighting and continue to take good car of yourself!! Pat Frank

Theresa Momber said...

What an involved process! I'm glad you had a positive day and a chance to go to the craft store. Hope you are feeling well and do better with this treatment. Hugs!

Tricia said...

Great post, Katie! I've learned more about chemo through reading it than everything I knew about it before put together! Thanks for the pictures, too. It helps to be able to visualize where you are during your treatments.

I'm so proud of you, and I continue to pray for you on your "journey". Oh, and btw, your hair looks great! :-)

Grandma Nancy said...

You look beautiful and you're doing a great job of keeping us in your inner circle!! I'm praying like crazy and I'm sure many others are doing the same! I hope you have a good weekend and get to do something fun with your craft store "haul"! God bless!

Jackie said...

You look beautiful with your new haircut and very at peace with yourself. You are so brave and I admire you very much. You are in my thoughts and in my prayers.

Davi said...

A very long day Katie and you are such a trooper. Glad you got a little side track going to the craft store. Will be praying the anti nausea drugs work well. :)

Debgem said...

You had such a long day - yet you look really amazing. Sending you positive thoughts.

Did you get anything at the craft shop!

JenMarie said...

Wow Katie, I'm really glad you posted pics....I've wondered about the port.
Gosh, I LOVE your hair, shows off your fabulous cheekbones, you looks absolutely beautiful!

Holly said...

I'm really glad the place is comfortable since you have to be there all day long. I think your pictures are great - your new hair cut really shows off your cheek bones Katie!

Cassie said...

Goodness, Katie, despite the fact that you are hooked up to tubes, you look so beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing all of this. I don't know if it's easy for you to do, or if it's hard, maybe even a bit of therapy, but you just don't know who you might be helping. I pray that you don't feel too many crazy side effects from all that you're enduring ;)

2Bis2DO said...

Katie, Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are so brave and strong. I love your new hair cut it makes you look so beautiful. Your smile is radiant. I just wanted to say how happy i am for you that you have such a great care taker like Kevin. It is so important to have an angel by your side. So here is a hug for him and you and i will keep you in my prayers.
What a cute family you have.

Lori McCroskey said...

Wow! All that info is very....well impressive! Especially considering you say your brain is working on the slow side! You look great! I am still praying those nausea drugs work, work, work! The port is smaller than I had visualized...love all the pictures...you are being so good to cater to us visual people :-)

Thanks for loving all of us enough to share your journeys. You have really touched my life.

Love ya and great big hugs! Lori

Emily Painter-Davis said...

Three Words:

You're So BRAVE!

And a few more...
you look great. Can't wait to hear more. Hope you are resting this morning and that the boys & Kevin are well.
Love ya....

Adela said...

Hi Katie, I just found out about your condition and wanted to tell you that I'll be praying for you and your beautiful family. You look as sweet as ever in these photos! Love and big hugs to you!

Lauren said...

Katie! I'm so sorry I haven't been up to speed on anything. You are an amazing woman...so brave and strong. My heart goes out to you babe...I know you will continue to fight!! Hugs!

Becky said...

Wow. You are soooooo courageous. You look beautiful, calm and really at peace. I am astounded by your grace. Not a day goes by without thinking and praying for you. Sometimes many times a day.

Mel said...

Hello Katie, My second visit to your blog just wanted to know how you are doing. I hope the sickness drugs work.

I will pop back in a couple of days to see how you are progressing.

Thank you for continuing to share your story.

Mel

Mothermark said...

What a day! Wow.....you just amaze me! Thinking of you often!

Curt in Carmel said...

Hey Katie! I second, third, and fourth everyone's comments about how good you look! Seriously, I LOVE your short hair. You look pixie-ish and that is a good thing. Just love your new look. You are amazing with all of your knowledge of the drugs you are taking. Most people just wallow in self pity and don't think anything about what is going into their body. Not you my little fighter!!! You want to know everything about your arsenal to help you with the fight. I have to say this about the 5-FU drug. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the name was "Great name for the drug. . .kind of like F U Cancer!" LOL Sorry if that is crude, but it was an honest thought and it made me laugh. Hope it did for you too. Hug the kids and that sweet husband of yours. Tell him I'm with him in solidarity. I used to have to flush Jay's ports when he was receiving home infused drugs for his MS. My prayers continue for you and your sweet family! Best, Curt

Holly aka Toy said...

You have such amazing strength. I've been taking my aunt for her chemo treatments for the last two years. Every time we go we make it a little "spa" day. Pamper pamper!! Oh and I think you look awesome with your new haircut! :) Hugs!

Meredith said...

At first I thought I would just skim this one, because I thought there'd be a lot to take in - but you made it really easy to understand what you're taking, and why... and it was actually very interesting to read. You are amazing for going through all that and remaining so positive and 'up'. I hope the next few days are kind to you, and that the anti-nauseants do their job!

Donna said...

Thanks for sharing your day with us Katie, i had no idea what chemo entailed and how long it took. I have to say you look fab hun, I really hope the anti nausia drugs help and the side effects are minimum. Keep strong and I'll be back to check on you soon. Big Hugs. Donna x

Chef Mama Lori said...

You look gorgeous! I'm not sure whether to cry or grin that I actually recognized the names of most of the chemo meds you are taking. I hope today the anti-nausea meds are working wonders. Hugs & prayers!

judy said...

Katie, you are very brave! I know
from experience about how chemo
makes you feel and I think you
are handling this all very well. Take
good care of yourself and allow others to as well.

Lisa Wertz said...

Katie - You don't know me but I stumbled upon your story on a blog that I follow and was compelled to read on...you like many that I've heard of recently are fighting the unthinkable battle, a battle many can only imagine. My young brother lost his battle with cancer when we were kids and my mother fought and won cancer in her later years and still lives a full life. So I guess I tell you this to give you hope and wish for you courage and strength. Your battle is fierce and your warriers are many...including those of us in blogland praying and hoping that you have a quality of life you do not currently know. I hope that if you don't already, you might find a relationship with your God, whatever that means to you. I hope that your boys are buffered yet aware of your struggle and that they are surrounded by love as well. If I were your neighbor I'd be there for you. I live in NW PA so if there is anythiong I can do from here, just call! 814-392-4415 anytime! I mean it. I will follow closely and pray often for you, your husband and boys. God Bless!

Claire's cards said...

Thanks for sharingthis Katie, you are so brave. I hope you have it easier with the side effects.I'll be thinking of you
Claire xxx

ReneeK said...

Katie,

Sounds like you have an excellent team caring for you. And I'm so glad you're educated as to your meds and what they are for, possible side effects, etc. This will help you through. Remember to laugh every day and hug those kidlets and husband often!

Julie said...

I agree with everyone else, that you look quite fab! Kudos to you for being on top of your care and actually knowing what is going on. You - as well as your family are in my thoughts and prayers!

Michelle said...

I look forward to your daily blog postings Katie...thank you for sharing with us your journey.

BIG HUGS.

ameklus said...

Katie-

I am so proud of you. You seem to be handling this with such grace. And you do look fantastic, BTW!! I really love the short hair! You sharing your story like this shows you have tremendous strength to keep on going. And you are even smiling in the pictures during chemo. That's the spirit girl! Keep up the good work.

Hugs-

Annette

Cricket said...

Katie,

You are amazing! There are not many people that would share this personal experience with all of us - virtual strangers. Keep up the good fight. You are in my prayers.

God Bless You!

Cricket

Holly said...

Good to see your post and you are looking so wonderful in your pictures! I shared your story with my hubby today and how inspired I am by you. Glad you got to the craft store too! You go girl! Sending up prayers for you and your family.

Audrey Frelx said...

Hi, Katie, I'm back to check in on you!!! Your pictures are great and you look beautiful!!!

Not a lot to say, but glad you're getting yourself so well taken care of, and so delighted to see you looking so cheerful -- you're blessed with such a strong constitution and, like I said before, I just have so much admiration for you!!!

I'll be back!!!

Jacqueline's Weblog said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us Katie. I'm thinking of you every day, keep the faith!
Hugs Jacqueline

BishopsMommie said...

long day huh? glad it went well, here's sending you extreme positive thoughts and prayers that everything works like it suppose to. Glad you got a little happy visit to the craft store!!you look amazing in your pics..thanks for sharing your journey with you..lot of well wishes coming your way!!

Jill S said...

Thank you for sharing your walk with us. It is so educating for us to know just what happens during treatment - so many things we don't know. I know that through your sharing many of us with be able to show more understanding to those around us who are and will be in a similar situation some day - it could be any of us. Also just wanted to say that you are looking amazing - your courage is almost tangible and your hair shows off your beautiful features.
God bless from N Ireland.

Barb said...

Katie - this is so amazing of you to share your story like this. I look forward everyday to see what you have written. You are a strong and brave woman - keep up the good work!!!

Hugs, Barb

Sharli said...

Katie,

Curt sent me and I'm so glad I stopped by - I am so impressed with your positive attitude and willingness to share! You will undoubtedly bring comfort to others by taking time to share and explain everything. What an act of courage to be so open! I join a large group in praying for you and Kevin daily.

Your photos are wonderful - you are beautiful inside and out!

Hugs!

Bouncy, Flouncy, Fun,Fun, Fun said...

Katie,

I am marveled by your strength and positive spirit and your willingness to share all that you are going through with us. I continue to pray for you and your family daily.

Hugs, Becky

Serendipity Stamping said...

Hi Katie, you are a beautiful young woman. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. You seem to be doing quite well and handling with courage and dignity. I see you live in Bellingham (had a step-son there) so you are in one of the most beautiful parts of our country. I hope on good days you are going for short drives and making the scenery a part of your healing process. Bless you and your wonderful husband for all the support.

Whimcees said...

Hi Katie!

Love that haircut and your make-up looks great! Wishing you a good weekend with your family and hope the side effects are minimal. Stay strong. You are in my daily prayers!

Hugs,

Barbara Diane

Ruth M said...

Wishing you all the very best Katie and the strength you need to get through the dark days. Cancer is hard on family members as well as the sufferer. I was so fortunate, my hubby made a full recovery and I wish that blessing for you and your family. Hang in there and look after yourself!
Ruth {{{{hug}}}}

jperr said...

Katie your story has really touched me.I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers.On Monday i'm going to call the temple in Vancouver to put your name on the prayer list.You are being so brave.You have a great support on the web.your boys a lovely little men.It is nice you have a wonderful support in Kevin.
Take care.
Jocelan Perry

Theresa Tyree said...

This all sounds too familiar having gone through this with my mother in law. Staying positive is half the battle. It sounds like you've got that part down pat!

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