One down and seven to go! I think we were well prepared for how today would go.
We reported promptly at 0830 to “Special Studies” in Radiology for insertion of the port and they took us into prep immediately. As they have in my last surgeries, they asked me multiple times my name and SSN and which side we were doing. They didn’t actually write on me this time, but I was awake when they started, so every precaution is being taken to ensure that they do their work on the right body part. Very reassuring. They use the same sedative that Gastroenterology uses for colonoscopy, if you have that lovely experience. So I was aware of the activities in the treatment room before the actual procedure and was awake again (but feeling no pain) for the end of the procedure, but have no recollection of the cutting (one small incision over my right breast for the end that is used to insert needles and one tiny incision above my clavicle to access the vein) or insertion of the port. Start to finish probably took 90 minutes.
They delivered me to Oncology for my chemo (by wheel chair, since I was a little wobbly). We started with counseling by a pharmacist, re-verification of who I am and what I was there for, and two kinds of anti-nausea pills. They gave me more of both plus a “back up” medication to bring home. There is a war on nausea! Using my brand new port, the nurse “pushed” two syringes of Adriamycin in about 15 minutes, then hung a bag of Cytoxan that dripped through in about 30 minutes. So future AC cycles should be about 45 minute events. Some patients sleep, some are chatty, one patient and her husband were playing cards to pass the time. I took a project but was still too dopey – and taking in all the new info – to tackle it. I had to have a driver today because of anesthesia for the surgery for the port. I should be able to get myself there and back unassisted for future treatments.
Jerry and I were home by one o’clock. He made me a grilled cheese sandwich – comfort food! – and I went to bed to sleep off more of the sedative. The port is a bit tender, to include a little discomfort when I swallow, but not bad. I took Tylenol before I laid down which seemed to do the trick. I have a very mild feeling of nausea, so took one of the back up pills when I got up, as the nurse’s advice was to stay ahead of it. I’m to drink lots of water to help flush the chemicals. No submersion of the incisions for at least 5 days, so back to the modified bath routine. (I love running water!!!)
This cycle actually ends Saturday. Tomorrow, Jerry or I have to administer a pre-measured shot of Neulasta to bolster my white cell production and help me recover in two weeks for my next cycle. This, too, has side effects that vary from one patient to another, so we’ll see how I respond. All of our experience giving insulin to Button is going to pay off. And I will take anti-nausea medications for the next two days.
My updates to you will comprise a log for me to keep track of my chemo progress and my personal experience.
The journey continues.