September 17, 2013

Chemotherapy

...all you ever wanted to know......and more of what you didn't want to know :)

Let me begin my post by shouting from the rooftops..."I am in NO way complaining".  I consider myself the luckiest cancer patient EVER :)  I'm just letting you know what I now know.

Chemo begins at 8:00 Friday morning.  They will begin by giving me some anti-nausea meds.  I will sit for about 30 minutes to an hour to let it kick in.  Then I start with the chemo.  I am getting ABVD.  Each letter = one drug.  I get one at a time...one after the other.  First comes "A" = Adriamycin.  Then "B" = Bleomycin, then "V" = Vinblastine and lastly "D" = Dacarbazine.  It all sounds so official right?  And to think I thought I would be a nurse when I grew up...HA!  I'm so much better at crunching numbers!!!

Are you ready for this?  Here are all of the "possible" and some "probable" side effects:
Pain along the site where the medication was given
Nausea or vomiting...definte but controlled with medication
Low blood counts....definite
Mouth sores
Hair loss
Eyes watering
Urine may appear red, orange or pink......the chemo meds are red...at least the "A" is
Darkening of the nail beds
Problems with fertility.....although I'm pretty sure my family is complete :)
A serious but uncommon side effect of "A" can be interference with the pumping action of the heart
There is a slight risk of developing a blood cancer such as leukemia years after taking "A"
Diarrhea
Fast or irregular heart beats
Unusual bleeding or bruising
Extreme fatigue
Swelling of the feet or ankles
NOW.....these are JUST associated with "A" :)  Doesn't this sound like FUN??  LOL!!!  NOT!!!!!

Under "Self Care Tips" it includes, "Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury."  Sooooo, I will not be cooking, cleaning, or doing any activity that "might" injure me!  I told you I was lucky!!!  LOL!!!

I won't carry on about the side effects of the other 3 drugs......they include these and many others though.

  I was shown the "chemo" room today too.  WOW at all the people there.  It's so sad.  Everyone with a different story.  I feel guilty walking around there with a head full of hair and feeling good...I haven't felt bad at any time...just very tired.  Lots of these people are not like me and it's heartbreaking.  I'm totally having second thoughts about carrying my new chemo bag too!  Oh well, I'll just throw caution to the wind and carry it :)  When I'm done maybe I'll even "pass" it on to someone else that could march in there and feel powerful...and fashionable :)  Thoughts?

Amy, my chemo teacher, told me today that they will serve me a light lunch.  There are all kinds of snacks there and drinks too.  I am allowed to help myself to any of it.  It all sounded so lovely...I asked if they had waitresses too.  She laughed and told me that in fact they do - sort of.  They have volunteers there in red shirts or aprons on that will assist you :)  I was totally kidding, but was still curious.  When I am well, I'm marching right down there and volunteering too!  What a way to pay it forward!!!

I've kept you way too long already.......but let me just real quick share the best of all news today.  Amy said I might not lose my hair.....my chemo regimen is short and the "A" is lighter than most due to type and stage of cancer.  I will see thinning but should not lose it all :)  YEAH!!!  After round 2, my oncologist wants me to go for another PET scan.  Depending on those results and much consideration....I might go right on with radiation and NO MORE CHEMO :)  I told you I was NOT complaining today!!!!!!!

A VERY special thank you to my Lymphoma sister, Laura.  I got my box today and LOVE LOVE the hats.  I will be wearing them and carrying my new chemo bag all while kicking cancer's butt!!!!  LOVE YOU!!!! XXOO



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