Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chemo Round 2 in the Boat Room

I consider myself a pretty observant person. I am always “casing” a place. I really love to look at décor and people watch. I have noticed that the oncology center’s exam and chemotherapy rooms are themed. They, of course, call them things like “Exam Room Two.” The first time I went to see the oncologist we were in what I refer to as the “Armstrong” Room. The room had two different large prints of Lance Armstrong, the poster child for Cancer Survivor. Wouldn’t it be just a tad more pleasant if they said “please proceed to the Armstrong Room”?

My second visit there I was placed in the whale room. I wasn’t sure to feel self-conscious about my weight, or feel that whales are peaceful determined creatures with a strong support system. Yeah, I think I’m going with that second concept.

We arrived this morning prior to 10 AM, but they were extremely busy because of the holiday. Chemo regimens have to be done in a certain timeframe, and if their office is closed on Friday, most of those folks get bumped to Thursday. I had three back-to-back appointments. The first appointment was for routine pre-chemo blood work. They always check your weight, white blood counts, temperature, and blood pressure before administering your drugs.

Afterwards I met with the oncologist. This meeting was in the farm room. The picture had a beautiful barn, with a mama sheep, baby sheep, and a horse. I felt sort of bad for the horse. He was there alone, surrounded by all the sheep! Maybe the cancer metaphor is that sometime cancer patients feel alone and that they don’t belong anywhere. Maybe this theory is the Ativan drip they gave me talking.

My regular oncologist is on vacation so I met with his partner and his physician assistant. They are feeling very positive that the treatments are working considering they can’t feel any evidence of the tumor. I asked how many courses – and they are predicting six chemotherapy sessions (meaning four left) with maybe some additional biotherapy only. I’m hopeful it’s only six! He said we’d probably re-do the PET scan after Chemo #3 or #4.

For the chemotherapy, I again got my own private space with a bed since my chemo takes so long. Today I was in the boat room. Two lovely prints of boats were displayed on the wall. Robbie noted that one of the boats in the harbor was called the Blue Devil. We chuckled, only because one of the drugs I receive is nicknamed the Red Devil and we wondered if there was another bad-ass drug called the Blue Devil.

Today it was really…routine. I knew what to expect this time and that definitely took a little of the edge off. The nurse assigned to me this time was the same as the first session. She is a GREAT STICKER because she always hits the vein the first time. I really like this about her. She was also able to speed up the drip a bit today so it took a little less time. I also received two less drips. They didn’t do the Benadryl which was given last time because my head became itchy. I experienced no itchiness this time. They also eliminated an IV steroid (I still have to take five days of prednisone). I’m theorizing that this was eliminated for three reasons: 1) It is for anti-nausea and it’s not a primary issue for me 2) I complained that insomnia was one of my key side effects, and 3) my pulse rate was high this morning from the prednisone and I think they didn’t want to make it any higher.

I did ask my usually plethora of bizarre questions. Can I eat blue cheese? Is soft serve ice cream off limits? (Mom, the nurse said it was fine). What was the deal with the margarita that caused nausea?

Robbie and I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and played scrabble on the iPad for a good portion of the day. Now we’re home relaxing. Robbie is predicting I’ll be asleep by 8, but I have big plans to stay up until 9:30. I should try to rest though, because I really want to stay up for New Years Eve!

Hope you have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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