© 2017 by Lauren Wiatrek - Austin, TX
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Armed for Battle

11.06.2017

I was nervous walking into my first chemotherapy infusion. You already read my post about how waiting is the hardest part, well now all the waiting was over. The battle was officially about to begin. As Evan and I walked in with my two bags, tears sprung to my eyes. My stomach was rolling and my brain was saying, “You must be mistaken, this is not right, turn around and run out those doors, just go, you don’t belong here.” But my feet kept moving forwar

 

d, Evan made a joke which made me laugh and changed my whole attitude around for the day. (Thank God for him.) And before I knew it my labs were being taken, checking my weight (which has been on a pretty steady decline lately) and then placing me in a room to meet with my oncologist, Dr. G. She met with us and said my labs looked perfect and it was time to get the show on the road.

 

I was shown my chemo chair, which was a pretty comfy looking recliner with an IV stand next to it. We got me all set up, and since my port was already accessed it was much easier for them to hook up my medicine, painlessly. The infusion room was buzzing with people, quite the social place, completely full with nurses racing around helping each patient. Dr. G would whizz in and out checking on all her patients as if each one was the most important. I met the lady across from me, a mid 40s, brown haired lady with a nice smile. She was on her second treatment and made me feel better about being there. The nurses were all really nice and wanted me to be as comfortable as possible. First up was the Cytoxin, a pretty large bag of clear liquid, that one took about an hour and a half. I blogged, talked to my new infusion friend, talked to Evan, read my Oola book. My nutritionist has me on a pretty strict schedule of not only what I eat, but when I eat it…blogging on that later, but he wanted me to have a sugary substance as chemo was entering my system. So I chose a ginger beer, this way we’d have a ‘Trojan Horse attack’ on my cancer. (More on that later.) One of the kind patient navigators, brought me a bag full of sweet things...a pink fuzzy blanket, a to go coffee mug, tea, socks, journals, and more...all with scripture on it. Which is right up my alley, I think she felt for me being hands down the youngest person in the room. She told me she only had enough to give out five per month, and chose me because she felt I needed it most. I felt blessed that she saw a need in me, but felt bad about the others not receiving a bag of goodies. (Maybe I'll bring my own bag of goodies for the other patients.)

 

I witnessed a few interesting things during my first infusion, first was a woman was on her final chemotherapy treatment, her daughter and husband were there. The nurse congratulated her and told her she could ring the bell to show it was her last chemo treatment. The woman was quite shy, but her daughter reached over and rang that bell! We all clapped and tears welled up in my eyes as I foresaw the day I could ring the bell.

 

Later in the day, I witnessed if any patient started feeling uncomfortable, high blood pressure, dizzy, flushed, or nauseas the nurses were on top of it. They never want you to feel uncomfortable. They turn off your medicine and call for Dr. G, then Dr. G comes flying in to look you over, take your vitals, talk to you and figure out the best step forward. Two women around me had various reactions, and it made me feel comforted to see Dr. G so attentive to their needs and knowing that could be me one day.

 

I snacked every few hours. Then I kept seeing this bag with a giant red syringe in it, caution tape all over the front. I knew that was for me. It was the dreaded red stuff. Finally, the nurse came over with the bag, she got all suited up and would directly push the red stuff into my port slowly. She had to make sure it was in a clear vein every time because the Ad (as we’ll call it) is super sensitive on tissue, no one should be exposed to it. (Ironic I know.) 

 

 It took about 10 minutes to be pushed straight in. During this I was told to make sure my mouth was super cold to avoid any mouth sores as the Ad was entering my system. I kept ice and water in my mouth to keep it super cold. Then I was done. I felt pretty unscathed, relieved that my first chemo infusion was complete. I got the accessed portion of my port taken off, which was a big relief, then my port could heal. They did place a funky contraption on my stomach that would give me a shot of the Neulasta 27 hours after my chemo infusion, to help build my white blood cells. It gave me a shock, but then I barely noticed it and took it off the next evening.

 

Evan drove me home and I nuzzled up next to my mama in her bed and got cozy watching a movie.

 

1 down 15 more to go.

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