First up, on Wednesday, was the port placement. I had a very kind nurse who used a numbing shot before inserting my IV, which really helped. And she also wrapped me in three toasty blankets. I'd been told it was done under "conscious sedation," an idea that made me uneasy. When my breast surgeon met with me beforehand I asked how far out I'd be. "Completely!" she said, "And you know why? Because I like to do things they way I'd want them done to me and I'd want to be completely out for this." Whew! I was still awake when they wheeled me to the OR and had to scootch myself onto the operating table and watch as they strapped me down. Fortunately, that's the last thing I remember. I woke sporting a powerport, with a cannula that runs up over my collarbone and into my jugular vein. Not something I like to dwell on but I'm glad it's there. I was covered in tape the first two nights, which made moving my head difficult, but now it's not too uncomfortable. I worked the next afternoon, a dumb decision. When I scheduled people for that day, I just wasn't thinking about how it was surgery. But I crawled through and got to Friday:
First round of chemo. I've marked each one in my schedule book so I can count them down. My husband worked a couple of hours that morning and then got home in time to get us to the cancer center. I will not lie, I was scared. Really scared.
I'd covered my port site in EMLA cream but the nurse told me it was so newly placed it would still be tender. And ouch! Yes it was. But very quick. They drew blood first through it and left the apparatus in place for the chemo. Then it was off to meet with my new oncologist. We reviewed what would happen, he answered my questions, and then he smiled and said, "And now we proceed."
Proceed we did, to the "Daisy Cove," one of the six flower-named chemo rooms. I got a big comfy recliner while my husband had to sit in a regular (but at least padded) chair. I brought my own soft fluffy blankets and had them put one of their warmed blankets over it. This was my set up, which I could pull to the bathroom with me if needed. At the moment, they were pumping in Taxotere (docetaxol). After that Cytoxan (cyclophoshaminde). First in were just fluids, ativan, and benedryl. We ate lunch during the four-hour infusion and a couple of good friends stopped by to visit. Mosty, though, I listened to music and slept.
In fact, they had to wake me to unhook me and put on the neulasta patch and "on-body injector." After a few minutes, I felt a sharp pinch as the needle went in and back out, leaving a tiny cannula inside me. It felt like someone snapping me hard with a rubber band. And now it sits on my belly, flashing a green light at me every five seconds. Apparently 27 hours after chemo (so in an hour or so from now) I'll hear a warning set of beeps and then it will spend the next 45 minutes infusing neaulasta in me, to stimulate the large bones in my body to start making white blood cells to replace the ones the chemo has killed off.
In the meantime, my husband gave me my pre-bald haircut. I felt like it would be less jarring to lose my hair from a very short haircut than from long. And you know, I kind of like it. Feels very light.
I saw a movie once, D.O.A., where the main character was a college professor who was poisoned with something for which there was no antidote. This isn't that dramatic of course, but the poisons are in and I'm told the worst days are usually days 3-5. So now I wait.