Finally started chemo today!

Kathryn_in_MN Member Posts: 1,252 Member
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
Today was the day! Chemo finally started.

I'm going to be very lazy - I am posting from my CaringBridge site rather than write it all again - I'm pretty darn tired right now.

We had a change in plans. My husband Bruce was going to take me the first two times, and then if all goes well I will drive myself. I made a dentist appointment for him for this morning instead, since he already had the day off, and avoids going to the dentist until he is half-dead. He has had an infection in his mouth for over a week, and the last few days it has given him bad headaches, made him grumpy, and pretty hard to live with. It turns out he had lesions growing on his gums at the back of his mouth that were infected. They burned them off. After having that done, and some pain pills he feels a little better. He is now on 2000mg of penicillian per day - that should clear this up.

Tuesday and Wednesday were a little tough for me, but the swelling was down quite a bit this morning, enough to tell where the port was again. Hard to tell exactly where the corners were to figure out where to access, so I had to take a little abuse there. But once it was accessed, all was well. The gal at the lab actually offered to let me have my labs drawn from my arm because she thought the port area looked too painful and swollen yet. I told her NO CHANCE! Since I had to be accessed for chemo anyway, no more poking me! If it were only labs, I would have taken her up on that today. Some of the lab results are done right away - my hemoglobin is already back up to 12.5, and most numbers look pretty good. I'm waiting on my CEA results.

Actually it wasn't too bad, as I had peeled up the tape from the surgery to above the port, but still covering the incision, and cut it off. Then I put the Emla cream on. I'm glad Frances told me to get that, and how to do it with that Glad Press-n-Seal stuff. It worked great. They also told me to use the Press-n-Seal before I shower for the next two weeks. Then don't worry anymore about infection or healing after that - I should be good. (My daughter Vicki who doesn't freak at anything, still kind of jumped when blood came spurting out when the port was accessed. I'm glad I found that out to warn Bruce if he is with me when they access. He'd faint or come close.) Everything went pretty good today. It is hard to believe I am sitting typing here right now being poisoned. So far it isn't so bad. I have been fighting pain and a lot of nausea since surgery Tuesday. I think the steriods today helped that a lot. The nausea got better and the swelling went down a lot more, which took the pain down more.

I did have one nauseated time when people near me brought in big fried hamburgers and strong-smelling french fries. I had to leave the room briefly. It is too bad that they can't honor the "fragrance free" zone by sticking too foods without too strong of smells if they plan to eat in the chemo room. Some people just don't have a lot of courtesy. I brought an apple and some organice cereal, and my green tea - things that wouldn't bother anyone else.

Vicki and I played a lot of cribbage - it really was kind of a nice afternoon off once I got past the pain of having the port accessed, got the tv's in our section turned off, and the nerves settled down. The imagination is always worse when it comes to these things than reality. I know it will sound weird, but I enjoyed the day with my daughter.

I have already had weird nueropathy things. My first couple trips to the bathroom, the IV pole felt normal. My third trip the pole was like an icecube! It didn't hurt - just felt very cold. So I decided it would be smarter to hold on to a plastic piece than the metal. I was actually pretty hungry after spending 8AM to 2:30PM at the oncologist, so once they hooked my to my pump and sent me on my way, we stopped for food.

The first bite I took, I thought someone had stabbed me in my jaw. It locked up a little, but with big pain spikes that wouldn't stop. But it really didn't last long. Soon I was chewing just fine. That was weird. Tonight when I grabbed a small bite of something it happened again - same thing - temporary shooting pain and locking, and then just fine. I tried to drink room temperature prune juice to swallow my D3 and Calcium pills tonight. Room temperature wasn't close enough to body temperature. I thought the pills were stabbing my throat. Then I realized it wasn't them - it was the prune juice. I switched back to warm green tea - no troubles. It will take a while to get used to all these weird little things.

Tonight Bruce had Wendy's chili and I almost threw up when I smelled the onions. He put the lid back on and it helped. But then just the chili bothered me. He ate it in our room and left the container. I couldn't figure out what they awful smell was that was making me sick. I even blamed it on Ryan (those 15-yr-old's basketball feet are often pretty ripe). Sorry Ryan! So far it is like my best days of pregnancy with some nausea coming and going, but no vomiting. If it doesn't get worse, I can do this.

I'm waiting to get through this "testing week" to hopefully have a little better idea of when I'll feel the best and worst - when I'll have the most energy, or be the most tired. I know the first week is not as bad as successive ones - the results are cummulative. But basic patterns often emerge right away.

I will see the nurse practioner and get labs on Wednesday in Burnsville. They want to do labs every week the first few weeks to make sure we get things dialed in right. I'm seeing the NP to fill her in on all side-effects and their severity so they can take that into consideration when working on dialing this in. My doctor is committed to fighting this as agressively as we can, while still making sure I am comfortable.

Tonight I am to take an Ativan and try to actually get some sleep. The last two nights I haven't had much at all. While I don't like taking pills, what the heck can a relaxant that helps with sleep and nausea do to me beyond what oxaliplatin and 5-FU are doing? I think getting rest is more important right now than worry about the effect of one little pill, so I am doing it! Good night to all, and god bless!


  • daydreamer110761
    daydreamer110761 Member Posts: 487 Member
    Way to go!
    Kathryn - it's not too bad, and all livable. But I will give you this piece of advice - since you live here - warm socks and warm gloves. I found that although I was well enough to drive myself to treatments (I only had to once) the walk from the parking lot to the door hurt. My feet just tingled so bad it made walking nearly impossible. Make sure to use your scarf, my eyes froze a few times on some of our cold windy days. Use gloves when food shopping and checking out the frozen food and meat isles.

    The best thing ever was Nick having the remote start put in my truck. I argued that because it's not cheap, but it really was a lot better to get into a warm truck....

    Chemo is not easy here in MN, but obviously it's do-able! I had trouble with certain foods also, I stuck to warm tea, and I had a love affair going with pancakes (didn't eat them much before and don't now - but for whatever reason they were great during chemo).
  • geotina
    geotina Member Posts: 2,111 Member
    Getting through that first one is tough, fear of the unknown. Now, take it one day at a time, one week at a time, one treatment at a time. My hubby just completed his 12th so we are awaiting testing, etc. to see what the next step is. Now go get some well deserved rest.
  • Shayenne
    Shayenne Member Posts: 2,342
    geotina said:

    Getting through that first one is tough, fear of the unknown. Now, take it one day at a time, one week at a time, one treatment at a time. My hubby just completed his 12th so we are awaiting testing, etc. to see what the next step is. Now go get some well deserved rest.

    I know!
    When I get chemo and start smelling people bringing in them White Castles, (and I do like them) I just can't take the smell!! I remember my hubby making an omelette for me after I got unhooked, and while he was making the pork sausage, UGH!! I couldn't take the smell in the house, I know how sensitive the smell is while on chemo!

    I'm glad you got through the first round! yay! and I do the same thing, I put Saran Wrap over my area that has the numbing cream on it so it doesn't get on my clothes, I forgotten to mention that! but sorry to hear about the huring, it will get better!

    Just stay on top of those anti-nausea meds, take them before feeling queasy! I take them every 3-4 hours, just to stay on top of it, and a hit of some maryjane DOES work, it makes the nausea go away before the pills even do!

    I always felt worse after they unhooked me from the pump. Well, the day after. Then for the next 3 days, you will feel like a truck hit you, well at least me anyway, I was wiped, but your energy will come back, you will bounce back, just rest it out!

    Hope next time they don't bring nothing smelly to those chemo rooms!

  • Mike49
    Mike49 Member Posts: 261
    Great historian
    Oxiliplatin starts almost immediately with the cold sensitivity. Its amazing how soon it starts. I think you should see it start to pass in about five, days.
  • Mike49
    Mike49 Member Posts: 261
    Great historian
    Sorry, I boo booed
  • Mike49
    Mike49 Member Posts: 261
    Great historian
    Sorry again
  • thready
    thready Member Posts: 474
    Thanks for the info
    Thanks for the info. It is good to hear how it went. I start chemo next week. I am scared to death, but it sounds manageable, at least the first treatment.

    I went to the surgeon. He would like me to have chemo for 1 year! What! I am doing good with the thought of 6 months. Well more tests next week and then we can settle down in a routine of some sort. The onc said 6 months and then we will talk.

    Thanks again.
  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,742 Member
    So glad that you finally started your treatment. You will feel better that your plan is in action and this is just another step in moving forward. So sorry to hear about your husband. I hope that you do great with the treatments and your husband feels better soon.

  • luv3jay
    luv3jay Member Posts: 533 Member
    Yes, it will take some time
    Yes, it will take some time to get used to the side effects, but I'm glad you were able to start your treatments. Get some good rest and just don't try to overdo things. Take care of yourself.