Friday, May 22, 2009

One Down, Three to Go...

Posted Oct 16, 2008 8:59pm

Well, that was easy. After nearly 5 hours on an IV, I am very pleased that I decided to have a port implant last week. Other than looking like a tiny alien is about to burst from under my collarbone, it’s not much of a bother. Unless I wear a seatbelt. But I can work around that, and ‘tis the season for scary special effects, so I can’t complain.

Last night I had a difficult time sleeping, which I attribute to first of three days of the steroids necessary around each session. Fortunately, a friend recently told me about a “Healing Sound” concert she attended that was quite impressive. I sampled the collection, ordered a couple of CDs and received them just in time to load into the iPod. A fascinating arrangement of gongs, Tibetan bowls, didgeridoo and intermittent chanting, it reverberates through your entire body. You can listen to clips at
I had first listened to them yesterday on my lunch break while doing the 30 minute detox footbath and it was so relaxing that I fell asleep in the chair! It was just as effective last night, and I woke up feeling quite refreshed. Thanks, B!

Dave & I arrived at the clinic at 10:00 a.m., and after I was comfortably settled into a big green recliner and plugged into the drip line, I kissed him goodbye & sent him off to work. The treatment areas are very small, with little room for visitors. There is enough room between the three recliners that patients don’t feel crowded, but can still carry on a conversation with each other when we choose to do so. One of my “roommates” in today’s session said she was going to make her port into a necklace after it was removed – her way of thumbing her nose at the cancer she knows she beat.

The treatment started with a blood draw, which I’ll do weekly, followed by anti-nausea meds. Each drug is given separately, and takes 45 to 90 minutes each, depending on the dose. The first was herceptin, and then taxofere. Just before starting the last round, carboplaten, I took a bathroom break – eeeeeeuuuwwww! The nurses laughed and nodded knowingly at the puckered expression on my face as I came out of the bathroom. The upside is that my kidneys were appropriately detoxifying. The downside was it smelled like rancid popcorn!! I know, overshare. Happy to report it all normalized by the second break.

As usual I overpacked. Essentially, I prepared for a cross-country flight. The neck pillow came in very handy, and I had time to watch a couple of movies on the portable player as well as read 2 chapters of “Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips.” But the second book and two magazines were extra weight, not to mention most of the snacks I lugged along in my mini-cooler. I never did get to the iPod music, because I never felt like snoozing. I was alert and comfy for the duration, and by the time we left about 3:00 p.m., I felt good enough to have gone to work. Not knowing what to expect, I had not scheduled any appointments for today, but tomorrow is a full day and I anticipate I’ll be raring to go.

The cheerful nurses hovered attentively, checking up on meds, and swooping en masse to get the name of my movie (“Night on Earth”) when I laughed out loud. The room divider had two candy dishes – one with Tootsie Pops and the other with ginger candy for nausea. Have I every mentioned I am a ginger addict??? I use it in my juicer, and could easily devour a bag of Trader Joe’s crystallized ginger (the one without the sugar coating) or their new ginger chips, which are thankfully a fraction of the calories. I keep stocked up on Stash Lemon Ginger tea, and even keep some at the office in case anyone feels nauseated. So I felt right at home!

I don’t mean to make light of this process; some of the folks that came and went during the day were obviously very ill. But not everyone was, not everyone was hairless, and the response to treatment appears to be as mysterious as the disease itself. Both of the ladies in my treatment pod warned me that taste buds become useless, and even when hungry, nothing is appealing. I am ever grateful for my juicer; I think it will make it easier for me to ingest a lot of concentrated nutrients without having to force solid foods if I’m not in the mood.

Dave is a little apprehensive about my focus on vegetarianism, but I have so many fabulous cookbooks on the subject, that everything will be delicious. We rarely eat red meat, and every meal is primarily veggies as it is. Just a little compromise; I’ll make sure he’s well fed and make sure there’s always some chicken on his salad! A year without alcohol will be interesting, but I know I’ll come out of this healthier than ever.

With the assistance of some wonderful colleagues, I’ve narrowed down the supportive supplements that will be most effective in the process, and I’m actually excited to see how this unfolds. Thank you for all your love, support, healing gifts as you carry me along this journey.
Love, Laurie