Where the Poison is the Remedy*

Today is chemo #3 (I've got about an hour left on my infusion) and I realized that I've yet to paint a picture for you guys as I did my 5-days-a-week-for-6-weeks radiation treatments.

So...chemo. Today I arrived a good 15 minutes late for my lab appointment, which is really no big deal since the lab operates on a first come/served basis. After about 15 minutes of waiting, I was called in to have blood drawn to make sure my blood counts aren't complete crap.

One of the "benefits" of having a port is that they can draw blood from it, eliminating the need to get stuck with a needle. Well, there's still a needle, but I slather the port with numbing cream the night before to make the stick less painful.

This was the first time I'd had my labs drawn from the port, and I have to say, I really don't think it makes things any easier as the tech had to pull out all manner of accoutrements and sterile whatnots, although I suppose he saved me the step of getting stuck for the treatment since they just leave the tube in. He also flushed the line something like seventeen times. Whatever--am I done yet?

So labs done, I wait about 30 minutes to see my onc, which of course means meeting with a nurse-type person, having vitals taken and answering those delightful "what meds/supplements are you taking" question, then waiting another 30 minutes to see the doctor.

The good news is that I pack for chemo like I'm going on a friggin sleepover, so I have all manner of stuff in my bag of tricks to keep me busy. That, and I really, really like my chemo onc (itty bitty doctor crush) so the delay doesn't bend me too out of shape.

We go over what I mentioned to the nurse-type person, he palpates my belly and nodes, we make small talk about the holiday weekend, and that's pretty much that.

One change--I get to skip the whole meeting-with-the-doctor thing next go 'round (assuming I don't get flattened by whatever bug Violet brings home from daycare) and will proceed directly from lab to chemo, for a savings of about 90 mins or so. SWEET!

Ok, so from Dr. Onc, we proceed to chemotherapy, where I check in and wait some more.

(I know, so far this is the most scintillating blog post you've ever read. EV-AR. Try to contain yourselves--there's more to come!!)

Eventually, my name gets called (which they ask me to spell--this will happen several times as they verify that the right person is getting the right drugs), and a nurse walks me back to the chemo suites. The first time I got a room with a bed, the second time I got a room with a chair, but today I got a room with a chair but no door. I like having a door. I also like turning the lights off. Hopefully next time I will get both.

A different nurse comes in a little while later and gets a line of saline going into the line coming out of my port (left by the lab). I wait and wait and wait some more as we wait for the chemo orders get filled. Eventually, the Oxaliplatin and Leucovorin arrives, the nurse puts on her hazmat suit and calls in another nurse for a double-check, comparing the drug labels to my patient wristband.

Once everything's hung, it's basically a twoish hour wait until it's all processed. Once that's done, they'll hook me up to the 46h 5FU infusion pack and at some point before I leave I'll have to get trained on how to deaccess my port so I'm not a hostage to the infusion center.

Other than that and today's impromptu visit by a nutritionist (who came into my area and read my chart for several minutes before introducing herself, nice manners, lady), that's pretty much the extent of the chemo routine.

*Anyone get the reference?


HH said...

black crowes song - remedy?

Sugarmouth O'Riordan said...

You were right about it being a song, but a little off with the band...

hh said...

yeah - your music has always been too advanced for me. i'm still stuck in the slow lane/mainstream. now quote me a britney spears song and i'm all over it! ;) (kinda kidding)

jennyolson said...

jason mraz?
i could crush hh with my vast and completely useless britney spears knowledge!