08 April 2011


I am currently on the couch, trying desperately not to puke while the first anti-nausea drug kicks in.

Everything started out normal enough. The nurse, whose name happened to be Sharon, took half my blood, making plenty of room for the horsepill and eight gallons of IVs. It was by no means fun, but at least I had Mommy and Matt to talk with and order about.

The first drip was a Benadryl and something else cocktail designed to ward off allergic reactions and cure me of hairy wolf feet. The first real drug was the Herceptin, the HER2 drug. No problem there, unless you count having to wait for an hour and a half while it slowly seeped into me arm. That was my first dose of a year's worth of treatment. Then came something else of equal boredom. And then came the evil known as Taxotere.

About a minute after it started, I suddenly felt nauseated beyond all repair, immediately followed by my face turning firetruck red and my breathing becoming difficult. Having never had an allergic reaction since the Pertussis vaccine when I was a youngin (according to mom, that merely gave me a fever and the urge to scream, but the screaming part wasn't anything special), it would be appropriate to describe my terror as me thinking I'm about to die.

Dr. Oncologist and her nurse minions rushed over to stop the drip and flush me with all sorts of anti-allergy drugs. I didn't catch the name of most of them, but I'm sure Matt remembers. They were about to hook me up to oxygen, but the hydrocortisone was nice enough to let me breath.

Apparently the stupid Taxotere is incredibly important, and I would have received it regardless of the HER2 results. In other words, once I recovered and was given a direct shot of Benadryl, bringing me up to 75mg of intravenous Benadryl, it was time to restart the damn Taxotere. This time the drip would be much slower.

I now know what it's like to be a fish in a bowl as everyone was staring at me for signs of firetruck face. I was fine at ridiculously slow drip pace one, enticing Nurse Sharon to bump up the rate ever so slightly. Still fine, and still being pumped full of anti-firetruck face drugs, Dr. Oncologist authorized another increase. This turned out to be a mistake.

I felt my cheeks start to burn again and my throat felt weird. NURSE! The Taxotere was officially called off for the day. Since I technically only need four doses of it, but I'm scheduled for six doses of the other goops, this wasn't a major setback, just an unfortunate one. Dr. Oncologist decided that since she and her nurses had no other ideas for getting the damn stuff in me while allowing me to breath, she is going to spend some time with the other doctors figuring out what to do such that yesterday's results don't reoccur. The stupid Taxotere is that important.

It's hard to tell, but there are seven bags hanging. This does not include all of the injections that were shot directly into the IV.

Happily, it was time to go home. Or at least that was the plan until my face started burning on the car ride. Matt immediately called the doctor, who instructed him to give me two of the steroid pills. They didn't work. Another phone call to Dr. Oncologist and it was time to turn around and go to the emergency room at St. Johns. The doctor called the ER ahead of time, and conveniently her office is part of the St. Johns medical center, so they had all my records before I arrived.

I was pushed in on a wheel chair because all the medicines left me unable to walk without tipping over in the most inconvenient direction possible. I felt horrible. I was told I looked nice and red again. That didn't make me feel any better, but at least it got me into my own private ER room quickly. I didn't even know they had private rooms there.

They only let one visitor go into the back with me. Since I'd be damned if I was letting go of Matt's hand, he was it. Needless to say, I was terrified and not letting him go anywhere. A random nurse was kind enough to bring my mom in, under the guise that the waiting room was too full for her to stay in there.

I believe they started with blood tests, via a shiny new IV. Since I can only have injection in my right arm, it's starting to look rather miserable. I started feeling more like a non-dying person. I also received my first allergy notice band, which I proudly displayed next to the regular admissions band.

On a side note, apparently most tetanus shots are given with pertussis now, for god knows what reason. I may have to start wearing a medical bracelet.

The doctors wanted a urine test, so I experienced the thrill of peeing in front of a complete stranger. Her purpose was making sure I didn't fall over and bonk my head. Sadly, she was necessary.

As various tests came back in what I can only assume was record timing, I was given drugs to make everything all better.

All I wanted to do was go home. Eventually, I got my wish, but two someones insisted that I eat a small bowl of chicken soup broth before I went to bed. They are so mean.

I feel better this morning, though my face still feels hot. I have to go back to Dr. Oncologist anyway, for a Neupogen shot. Apparently it's important if I want my white blood cell count to stay up.

We'll see what happens.


photonsrain said...

BIG THUMBS DOWN for allergic reactions.

And if you hate chemo, just think about how much the cancer hates these drugs. Glad you've got Herceptin on the case, and I hope the Taxotere issue is resolved.

dreamerj25 said...

Cute little guy sitting on the machine, cheering you on!

toaster83 said...

As a third-party, lucid observer, let me add a few details.

1. The IV Benadryl also came with IV Pepcid.
2. After the allergic reaction, the doctors gave more Benadryl, a little more Pepcid, some Zantac, and a shot of hydrocortisone.
3. The first chemo drug was carboplatin.

moonlightalice said...

All I can say is: