Well, this is my first blog entry and by now, you’ve probably learned that I have recently been diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and have started treatments. The outreach of family, friends and co-workers has been overwhleming, very supportve, loving and very much appreciated. I am grateful for all of you. My wonderful husband Dan helped me set up this page to outline the details of my cancer diagnosis, treatments, status updates, etc. for me/us to share with all of you. Generalized information is included in the links to the left and right (my diagnosis, cancer facts, treatments, surgeries, plans, doctors, etc.) and the blog entries here, I plan to keep up with as my treatments proceed. Thank you for taking the time to understand what I’m going through and for being there for me.
Chemo Cycle 1 / Day 1 ~ Yesterday was my frist day/cycle of chemo. I arrived at 9am at Carolina’s Hematology and Oncology Associates. I met with Helen first, Dr. Limentani’s assistant, then Dr. Limentani, the man who is saving my life. They ran some vital signs, etc. and then landed us (me, Dan, my Mom) in the chemo treatment room. The chemo room is on the top floor and overlooks uptown Charlotte. It’s very nice. Each patient can have one guest with them at a time. They let my mom and Dan sit with me for the first hour or two since this was my first time. Each patient had their own TV (with all channels, mine of course set on HGTV), wireless connections, snacks, drinks, pillows, heated blankets and lots more. It was very comfortable, well at least for me, hopefully my mom and Dan were comfortable too.
There were about 15 other people getting chemo yesterday. I think I was the youngest in there. They have a special treatment room for children though. There was a pretty even mix of men and women. I met a few of them and we shared stories, but only for a short while. Many of the people in there have already lost their hair.
My treatments were given through an IV. In a few weeks, I’ll have a semi-permanent port implanted in my chest for the rest of my IV treatments. They gave me some anxiety/sleeping IV first, which hit immediately and was great. Then some nausea medicine through the same IV. They waited for that all to settle in and then did triple control checks on all the chemo meds, etc. They ran each chemo treatment separately. They started with Taxotere first, which lasted an hour. This one was the worst because I had to soak my finger tips in ice for the full hour to help prevent one of the side effects, nail damage. The ice was the most painful part. The second chemo drug they ran was the Carboplatin; also for an hour. The last one was Herceptin (for the HER2+ over amplification). This one lasted 90 minutes the first time but will be one hour going forward. The Hercetin is also the treatment I will get weekly during the 3 month chemo rounds and every 3 weeks after that to round out 52 weeks (1 year).
The whole visit lasted 7 1/2 hours. I heard the phrase “chemo brain” for the first time and really learned it was true and what it meant by the end of the day. Time flew by, I had no sense of time, was a little loopy (well a lot loopy I guess). My mom and Dan were rotating in and out for an hour or two at a time and each time one of them came back in it seemed like 5 minutes when really it had been an hour and a half. I was like this all day. After the chemo was over, I picked up some brochures and took a few free hats, which were made by charitable organizations and left for the chemo patients. I tried to read a book in the chemo room but couldn’t get through one paragraph. It was even hard to concentrate on TV. I spoke with several family members and friends that night and had to revisit my phone history this morning to remember who I talked to.