I had my second chemo treatment yesterday and it was a different experience than the first as it was at a treatment center here in Syracuse and not in my hospital room like in Boston. It is like this huge open lounge full of people getting treatment. Everyone seems to be really upbeat and friendly. They administered other meds first via IV (steroids, allergy meds, stomach meds) and the allergy meds literally knocked me out so I got to sleep during the entire treatment, and from the way people were staring at me when I woke up, I think I snored pretty loudly.
I feel OK now and don't expect to get sick until tomorrow/Monday like last time, and am keeping my fingers crossed that it will still be mild like it was before. They are not sure what to tell me to expect because the drug I am getting (Taxol) is one that is normally administered every three weeks instead of weekly. On Tuesday afternoon I have to go in for a walk-in surgery to get a port installed in my chest, where they can take my blood and administer the medicine without having to do an IV each time. I am happy about that as the IV nurses don't seem to have an easy time finding good veins in my arm for the treatment. I am also trying to find instructions on the Internet how to use the port they install to drink my coffee intravenously...that will save me some time and will get the caffeine I need to function in my blood much more efficiently than drinking it! Just kidding...
When talking to the chemo nurse and doing some research on the drug I am taking I found it interesting to learn how carefully they need to handle it. One of the reasons they are doing the port is for my safety, as if the IV were to leak and the Taxol were to get on my skin it would cause irreversible tissue damage. They have to wear special gloves when handling it as well. I guess that's good in the sense that it sounds like it's good at it's job (killing cells) but it's kind of scary that they are so worried about getting it on my skin while they pump it into my veins!
I just want everyone to know I still feel great and if you saw me you still wouldn't know there was anything wrong with me. My attitude about this hasn't changed and though I am anxious about the next 4-5 weeks I am still amped up to fight this and can't wait for the next round of tests. I joked with my doctor this week that I am one of the few people who is actually hoping for open-heart surgery, as that will mean the plan is working. I am going back to work on Tuesday and am really excited about that, as one of my doctors told me last week that I wouldn't be going back to work for awhile (of course that was before they decided to delay the surgeries I need to give me chemo), so I have to look at that as a small victory. Thanks again everyone for all the well-wishes...I can't believe how much support I have received. It's been unbelievable and I am literally moved by the support I have received from my family and friends, from my employer (The American Heart Association), from Crouse Hospital and from everyone else who has been involved in helping us get through this.