Our morning started real early, leaving the house at 6:20 a.m. for my 7:30 IV start for surgical port installation. That is a small incision on the underside of my arm where an access catheter/portal is placed under the skin so they won’t have to stick my veins for the next year! The genetcist’s nurse came down and got my blood for the genetic testing to go forward, sice she wasn’t able to get blood out of my rolling veins Monday last week. The anesthesia for this morning’s surgery didn’t work for some weird reason, so I was never sedated….awake , alert, talking about our kids, colleges, music, fully normal conversations for the whole surgery but only felt the lidocaine injections (like at a dentist) and no real surgical pain until that wore off a couple of hours later. They gave me Mortrin for it and ot seems to cover the pain okay. . And by the way, the prayers worked! IV started very first try and I cried tears of JOY! Hope I didn’t scare Roman, my big burly nurse-man. He was the guy who was unable to get me sedated. He was very kind though. Next Tim & I walked up to the chemotherapy suite and I was given a bed, the only one in the room, all other patients were in chairs/recliners. The infusions I have consist of three bags and some nasty side effects . They prep me first with bags infused with anti-nausea drugs and oral meds for allergic reactions that could occur, steroids, and they take double the time putting them into you to be sure you tolerate them well..one bag took 3 1/2 hours to drip in! The others about 90 minutes each so we didn’t leave until 6:15 p.m. What a long day. My nausea actually went away as asoon as Tim brought back Subway sandwiches and chips and a Snickers bar! There were so many instructions given, videos to watch on various precautions and such (ease of developing infection as white cells drop in the next few days) as well as video on how to administer a shot I have top give myself tomorrow – I think I can really do this myself now! I’d rather hurt myself than have someone else hurt me with a shot! They sent me home with a boat load of drugs to take on certain days at certain times and I should probably keep a good log of all of it and have Tim check and double check me. We learned that one of the drugs I have to get (Herceptin) is given weekly for 52 weeks. One down today! Just 51 to go! It is a 1 hour infusion in the chemo suite….This drug is the only FDA approved drug to treat the particular cancer onco-gene my tumor carried called “Her2Nu”. That can be given along with the other 5 treatments of chemo I will have over the next 18 weeks as well. SO much to learn! So many trip to walter Reed and many rides needed so anyone with free time on a Monday or Wed. for about 4 hours just let me know! The long day infusion days Tim will take me to.
I also learned today after further research in my family history, that of my father’s two aunts who died of breast cancer 50 years ago when they were under 40, one had two daughters (now in their 70’s) and BOTH had breast cancer a few years ago. I am more anxious now than ever to get my genetic results back January 23rd!
Well it has been a long day but one better than I expected (and a delicious donated dinner and bottle of wine to come home to as well! Thank you Kathy!) and may prayers felt coming my way so I say Thank you ! More to come as side effects set in over these next few days. I’ve been warned! So far just a sore throat. I expect a bit worse but who knows.