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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Battling the Blood Clot in Round 3 Chemo

What did the ghost say to the bee? ...."B00-BEE!"......Well I was dreading its arrival, but it finally did arrive...Today, the day I got my third chemo treatment.  Kevin and I got ready this morning.  We packed the "chemo" bag with my pink blanket, my phone, a drink, and anything else we thought we would need.   We left the house and drove to Texas Oncology.  I checked in, paid them their money and waited.  I was soon called back to a holding area where I would wait for the lab to call me.  There was an older man there and a woman who sat across from him.  The woman asked if he was here with his wife.  He explained that his wife was in heaven and they had spent several years at this place battling her breast cancer.  He said that they won the battle but that she fell into a deep depression and only lasted two years after that.  He never spoke of what illness he had that brought him there today.  The woman was probably in her late 70's and was waiting while her husband got his blood work done.  Kevin was sitting next to me as we listened to this conversation.  I could see his wheels turning.  I could tell he was thinking "will we be here several years?.....we will win this battle?"  And then he looked at me as if to say "Is there anyone our age in this place?"  We are always so young compared to all the others we see.  Soon it was my turn for the blood draw.  I sat in the chair, locked myself in and gave the lady my right arm.  It is always the right arm from now on because of the lymph nodes they took out of the left.  All blood pressure readings and needle sticks have to be done on the right arm.  I told Kevin to take some pictures.  When they asked what he was doing...I told them he was doing my documentary.  (snicker, snicker, made me feel important)  

So all the blood work was good.  It was now time to meet with Lisa.  Lisa is a physician's assistant and basically reviews your weeks since your last chemo.  She asked how you did and if there were any changes.  She can prescribe meds for you too.  Let me tell you, when you have cancer, they are not stingy with the meds.  My surgeon's office would not refill my hydrocodone.  Instead they said they needed to switch me to Darvocet, both for pain.  Well, the Darvocet has not done didily squat.  I might take one pain pill a day usually in the evening.  I just seem to hurt around my incision, which has not completely healed.  I also have a general aches and pains all over and the chemo headache.  I have suffered from migraines since I was about 22, but I have never received any kind of medication for them.  So, Lisa said she had no problems prescribing the Hydrocodone, and I was glad.  Lisa works directly for my oncologist.  She tells you to take the anti-nausea medication liberally, before you think you need it. They assure you that they won't "cut you off" and you will have plenty of refills.  They want you to be as comfortable as you can be when you are fighting this battle of cancer.  Finally, doctors that make sense.

After getting the OK, we were off to the infusion/chemo room.  Ellie, my mother-n-law was waiting on us in the hallway.  I was very glad to see her.  This was the first time she got to see me completely bald.  I was wearing a sparkling newsboy style hat and she thought it was cute.  So we all got to the room and I pick a chair and got situated.  A new nurse whom I have not met introduces herself.  She gets everything ready to put into my port.  This time there was no blood return when the needle/hook went into the port.  The saline drip and the anti-nausea meds were dripping just fine so she said that we would continue.  However, when the Adriamycin goes in, they MUST have a blood return.  Why?  Because if some of it were to get trapped under or between a vein and some tissue, it would eat right through the tissue, even bone.  Yep!  This is what they told me.  I guess that is another reason that they sit beside you and actually push it through the line into the port.  I think it has to stay moving.  That is my guess.  I guess if they just put it in a drip line and walked off and something went wrong it might just burn a whole through your chest or something.  Another reason I get nauseated at the thought of getting chemo.  So they gave me a bag of some meds that they often give heart attack patients to see if they could loosen a blood clot that may be at the opening of the port's line that goes into the main vessel heading into the heart.  After that they gave me Cytoxan.  They gave it to me first this time because they still were not getting a blood return in the line.  After that was over they gave me another bag of the heart attack med...all the while assuring me that it was a mild dose ( I could not help but think....yeah but this is my second dose!)   They tried for a blood return again and no such luck.  They gave me  some saline hoping to flush away the blockage.  The nurse then said that she would give me another bag of the heart attack meds.  This would be the third dose of the heart attack medicine. This was very disturbing to me.  It is bad enough that you feel you are being poisoned, but now this strong drug and THREE rounds of it.  It was too much.  I began to cry.  Kevin came over to console me.  I looked at Ellie and she was crying too!  After the saline drip was finished, she tried one last time for a blood return in the line.  Hallelujah!  It worked. It was time for the Red Devil.  So the nurse sat beside me pushed it into the line slowly.  It was over quickly and I was glad!

While I was getting treatment Ellie, began to talk to a woman on my right side.  She was the resident "pro" at getting chemo.  She informed us that she had been coming up there for ten years.  I believe she said she comes every week.  She has been living with stage four breast cancer all these years.  I noticed she was wearing a wig.  I guess she always will be as long as she is getting chemo.  Ellie asked her if she believed in God. She replied that she did not.  She seemed to be bitter.  I think that I will include her in my prayers tonight even though I don't know her name.  God knows her name and he knows her very well inside and out and he loves her just as much as he love me.

Thanks for all the comments on my last post.  I think I get more out of the comments left for me than anyone could ever get out of my posts.  I LOVE reading them!!!! Help spread awareness about triple negative by sharing this link with your friends.  You may also share with your FACEBOOK friends.  God bless you all!  Until next time....

Oh I have included a video from KFC and posted also to my previous blog posting titled "Anointed with oil and blessed with KFC" which posted in April.  Here it is if you wish to see it. 
 Just click below.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a rough day today getting your treatment. Hope that you are able to have a restful evening and that you're feeling "good" tomorrow. BTW, love your hat! You're still beautiful and youthful looking as ever! Wishing you blissful sleep and sweet dreams! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers Penny! Cynthia

Tyler Brandley said...

Love the hat Penny! :)

vickyboiles said...

wow! what a day. thought of you all day. COURAGE and STRENGTH - that is what the Lord has adorn you with and VICTORIOUS is your banner! you are Cinderella!

She lived Happily Everafter!
Love you my friend.

elliebelfiglio said...

the name of the woman on your right is Meme. I don't know what it stands for. But she did say that everything is cool and she had arranged her work (American Airline) in a way that she always takes Thursday and Friday out. She said she like scuba diving. She said every thing is fine and she doesn't care(Of course that was a lie). That was the time I asked her if she believed in God.
The woman in back, who was reading your blog is a single mom of three. She is an apartment manager for 18 years and runs a business at side selling candles and such. Her name is Kim. She has stage three TNBC. I guess when you go to a place that everyone is getting chemo, you become curious and want to know their stories. They are now all in my prayers, because now I have names and stories alongside faces. It was so good to see you my child and also my loving son, Kevin. I hope your mother's day will be full of joy my precious child.
Lots of love from here to there.

Anonymous said...

Hope you are feeling okay today and praying that you are well enough to see your mom this weekend. Happy mothers day a little early.


Anonymous said...

Just saw Vicky yesterday & she told me about your wonderful blog:) Pls know that you're in my thoughts/prayers DAILY... Watched your 'lightning fast' daughter @ game last Fri. And pls, pls call if you ever need anything. Happy Mother's Day & in hopes you're able to make your trip comfortably tomorrow. - Holly

Yolanda said...

Who loves your Mother in Law? I do!!! I also have a wonderful Mother in Law! What a blessing!!!

milissaaustinjenkins said...

The bitter woman needs the Lord, I will pray for her to, see I was there once, I was in such denial (it aint just a riven in Egypt!) I would not even utter the word Crohn's but once I accepted that this is mine and God gave it to me I educated myself and the Crohn's and Chemo tablets I take co- haibtate very well together. It is all about acceptence and Meme needs to accept what the good Lord has given her so she can be a peace, with herself and God!

Prayer keeps you blessed but your awesome attitude is what is keeping you strong, in that picture you are beautiful hair or not, hair grows back OK the boobies won't but the ones they can give you can rock the world compared to the others!!! LOL I guess knowing that God is in control is what gives us our peace, lets pray that Meme can find hers and her Lord!! Love you Penny!! Missi

The Wiskow's said...

Stay strong my friend! Love you! I have something for you! I will drop it by next week! Hugs & kisses.

AFWingMom said...

Hello again Penny - I'm sorry that you had a bit of a rough spot at your chemo session. I think I would have been disturbed too after receiving 3 rounds of that other med. LOVE the hat! People are praying for you Penny! (((hugs))) Lisa