Good morning no more chemo!

17 Jul

Yesterday was my last round of chemo.  This has been quite a ride (and will still be so for the next several days getting through what I not so affectionately call my “chemo weekend” . . . especially since “chemo weekend” really lasts for about ten days now).  So I will likely feel pretty crummy physically for the next several days.  But, I am definitely celebrating the fact that yesterday I endured the very last 8 1/2 hour intravenous cocktail. It really is such a long day. And, while I never really paid attention to it, I see two sets of chemo patients come and go each time I have a treatment.  The morning group who come in about 9:00 am (an hour after I get started) and the afternoon group who come in at about 2:00 and many of the afternoon chemo patients STILL get out of there before me.  Everyone makes fun of me for bringing in so much stuff into the treatment room . . . “Hey Lisa, ya movin into this place?” to which my nurse defends me and says if your chemo took 8 or 9 hours you’d be packing in some stuff too.  Then the room get’s a little quieter after that.

I was in the group treatment room yesterday so I was ribbed all day. I have made a lot of friends in this room. For the chemo days, I have always been in the semi private room because that is where you can have a family member or friend sit with you. This has been my nurses preferred placement for me so that I can be watched for any reactions as I am highly allergic to two of the medications that I have during the chemo. But, yesterday, there was a woman in for treatment who was very sick and so she needed to be isolated from the rest of us.  Hence, I was put in the group treatment room. But, I am in the group treatment on all of the other Thursdays for my weekly Herceptin treatment.  So I have met many cancer patients in this room since April 2nd when my treatment first began. There is an instant bond that develops. I have met the sons and daughters of many of these patients (most patients are much older than me, although there are a few that are closer to my age, I am generally the youngest in the room). We have had some great conversations. Barbara, she is probably in her late 60s maybe 70 – she is a huge movie buff and when I see her it is like sitting next to Siskel and Egbert. She has good taste in films.  I left yesterday with a few good rental recommendations for my weekend.

And there was Cathy (or Chick as her friends call her – I get to call her Chick) who I miss a lot. I have sat next to her for nearly every chemo round. She was one chemo round ahead of me when I started so she graduated last month.  I miss her. But, I will talk to her soon. Her daughter would often come and stay in the room with us. And, I owe her daughter my life – literally.  She just happens to be a cancer nurse and she walked in right at the moment I stopped breathing during the  second chemo round. She immediately new what was wrong, got a nurse in who then took care of me and got me back to breathing.  I was worried that something like that might happen yesterday (another severe reaction). But, everything went smoothly and for the first time I got out of there at 4:3o ish.  It was nice.

There are about six or seven reclining chairs all in a semi-circle – perfect for joking around, and being made fun of when you sleep and snore loudly.  Most everyone is in good spirits. There is also a tv that we can all see. Fortunately I lucked out as no one asked to have it turned on all day. I have  grown to hate day time television.  The chemo was bad enough, but being subjected to soap operas at a very high volume just takes me over the edge a bit.

I will be in this room pretty often as I continue my weekly herceptin treatments (these take only about an hour and a half and do not cause any bad reactions for me, not physcial symptoms, pain or hair loss or any of those things – herceptin is the mon-clonal antibody that I will get for a year). Eventually (after surgery, I believe) I will start going in only every three weeks for this treatment. It will be a triple dose, so it will take about three times as long to get, but I will only have to do it once every three weeks. I am very excited about that. And, as I said before, there are no side affects that I feel from taking this drug.

So, I have reached a huge landmark in my treatment. I have been told by many that have gone through chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, that of all of it, the chemotherapy was by far the worst part of their cancer treatment.  So, I am quite relieved to be done with chemotherapy.  What a journey. I can’t believe how fast it has gone by.  It has been three and a half months of chemo now.  And I am done!

I am currently scheduled to have surgery on August 7th. It is coming up quick and I have a lot to do to get ready for it (including exercise and strengthening core muscles to improve recovery from the surgery). Since I will be having a bi-lateral mastectomy there will be a time that I can not really use my arms to lift myself up out of bed, or hold onto the railing on my stairs. So, it was suggested that I work on my stomach muscles to make it a bit easier to get up and down.  It should not be for too long. But, just in case, I am really going to work hard on that area in the coming weeks.  Hopefully there will be time to improve this area.

So, today I am feeling great – the excited to be done with the 8 plus hour days of chemo and to know that whatever pain or discomfort I experience this week will be my last chemo pain/discomfort.  Thank God, it is over 🙂

And, thank you to everyone who is praying for me and sending out good thoughts my way!  Please continue praying for me as my battle is not over yet. But, I am getting through this and it feels so good to be done with this phase!

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