No, I’m not talking about the HBO series that locked me in from the first episode. (If you haven’t watched it I highly recommend taking a gander) I’m talking about the first night after chemo. They prepped me for the day of….. told me to expect it to be a long ass day at least for my first treatment. I arrive and they immediately access my port in my chest. The glue hasn’t even worn off the incision it’s so fresh. It’s raw, and sore…. I haven’t been able to wear a bra or any tight fitting clothing since I had it placed because it’s right on the strap line….so yea, poke that needle right in that thing! Lets go! Ugh.
Access the port and away we go. First drug they give me is prednisone…..100mg all at once and everyday for the next 5 days. Fabulous. Then they hook me up with the R drug from my RCHOP cocktail. The average infusion time for this little baby is 2 -4 hours depending on how you respond. They start off at 100 mcg per hour and increase it by 50 every 30 minutes until it’s humming at 300mcg to polish it off. I’m tolerating it nicely until about oh…..150 – 200. Then my throat starts feeling scratchy. Kind of like when you have that disgusting post nasal drip and just makes your throat kind of raw? Or does that just happen to me? Either way you get the point. So, the throat is scratchy…. I pop a life saver. Gets more scratchy, and then starts getting tight. Ok, now wtf is going on. Then the plot thickens. My chest starts tightening up….like i’ve been a 3 pack a day smoker for a few too many years. I don’t exactly know what the feels like, but it felt like a small toddler was sitting on my sternum. Can’t take a deep breath, and my breaths start getting all raspy like a phone sex operator. But not the hot kind. This is less than optimal. They can’t stop the infusion….go figure so they call my oncologist (we’ve now named him “The Big Kahuna”) and they decide to pump me FULL of a shit pot of antihistamines. Benadryl, some other crap that started with a C. Anyway, the reaction wears off and they continue to crank it up to 300 slowly…..the infusion takes about 5 hours. Mind you I have 3 more drugs to go. Eff. Drug #4 is a drug they’ve coined the “red devil”. Lovely. It looks like red syrup in the bag……like something I would have drank as a kid. But let me tell ya. This shit is nasty. For the next 48 hours Zach and I cannot share the same toilet. I have to flush twice after I use the pots. He can’t give me any smooches and he absolutely cannot drink after me. Why you ask? Because this shit causes chemical burns to the skin. Yea, friends….you read that correctly. Chemical burns. If he uses my pots and I forget to flush twice, and he magically gets a little toilet juice on his bum….it’ll burn him. And that’s what’s coursing through my veins right now. No barfing or nausea yet…but i’m pre-medding like a champ. Some of you have seen me after a hard night out and know what a monster I am when I get barfy sick….can you imagine what i’m going to do if I barf this stuff up? Chemical burns in my mouth and nose. Ahhh….nah. No thanks. Anyway…we polish up the day all the other infusions go off without a hitch and we head out after a 10 hour day. I’m pooped. But NEVER too pooped for BBQ! So we stop and I eat my body weight in brisket. Winning.
So, back to the reasoning for this post. Last night. We get home and we’re farting around the house…unpacking from the long day. My Dad brought me a bunch of gifts….and by gifts I mean a thermometer, face masks, and a bluetooth enabled blood pressure cuff. It ain’t even my birthday yet!! But….doctors orders. I have to take my temp and my blood pressure twice a day going forward. Bleh. We head off to bed and I zonk out. Like before my head even hits the pillow type of zonk. I remain comatose until about 2am and I wake up in a complete panic. Friends, you’re going to think i’m crazy when you read this. But here it goes….. You know when you’re at the dentist and you wear one of those lead vests to have your x-rays done? Imagine one of those, but covering your ENTIRE body. Weighing you down, and you can literally feel every single bone, no matter how small type of ache. Like my bones were having the cold flashes you get when you’re ill….hot then cold. I had this electric type of cold/achey sensation in all of my bones. I woke my Dad and Zach up in a complete panic…..I couldn’t even begin to explain how I was feeling. First it was in my fingers….then it radiates to my wrists, and up the sides of my forearms. Elbows are next. Knees, then quads….then hips and back. I can FEEL the drugs coursing through my body and the only complete sentence I could even udder was “I feel like it’s trying to kill me”.
Zach helps me with my breathing to calm my shit down….I pop some xanax and i’m again off in lala land. I call my nurse first thing this morning and it’s all a semi-normal reaction. The R drug is what causes it…and I can expect it to get worse over the next 3 days. But….by the grace of god he called me in more feel good pills to get me thru. Worse part of it is that this shit compounds in your system after each treatment. So, I can expect the reactions to get worse and worse each time. Fabulous! I got some zzz’s and i’m feeling 100% better today, but I gotta be honest…..i’m dreading going to bed. And you know how much I love me some zzzz’s! Until next time, friends…..