First chemo


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I have to admit I was feeling a little hyper the morning of my first chemotherapy, mostly because I didn’t know I was actually going to get to have chemo. My oncologist might not have the pathology back, it might be inconclusive, it might show something that would contraindicate chemo, who knows? But, with Tessa at my side, I got the go-ahead to cross the hall into the chemo lounge. I got my own nurse, who was really nice and down to earth. She told me to take the lounger between the two beds, since that would leave more room for Tessa to sit with me. 

     Launch the IV. Or almost. No luck on the first try (massive bruise, despite hasty ice packing), but the second time was the charm. Then it was hour after hour of changing IV bags, lorazepam, ondansetron (anti-nausea drug), a dietician, a pharmacist, a social worker, a very tasteless sandwich, and a predicament. 

     The predicament was that the immunobooster shot I need (with chemo rounds only two weeks apart, I need this especially so counts can rebound before the next treatment) costs $2,820, and even though my health insurance will cover it (yay!) they say I need to pay for it first and send them the receipt to be reimbursed (hahahahahahaha! like I have a card that can take a $3,000 charge?) (which means boo!!!) and I’d have to pay $282 out of pocket (boo again!), but there’s an arm’s length company from Big Pharma Amgen, called Victory Group, that will help me by paying most of that $282 (yay!). It takes the full four hours of IV chemo for the pharmacist, pharmacy manager, my health insurer and the Victory Group rep to get it all straightened out, but they do. I leave the hospital with a little syringe worth nearly 3K. Wow.

     My doctor gave me three types of anti-nauseants, and I took each one when told, and really didn’t feel nauseous. 24 hours after the chemo was finished, I had the 3K shot—Neulasta—and took over-the-counter Claritin, just like she said, to counteract the sometimes severe bone pain brought on by the Neulasta. I took Claritin for 5 days, no bone pain. No bone pain on day 6. On day 7 I thought I had aged 40 years. The pain in my pelvis was excruciating—every step was a new tsunami of OWWWWWWWW. I tried naproxen. Useless. Straight to to the percocettes.

     I had good energy for the first week, not as much the second week. Raging heartburn, 10-20 Tums per day. I’ve had a sore-throat/coughing/headaches/goopy-crusty-eyes cold for the last four weeks that is showing no signs of leaving.

     One chemo down, seven more to go. 


3 Responses

  1. You still have that cold? Wow, that’s been awhile. What are you taking for the heartburn? If an over the counter will work, try Gaviscon, it’s great.

  2. Hang in there kiddo! You are strong. You can do this.

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