Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kicking Some Carboplatin Ass

Waiting to be called into the Chemo ward.

I'm OVERJOYED and sooooo relieved to report that Monday's (formerly known as) Chemo Hell treatment, has been absolutely, 100 percent manageable. No nausea! No throwing up! No too-gross-to-get-into bathroom issues!

I awoke yesterday after Monday's treatment, popped a second-day Emend, a Dexemethasone (steroid pill), chugged some orange juice—my new addiction—and by the afternoon was out and about running errands with Mom. I even ran into gay bf at the Blockbuster/Smoothie King/For Eyes shopping center. (Thursday I finally got around to getting new eyeglasses and woke up Friday with fucking Conjunctivitis from trying on hordes of their nasty, germy frames. Just what I needed before chemo. But I went in to the doctor's Friday, got oral meds—coincidentally the same aforementioned steroid.

Dad was able to clear his Friday afternoon schedule, so Mom and him drove in, dogs in tow. Mom drove, dropped Dad at hospital and he was with me for the 45 minute Zometa infusion. Tired a bit that night. And Oh.My.God. we watched the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. Utterly heartbreaking, inspiring, redemptive, admirable, informative and *unbelievable.* You will likely have to cover your eyes for just a couple parts. The good news is that the exposure the filmmakers brought to the evil town of Taiji, Japan worked. I immediately logged on to the film's Web site to donate, and their interface is whacked. Grrr. Anyway, PLEASE rent this film if you are an animal lover. Or a fish eater. Also, the Mercury issue is explained very clearly and is probably at odds with what you believe to be true. Anyway, we chilled all weekend. I did not feel good from the Zometa—fever, chills, bone aches and Saturday in bed. Sunday we did make it to a family lunch in Ft. Lauderdale, dropped Dad at the airport and came home. Sunday night, I wasn't really that anxious. I'd done all I could to prepare. Ate a bunch of whole grains and cooked veggies per Chad's recs. Got a good night's sleep.

On the way to chemo Monday, Dr. Norton's tres-knowledgeable and bad ass nurse happened to call. I ran everything by her. She said if I even threw up once to call Schwartz. Also, she said that my reaction to the first Carbo was indeed unusual; that it was likely the combo of the Carbo and Gemzar and the lack of steroids that did me in.

So we went into the Chemo ward armed and ready, nervous about veins holding up—remember no port this time. (My right arm is so bruised it's beyond.) Schwartz was so pleased with my progress. The largest node in the neck, per his palpation are already down from about 3 cm to about 1 cm! I've only got two Carbos left. Brother arrives Sunday for the easy treatment Monday; just the Gemzar.

I awoke this a.m. to an overwhelming stench of 409, finding Mom on her hands and knees in her Hanro nightie scrubbing my hall floors. NO ventilation. Just what a Chemo patient needs. Toxic fumes. I promptly opened the patio door and removed Wally's food and water bowl. Ugh!!
After she finished OCD cleaning—I actually hired a cleaning service on Friday and it's like they didn't even clean the floors! So not happy with them and will NOT be using them again. She's going to hit the road soon, since I'm feeling decent, but she's stepped out to go to TJ Maxx. [She's been gone nearly an hour now. It's a two minute walk.] Not that she doesn't deserve some retail therapy.

I heard he say as she was leaving (to the dogs), "I'll be right back girls! Gotta go get my fix!"

What I Did Differently This Time to Prepare:

• Put on a Sancuso anti-nauseau patch 24 hours before treatment
• Had Chad hit all my spleen points hard in Thursday's acupuncture session (He informed me that the spleen is responsible for ALL chemo side effects—nausea, loose stool and low energy!! Who knew?? He's so fucking smart it's insane.)
• Got a good night's sleep
• Ate healthy—lots of whole grains per Chad
• Kept uber-hydrated. Makes the veins pop. The last thing I want is another port. Water, juice, tea.
• Took the steroids Tuesday, today and through tomorrow
• Stayed in as positive a mental state as I could
• Ate lots of good food throughout the day Monday, knowing I wouldn't be so hungry afterwards

And that's pretty much all, folks. Not that it's not enough. It's totally more than enough. All my angels and pharmaceuticals were on my side. I must call Karen today and tell her how well I'm doing. The weather could not be greater, so I'm going to take my fucking pasty ass to the pool and get me some Vitamin D. Seriously, I look like I live in the Midwest. Thank you endlessly for all your love and support. I am so, so grateful. xoxo

The Chemo beeper, which flashes when it's your turn to enter Le Ward.

The very beginning of the infusion; not knowing what to expect.

Wally's biggest fans—my neighbors Dylan and Isabela.

Master of the house.

This a.m. in South Beach. I'm now especially on the lookout for dolphins. I don't see many due to the heavy boat traffic.