Friday, July 16, 2010

4 down, 14 to go!

Today was treatment #4 out of 18 total. It was my first time with the new drug, Cisplatin. The nice lady from the chemo pharmacy came to talk to me about it. She said she likes to group the chemo drugs into 3 categories - those that cause "mild" nausea, those that cause "medium" nausea, and those that cause "high" nausea. Guess which one the Cisplatin is in - Bingo! "HIGH" nausea!! She said the Carboplatin is in the "mild" nausea group (could've fooled me!) and she was disappointed they weren't going to try it one more time - a "challenge treatment" she called it, to make sure the reaction last week wasn't a fluke. I don't know, I'm not the doctor and I don't get paid the big bucks to know the risks. But I do know that typically second allergic reactions tend to be more severe than the first ones and anaphylaxis is a possibility with Carboplatin. I REALLY wasn't too excited about suffocating and passing out, especially since I was in the same cubicle as last week - creeped me out a little bit!

I have read that they can infuse the carbo much slower to reduce the risk of reaction, but I really think I'd just rather try the cisplatin if it's just as good. Even though everyone I've talked with has told me to expect "a significant change in the amount of stomach upset" with the cisplatin - but hey, maybe I will feel even better afterward! What? Don't laugh, anything is possible! I know, I know . . . even when I told the nice pharmacy lady this optimistic prediction, she just gave me a patronizing smile as if saying, "oh little child, what a lollipop and rainbow world you must live in!"

But I did get new anti-nausea drugs. One is a patch that works like the Zofran but in continual doses. I'm supposed to put it on my upper arm the night before chemo and leave it on for the week. The only problem was I couldn't get it until this morning. Yesterday, CVS and Ingles didn't have it since it's very new. Lakeside did have it, but they were closed by the time it got called in. So I went in early this morning to get it and put it on just before the chemo started. It may have been too late to work this time, but a little late is better than never at all!!

The other drug is a pill, actually 3 pills, called Emend. It was made to work specifically with Cisplatin and is supposed to be pretty good. I took one the morning of chemo and the other two for the next two mornings. We'll see how it goes . . . I have plenty of lemons (thanks, Melissa and Bart!) and ginger ale, just in case!

I have to add this . . . when the pharmacist handed me the bag which was oh, maybe the size of a ziploc sandwich bag, he said I didn't have a copay at this time. But, the bag was holding about $1000 worth of medicine. Shut Up!! So glad I have insurance. But you know, lots of insurance have a lifetime cap on the amount they will pay. I need to call and find out if mine does and what that cap is . . . and how close I am getting to it!

The treatment went by without a hitch, Thank You God! I had the VIP cubicle again, extra big with a window and next door to the bathroom. But I didn't have my same nurse, Rosemary. Instead I had a super cute Russian redhead named Lucy who had a great accent and sense of humor. Rosemary came by to say hello and chat for a minute. And when I would see her walking by she would give me a sad little wave. I felt like a cheating spouse! I thought about explaining to her that it wasn't my fault, that these things happen beyond our powers, that I still preferred her but I was just exploring some other options. I wasn't ready for a complete separation and if she was willing, we could try it again next time. We'll see what happens . . . maybe I should bring flowers and candy just in case, what do you think?

This new treatment with the Cisplatin does take longer. They have to give me an extra bag of fluids with potassium and magnesium since the drug can cause kidney damage. So that adds an extra 2 hours, ugh! But the time does end up going by faster because I am constantly getting up to pee every 5 minutes! Good thing I'm in the VIP room! The only glitch is when they put in the floor for the infusion center, they used thresholds in the doorways that are raised a little. So getting the IV pole over that little bump can be a challenge. Especially, when you are loopy from Benadryl, like I was. Today, Lucy caught my pole just as it was nosediving into the toilet! I was busy concentrating on my own feet that I didn't notice all of the 6 wheels weren't all the way inside the door. What a mess that would've been, might have even pulled out my IV, eewww!

I was so thankful today that the Benadryl worked beautifully! Not much restlessness, but lots of sleepiness. I was able to take a lovely nap for an hour or two. Lucy brought me a pillow and warm blanket and off to lalaland I went. Which was very good considering the steroids were going to keep me up all night. Time check - 12:25am and not even sleepy. Guess I'll keep writing . . .

My biggest complaint lately has been my throat, it's killing me. The girls both went to the dr yesterday, and although the rapid strep test came back negative for both, the dr was convinced when she looked at each one's throat. Caroline's is horrible!! She can't eat hardly anything without it hurting. I let them both get their own quart of ice cream and eat it whenever they want, at least they'll be keeping up their calories. But they hate it that I'm making them brush their teeth extra, hee! hee! hee! (evil mom laugh).

So I keep panicking that my throat is hurting with strep. I keep looking with a flashlight and I can't see the telltale red polka dots, so I figure it's just the radiation effects. It hurts way down in my throat near my collarbone and that's where they "beamed" me. I actually have pretty bad radiation burn across my chest. It itches, but burns if I scratch it, a lot like a sunburn with sores. I have a cream to use and it's getting better. Just the sore throat is my biggest problem. I can eat a few bites of something, but then it starts hurting too bad and I have to stop. I've been eating quick little snacks throughout the day and taking Advil/Motrin religiously!

In fact, this afternoon I came home from treatment AT 5:15!!! I love my sister! She kept the girls all day for me not realizing it was going to be so long!! Anyway, after I came home, I took a nap. When I woke up, my throat was hurting worse so I went to get the Motrin and found only 2 left! Yikes, how was I going to make it through the night with only 2?! I did NOT feel like driving to the store, so I called our angels, the Maiello's, up the street. They had a bottle, so I sent Caroline to go borrow some. After changing into a brand new outfit complete with matching hat (gosh, I dread the teen years!), she set off. As I was watching her from the window, I noticed two little dogs running loose in someone's yard. I thought, what a coincidence! Someone else in the neighborhood has a little brown dog and a little white dog just like us! Wait a second . . . those ARE OUR DOGS!!! Penny!!! Cisco!!! Get your BEE-hinds back in the fence, NOW!!! I still have no idea how they got out, or rather how Penny got out. She's always the instigator and Cisco just follows along. I know how to teach 4- and 5-years old how to think for themselves and make the right choices, but what about puppies?! Can't really ask them to "use your words!" Woof, woof!!

Okay, time check - 12:48am, need to wrap this up. Before I do, I want to say a huge THANKS to Melissa and Bart! My yard looks amazing!! And dinner was delicious!! Thank you for all the extras, that was really sweet!

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