Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cycle 2-Day 1: "That's normal"

Just back from my 2nd chemo infusion (6 more to go) and it went even smoother than the first :). The first time they weren't able to draw blood from my port and had to use my arm which was fine but I was hoping it wouldn't become a trend and thankfully they got it from the port today. Then, within a few minutes I was informed that my blood work looks "perfect" and we could proceed. I popped my Emend pill (anti-nausea med #1) and then they started the first infusion of benadryl, anti-nausea med #2, and steroid. After that came the Taxotere which takes about an hour, followed by Cytoxan which takes another 30 minutes. I envisioned the medication as God-given liquid gold cleansing my body of any bad cancer cells.
The first time I went in the doc had suggested that I take an Ativan in advance so that I wouldn't be anxious and upset. I was super sore from the port placement the day before so I also took a Percocet for the pain. By the time I sat down for the infusion I was high as a kite! LOL Bob was laughing at me as I slurred my words ever so slightly - just enough for it to be noticeable - he's lucky I didn't sign him up for an infusion LOL. This time, I didn't need the Ativan or the Percocet. Instead, I used numbing cream over the port site a couple hours before the appointment to lessen the pain of the needle puncturing the skin above the port. It helped but didn't entirely eliminate the feeling but that's OK it was over quick.
Dr.B came in to chat with me about the effects I experienced in the first cycle and he indicated that most people on this cocktail experience similar effects in subsequent cycles (in other words, although each person may react differently, their reaction is likely to repeat over the cycles they receive) so we're hopeful and optimistic that things will continue to be as manageable as they have been thus far. I did have some bad days where I was just exhausted and achy but I'm OK with that. I can work around that, on many levels. I have amazing friends and family who have been here to help too which has made those days easier to deal with.
While chatting with Dr.B, I told him I've had pain in the bottom tip of my ribcage on the left side and that when I run my hand over that area I can feel something that moves as my hand passes over it - something that is not present on the right side. I noticed it just over a week ago and have been silently freaking out about that and praying hard that it's not you-know-what and visualizing the shrinking and elimination of it if it were you-know-what. Dr.B felt it and said it is a nodule that is on both sides in that area and when the area is sore or if it's irritated by excessive touching or an injury (surgery, being kicked by a 13 month old, etc) it will enlarge...he continued and said "that's normal." Music to my ears! Phew!
Anyway, I brought the laptop to the appointment this time since I knew I wouldn't be all doped up on anti-anxiety and pain medication haha and was able to be online for a bit which helped time pass quickly. I even sent Bob over to the hospital cafe to get me a snack and he returned with some yummy cookies. Thanks Bob!
I didn't have any adverse reactions to the infusions - another victory. :)
And, just like last time, I was blessed to have Michelle as my chemo nurse. She is so awesome. I love that I've known her for nearly three years as a friend and a neighbor before she became my chemo nurse. She has such a gentle and caring touch and we get to chit chat and make plans for upcoming get-togethers too. I love it and I love Michelle!
I believe my extra prayers last night for a smooth infusion appointment really helped (along with all of your prayers too - thank you so much)! Everything went super well. God is great!
After we left, we made a pit stop at Whole Foods for some supplies and then we headed home. I'm determined to have a manageable cycle just like (or even better than) the first.
Love and blessings to everyone!


  1. I love the new clean shave! I don't know - being high as a kite might be a good thing! lol Hope you next couple of weeks are mellow and without many side effects. Thinking of you and visualizing you kicking ass!

  2. Hi Julie
    Glad you came through your chemo alright. I'm on number#4 today....I start taxatore a little anxious....

    Alli xx

  3. You look awesome bald! Glad this infusion went well.

  4. dear Julie,
    Am glad you are starting your 2nd cycle- hope you can keepit as manageable as the first. How blessed to have a chemo nurse who is a friend. one of my chemo nurses is also named Michele. I dont startmy second cycle of chemo till the 17th august. I'm sorry you are having so much pain with your port-mine haS NOT bothered me. They will take blood from it on the 17th before they start chemo treatment. Whta are you reading in the "word" these days? I'm still on Job, not having read the 2 days-got to get back to it! You are in my prayers- please keep me in yours or put me on a prayer list at your church-thanks

  5. Awesome to hear that round two went well. I will continue to pray that things go smoothly

  6. Glad you are doing well. Thinking of you!!

  7. Hi Julie!

    We are so very proud of you. This whole journey that you are in right now is a good reminder for all of us, that together we can make it easier to bear.

    You are always in our prayers.... The 'Somers'