In Chemo Town I don’t post for almost a week because I am so laid up. For real.
I was more afraid of chemo than having cancer through most of this and unfortunately I have to say those fears feel somewhat justified now that I’m experiencing it. Like I’ve mentioned before, there’s nothing like breast cancer to make you feel like the special unique snowflake you are, and chemo is no exception. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First I showed up to chemo feeling ready. I didn’t feel scared and I didn’t cry, pretty big steps forward for me. I took this photo as proof.
The day before my first chemo treatment I went through so much with the port surgery and my first therapy appointment that I just didn’t have it in me to be super emotional anymore about it. The good thing was that the pain from the port surgery faded to soreness so that was also a huge relief after reading scary stories online about people who didn’t do well with their ports. The internet is awesome.
The first thing I do with chemo is get my port “accessed” which means they put a needle through the disc under my skin that’s attached to my vein. They numb it first, but I was pretty freaked to do this so close to the surgery of getting it put in. Luckily it wasn’t so bad. The crazy part is that in the instructions that DHMC gave me from my surgery, it is crucial that everyone in the room wear a face mask when they access the port because it’s basically a straight line to major veins and when I was getting my port accessed one of the nurses in the small room refused to put a face mask on. Straight up gave me a “fuck off” look of contempt when I asked her to and also refused to leave the room. How incredible is that? My first chemo treatment, obviously a little nervous, and someone who’s job it is to care for people like me behaves like that. I repeatedly asked her. One of the other background nurses who was not a troll bitch and wore a face mask told me helpfully “at some hospitals they don’t even wear face masks.” Super.
I was enraged leaving that. Enraged, but what can I do? No idea who to complain to. None at all. Also don’t have her name which makes it a bit hard too.
Next up I met with my Oncologist who was great. We also discussed the beginning of an exit strategy to New Orleans, mid November hopefully. We talked about what supplements are ok (Calcium and D) and when I can take my Essiac Tea during treatment. The concern is that there could be potential interactions between the supplements and chemo and going through this we all want me to get the best bang for my buck so to speak out of the chemo.
Next up was the waiting game. My oncologist has to get the results from the blood tests to order the chemo mix and then the pharmacy needs at least an hour to mix it and then I get hooked up. So I started this process around 12:15 and get into chemo at 3pm. It’s a long day.
So I get into chemo and get hooked up, different nice nurse (thank god) and come to the unpleasant realization that what had previously looked like single room transfusions are actually all doubles. Surprise! I at least got the window seat. So they start the transfusion off with a bunch of anti-nausea drugs for a half hour before chemo drugs. I think at least four anti-nausea drugs between pills and liquids. During that time the other seat in my spot got filled by a very old woman who may or may not have had some dementia going on. She started shrieking and literally moaning about how she didn’t want chemo over and over again. I started freaking out. Great start.
It was super sad, but also really not what you need for your first chemo treatment. The staff was able to move me and in my new seat I ended up behind someone (glass separators between “rooms”) yelling at someone on their cell phone about not letting people into their house. This apparently is chemo. Crazy town.
That eventually ended, I got my two chemo drugs and the lady next to me was on her first dose too so we had some camaraderie as we left.
Unfortunately all of that anti-nausea medication lasted until 7:30pm that night instead of the next day or the day after that which is what was expected by the medical professionals. More on that later.
So another update. Some of you contacted me about my registry items being all taken and I’ve been trying to figure out what I need for chemo and how to organize that. Turns out my insurance doesn’t cover doctor prescribed cranial prosthesis (aka wigs) THANKS CIGNA! And those are hard to register for without being able to try on, same with hats, and scarves. So with my friend Maia’s help again I’ve set up a donation page that I will use any proceeds towards these things and if there’s enough left over possibly on some gas money and entertainment for the hours I’ll be spending in bed and in the hospital due to chemo. I’ll be doing chemo treatments every other week until the last week of the year if all goes as scheduled.
The amount set is totally arbitrary, any amount you want to give is awesome and if you don’t want to/can’t that’s totally cool too, just wanted to put it out there: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/0fy5/help-jenna-cover-some-of-the-cancer-costs-