Chemo Day 1, Done & Dusted!

I’ve been pretty nervous about this chemo thing, nervous for many reasons.

70’s Movie Fest
First of all, I grew up in the 60’s & 70’s, I watched Brian’s Song and Death Be Not Proud and Love Story.  I watched Terms Of Endearment and Garbo Laughs and a plethora of other movies.  Oh, and the TV ad parodies…

Gee you’re swell!
Guess what? No one fucking lives in those movies.  NO ONE. It sets a kid’s head on a bit crooked to only ever see folks die in ‘cancer flicks,’ but that was the 70’s.

Even after experiencing the magic that is a “partial recovery” in my husband (well, recovery until his cancer reemerges every 3-5 years…) I find myself terrified that chemo = end of life.  But it doesn’t.  And I have to keep telling myself that.  It’s something I KNOW, but I still have to repeat it to myself.

Thank you, every made for TV movie I ever saw in the 70’s, for NOTHING.

Plus, in all those movies folks just get sicker and sicker.  They get sick ALL OVER THE PLACE, then they have a lot of pain, then they get sick again.  Then they die.  That is the script.  “Blech, ouch, bye.”

Not MY script.

Any Exhaust Port…
I was also fearful today about the port they had “installed” into my chest cavity a few weeks ago.

The first time they tried to use it, apparently there was swelling, but today after a bit of working around it was able to go just fun.  Huzzah!  Now I’m attached to a pump so I’ll be receiving the chemo meds all night long (Yo, check this Bitchie, Lionel Ritchie!)

I need to take a moment to talk about my Chemo nurse, Jennifer, who was SO damned amazing and wonderful and made my day good and special and positive.  THANK YOU SO MUCH, JENNIFER!   You did an amazing job today, and you settled the hearts and minds of myself, my husband and “Kid Caregiver” (Andy’s new moniker)

Tomorrow I’ll go back to the pump room to get more drugg-age to be pumped into my body and into my soul.  All night long.

Where Are We, Exactly?
Tomorrow I’m ALSO going for some kind of special big-time Xray at St. Paul Radiology so they can get a very good look of how my Spine tumor has dealt with the death ray we like to call “Radiation Therapy”

We just keep looking for the exhaust port in this Tumor so my tiny little Luke Skywalker can send some radiation torpedoes down it.  Tomorrow we see how successful those X-wings have been.

I’m nervous about what we’ll find in the Xray, but it’s a vital part of the recovery. Assessing how the therapies are working.

Lumbar Madness
On Wed I have yet ANOTHER Lumbar Puncture, with one each and every Wed after that for a month. And I have Jennifer, my amazing chemo nurse, chasing down anesthsia for each and every one of those punctures. THANK YOU, JENNIFER!

Why all the lumbar punctures? Assessment. We need to see what’s going on in what has become a pretty fast moving cancer ride.

The BIG Q is, “Is the cancer actually IN my spinal cord.”
Let’s just keep hoping the answer to that question will remain, “Nope!”
I told you the news last week wasn’t terrific. But I WOOL SURVIVE.

So every Tuesday evening will be a Dance party with Gloria Gaynor & Lionel Ritchie.  Let’s throw some 80’s Joan Armatrading in there for the Carrib beat.

“I’m lucky, I’m lucky, I’m lucky
I can walk under ladders…”

So that’s my upcoming week, and I am READY to go.

Breathe, Damnit!
Today during my chemo I had a bad reaction.  Not terrible, but not great.  When they sped up the infusion, my body responded by trying to shut down my breathing.  Gerry rushed to the chemo ward with my breathing meds, I was given a nebulizer treatment, and they slowed the chemo down to 50 again and all was well.

So I’ll be getting my Rituxan rather slowly, and that’s okay.  And I just realized I forgot to take my long-lasting Oxycontin OR my breakthrough pain Roxicodone.  It never ends, does it…

13 thoughts on “Chemo Day 1, Done & Dusted!

  1. One down!! Let the countdown begin. Good luck with your X-ray and lumbar puncture. Xanax was my best friend during chemo, I wouldn’t have survived without it. Get anti-anxiety meds if you need them. Best of luck with your treatment!

  2. cheering for you even though it may now be days before I can get Lionel out of my ear! Alllll night lonnnnngg!! allllniiiiiiiiight! alllllniiiiiiiiiight!

    Found my wimple yarn! a beautiful pure alpaca yarn apparently from Denmark

    Looking forward to casting on!

  3. Stay strong Annie. Attitude is everything. I know you don’t know me but I have seen you on knitting shows(Vickie Howell)& I love your work. I have lost several family members from cancer. My brother is going through lung cancer now. He is still strong after 4 years. Its been hard but attitude is key. Stay strong. ❤️Your friend Maxine

  4. Remember, those 60s and 70s movies were made 50 years ago and in that era, there were few choices in the chemotherapy drug treatment arsenal. Rituxan didn’t exist until just a few years ago.

    Those people in those movies died because they had no treatment options, no MRIs, no intrathecal drug treatment, no research. Doctors and other health care professionals know so much more today than they did back then.

    Those movies are accurate depictions of chemo options and outcomes for the day.

    But their day is not your day! You have much, much more hope than people with cancer did 50 years ago. You are practical, proactive and positive. You are right, you have a fighting chance!

    Keep going and we’ll keep cheering for you, Annie!

  5. Annie, my kiddo had a couple of rituxan infusions when he was 7 for a kidney condition and that breathing is scary. Glad you were able to get back on track. Slow and steady!

    • Oh, Tracy, that must have been TERRIFYING! Andy had pneumonia when they were about 5, and seeing your baby unable to breathe is one of the the absolute worst experiences a mother could go through. I hope they’re doing well now!

  6. I get Rituxan 4 tines a year for RA. It has controlled the pain and stiffness very well. I no longer have to take methotrexate SQ every week. Not having to poke myself weekly is a blessing and a relief.
    I hope that Rituxan works as well for you as it has for me!!

  7. Sending you all my positive energy from across the pond. My father is a 2 time cancer survivor (different type from yours), still with us and just turned 81. While everyone’s journey is different, it has been my experience that the patient’s belief in a positive outcome supports the chance of it. Glad to hear that your requests for anesthesia have been honored, and that the staff is doing everything to make you more comfortable. As with my father (I was a continent away), I feel rather helpless to do anything for you, but if there is, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

  8. You hit my childhood a million times in this post – though I must say, I did love Brian’s Song. I’ve been catching up on all your news and am sending all the best energies and mojos I can your way. You’re amazing, and brave, and funny, and human, and I know you’re getting through this. I’d have already contributed to your fundraiser if I hadn’t been unemployed since February, but I will as soon as I get a few paychecks under my belt at my new job. Walk under ladders – one of my faves and Joan sang it when I saw her just a couple years ago. Keep it up! xoxoxo

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