Round one…

First treatment…dec 17…
There were a few things to prepare for first round of chemo… I knew my hair would eventually fall out, so I decided to cut my long locks assuming it would be easier to have it fall out if it were already short.

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I took this photo on my way to the hairdresser…. “Before”

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After…
This in itself was already a huge change for me… Have to admit, I luved it.. But I do miss my long hair. This was my first step to prepare for chemo.

Then I had to have a picc line installed. A picc line is a glorified I.V. It is a line that runs through a vein in my arm, over my right breast, and into a ventricle in my heart. This makes administering the chemo drugs, and taking blood much easier. I will have this picc line in my body for the duration of my treatments, and have to have it flushed and dressings changed weekly. The installation of the picc line was a bit of a nightmare. My veins are so small, and surrounded by nerve endings. This made finding a vein, without hitting a nerve very difficult. When it would hit a nerve, it would send an electric shock through my arm to my fingertips… Very weird feeling. When we finally found an appropriate vein, the line was fed through with a very long wire. They guide it with the help of an X-ray, and I was awake the whole time. Suddenly my heart skipped a beat.. I panicked and asked the doctor what just happened.. This was normal,??, meant he had it placed correctly. My heart skipped again, doctor backed the line off a bit, and we were finally finished. Because my veins were being so difficult, the normally 20 minute procedure took almost 2 hours. I had 11 puncture marks, which eventually turned a beautiful shade of yellow and green. The picc that started up near my underarm ended up going in right above the inside of my elbow. Making it very uncomfortable to bend my arm. I am slowly getting accustomed to it, and doing most my daily activities with my left hand.. awkward!

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Here is my picc… Not a very fun experience…

The night before my first treatment I was very nervous. I had no idea what to expect. I found this quote to ease my worries.

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Chad and I went to bed early, we both knew we would probably not have a very good nights sleep. I said a prayer, and finally drifted off with Chad holding my hand.

The next morning we awoke.. Showered and got ready.. I had a little anxiety, but Chad wouldn’t have it… (He is really very good at “pep” talks.) We went to the hospital, checked into the cancer ward.. Which by the way is the size of a hallway, and used to be the “smoking” room… Very sad considering I have seen so many pictures of other chemo wards on other blogs that look amazing and comfortable.. The nurses in chemo are absolutely the best! So knowledgable, so helpful, and so considerate. They take the nervousness away. They administered the first two drugs manually through my picc line, then hooked the last drug up on an I.V. drip. It all went fine. I didn’t really feel anything except a little nasal congestion, which is a side effect of the chemo.

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Afterwards I went to the bathroom and pee’d pink… (I have pee’d shades of blue and green after surgery, and now pink… I’m starting to feel like a leprechaun.) Quoting a good friend of mine…”only real princesses pee pink!” We left the hospital and grabbed some lunch, and did a Costco shop.. This came to mind…

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A few hours later a headache started coming on, along with major nausea. I continued to take my anti nausea medication, I couldn’t do anything but lay on the couch. I tried to eat to keep nausea from getting worse, but had no appetite. I ate bread. Later that night I started developing heart palpitations. This was very scary. Thank god for the many nurses/friends in my life that accepted my late night calls. They talked me through it, and made sure I wasn’t having heart failure symptoms. We assumed it was anxiety, all the drugs have shocked my system. I took some deep breaths and went to bed, tried to relax, it happened a couple more times throughout the night. The next morning I contacted my doctor to inform her. She said in hindsight I should’ve gone to the hospital, they would have hooked me up to an EKG to monitor what was happening, but it was probably an anxiety side effect of the anti nausea drugs. If it happens again, off to the hospital I go. The nausea hung on for the first 3 days.. Then eased off. As long as I kept eating every couple hours, it would stay away. Day 7-14 is when my immune system and energy is at its lowest. I tired out quickly, and things that might normally take me 1/2 hour would take me 2 hrs. I suffered a few headaches, one lasted 2 full days and nights until I finally caved and took some ibuprofen. Christmas fell in the middle of my 21 day cycle, and I am so very grateful that I was able to enjoy festivities with family and friends.

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