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Chemo- Round One

So the time has come...the part of cancer that I dreaded. CHEMO. It took me some time to get back to writing because chemo took a lot out of me. So here we go...

Friday March 17th- Happy St. Patrick's Day! So how did I celebrate? By getting an ultrasound to make sure I have no blood clots before they place the port for chemo! YAY! My oncologist has me off the blood thinner (for obvious reasons see my last blog) so in order to make sure its safe for me to get the port, we needed to get the ALL CLEAR for any blood clots. Which luckily there were none found so I was cleared to get my port on Monday.

Monday March 20th- This was when I got my port surgically placed. My kids were off from school so I was on my own for this. The hospital doesn't allow children in unless they are patients. So my mom dropped me off in the morning and I went in. Heading into Riverview Medical Center at this point I need a fast pass. I'm there so often I wasn't even nervous, just went up to the outpatient surgery floor. They got me all set with IV and vitals and I just headed off to the Interventional Radiology Department. They put you in a twilight state so I was awake during the surgery. The nurses and techs were amazing and so great to talk with during this whole process. Had great music playing (Incubus, Foo Fighters, Oasis) so I was able to relax. They cleaned and numb the area, then draped me with this large cover that had a small square cutout that stuck to my skin. The doctor who inserted the port was really sweet and she talked to me the whole time. It took longer to setup my body for the procedure than it took to do the insertion. When it was done I was bandaged up, wheeled back to the outpatient recovery area and watched for a bit to make sure all was good. They gave me some info on what kind of port i have. Which is called a POWER PORT. I told the nurse: " So Im assuming I get super powers once this is all done. I feel like I deserve that at the very least!" She laughed and said "I hope so!" Once I was released I was able to head on home.

Recovery from the port was pretty easy. I couldn't remove the bandages or shower for 2 days. I would be coming back on Wednesday for them to check the port area and re-dress with new bandages. Other than bruising and yellowing of the skin and slight discomfort, it honestly wasn't so bad.

Thursday March 23rd: Day 1 Chemo- So the day was here. Doug took the day off to come with me. We got to the oncologist office at 8:45am with my nerves all over the place. Anxious isn't even the word for the way I was feeling. Stomach in knots but also ready to get this show on the road. This was the first time using my port so I wasn't sure how this worked at all. Im not going to lie, I was a little scared. I was brought into the room to hook up the port. The nurse sprayed the area with a numbing spray and poked through the incision to attach the hookup you can see below in the pics. This is my IRONMAN Arc Reactor (If you are not an Ironman fan its the light on Ironman's chest. We are a Marvel household). I'm not sure what the whole setup is called but we are going to go with Ironman Arc Reactor. This is what they are able to hook my IV to as well as to directly put the medication into my port. This also allows them to take blood if needed as well. So no more poking my veins in my arms. Thank God!

When they were ready for me I headed in and found a chair to set myself up for the next few hours. The chemo room is a community room setup. There are 2 sections: one area with a tv and one without. Each area has recliner chairs with tables. There is a kitchen area with snacks and drinks. It has a homey and not too hospital feel which is a comforting. There are many other patients here and most are also going through chemo as well. I'm definitely on the younger end of the cancer patients here but we are all going through the same treatments. All different ages, all different stages, and all different cancers.

So I chose my chair in the corner and set myself up. iPad, Water and blanket. Its relatively quiet in the room so I tried to quietly pop up my legs by pulling the button on the side of the chair. And of course I pick the most difficult and loudest chair in the room. It popped up too high and I had to hop off to close it....just not subtle at all. I Had to make an entrance. The nurse came over and said it was the broken chair and not to worry about it. So she helped me fix it and I was set.

My chemo treatment will be in 2 stages.

  • STAGE 1: The first stage will be every other Thursday for 8 weeks. This is the AC Chemo combinations. A is for Adriamycin and C is for Cyclophosphamide.

  • STAGE 2: The next stage will be every week for 12 weeks and that Chemo Medication is called Taxol.

So This is my first AC Treatment. They started me off with IV bags of Benadryl, anti nausea meds and a steroid. I started Emily In Paris Season 3. When the meds were through, it was time for the Adriamycin medication. The nurse said I would need to either have an ice pop or ice chips during this part because the medication can affect your mouth and cause mouth sores. So she brought me an ice cream pop and said to try to slowly eat it for the next 10 minutes and keep the ice cream in my mouth. The Adriamycin is the RED syringes below. This medication is often referred to as the Red Devil by most since its strong and a bright red color. The nurse slowly gave me the syringes over the next 10 mins and I ate the ice cream as slow as possible to keep my mouth cold.

After she was finished I was on to the C (Cyclophosphamide) part of my treatment which took about 45mins through my IV. I was able to let Doug know by that point how much longer I would be. Overall the whole treatment process took about 3 1/2 hours. When I was done I felt pretty good and had decent energy. I setup my appointment for the next day. I needed to come back for my immunity booster shot at 11:30am. These shots are scheduled specifically 24 hours after treatment ends.

Doug picked me up with a coffee and croissant. Which was exactly what I needed at that moment and off we went home to rest.

4 comentarios

06 abr 2023

Cancer sucks. Treatment sucks. Stay strong. I love Ironman. You shall forever more be Wonder Woman. You’ve got this!

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Michelle Viera
Michelle Viera
06 abr 2023

You are strong ! You are in my thoughts every day. Whatever you need I am here. Hope you are able to get some rest .

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Ryan Ragan
05 abr 2023

Thanks for the updates. Keep getting well!!

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05 abr 2023

Hey Annie- any thought about setting up a food train…. It could be nice to have meals made for the fam so you all can focus on other things! What do you think? I’d love to contribute!!! 💝🦋

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About Annie

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Just as every person is unique in their own way so is everyone's Breast Cancer journey. This is mine.

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