I convinced SweetWife (how I will refer to mommyinpigtails) to let me be an author on her blog. I am pretty sure that my posts won't be nearly as fun to read as hers are, but I figure this could be useful as treatment progresses and she may not feel up to writing. This also helps me feel involved in the conversation.
Today was the first session of chemotherapy. The appointment was for 10:30 a.m. A wonderful neighbor watched YB and YG, while OB and OG went to school and stayed with another great neighbor after school.
There was the filling out of all the paperwork. One of the questions was about what problems are you experiencing as a result of your condition. I couldn't help but mention financial demands, stress, exhaustion, the need for surgery, chemotherapy, and a mastectomy. I think she wrote something about tenderness and a bit of discharge on occasion.
As she was finishing the paperwork I moseyed down to the cafeteria to get her a shake (someone mentioned that drinking/eating something cold during chemo could help with the side-effect of blisters/sores in the mouth). They had strawberry (which is what she asked for) and I bought her the biggest one they had.
When I got back she was still waiting to be called back to meet with Dr. H. and then get going on the chemo. At about 11:15 we got called back to meet with Dr. H. He did a quick physical, reviewed the medications and side effects, answered our questions and we were off to the infusion room.
The infusion room is a room (I know, stating the obvious) filled with recliners for the patients, chairs for friends and family members, bookcases with books, a radio playing a local easy listenting station, a candy bowl, blankets, and lots of friendly and kind people. While the Dr. was prepping the chemo, SweetWife got settled in her recliner. She set her strawberry shake next to her chair and I promptly set my bag next to the shake and knocked it over. Strawberry shake everywhere on the floor.
I helped clean that up and the nurse started prepping SweetWife for the meds. They have a special "IV" needle they use for the port-a-cath. It looks like a bent needle. They numbed her and slid it in. It looked like the most discomfort was from the pressure applied to insert the needle.
They then injected a series of meds through the port. One was benadryl, one was an anti-nausea medication, and the others I can't recall what they were for, but I think they were to manage the side-effects. The regimen she is on consists of three different "drugs". Each is infused separately with each taking anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Total infusion time is about 4 hours. The drugs they are using are: Taxotere, Carboplatin, and Herceptin.
At this point I went down to the cafeteria and grabbed lunch (she can eat & drink during the infusions) and brought it back. We ate and then settled in for a long afternoon of sitting. We chatted a bit with the patients around us. A couple of them noted how young SweetWife is. It was great to be surrounded by such nice, positive people. One of the conversations turned to my hometown. One of the nurses was from a small town in the same state I am from, a couple of patients and their families nearby had been to the area I am from. It was a small-world experience.
I also managed to sneak down to the Family Clinic we go to and get my flu shot and chat with Dr. GG. He commented on how pleased and proud he was of how SweetWife is handling all of this. The receptionist that checked me in said the same thing.
A patient later in the day came in and as we were chatting with her, SweetWife asked about where to get wigs. She shared a couple of places that she got hers from. We will need to check with the insurance about whether or not they will foot the bill for that. SweetWife is unsure if she wants one or not. I will support her either way. However, I think she might enjoy having a wig or two.
The infusions were finished at about 4:30 and I took her home. I then ran a couple of errands and picked up YG and YB. They had been really good for the sitter and had lots of fun playing.
We cannot express enough appreciation for all of the kindness and support we have received. It sounds like the chemo is going to take about 18 weeks to complete (depending on how the cancer responds) and then it will be on to surgery.
Tomorrow, SweetWife's mother is coming to spend the day and help out, for which I am very grateful. They said the nausea and other side-effects (if there are any) would start 24-36 hours after the infusions. Once we start to see the side-effects then we will have a much better feel for what we are in for in the next few months.