Starting chemo

Starting chemo

I started writing this on Wednesday, March 23rd after my first treatment, with the intention of finishing it up an publishing on Thursday or Friday. That didn’t happen. 😛

On Tuesday this week,  I had a port put in my chest.  It goes under the skin,  with a line inside my body going along the jugular vein to sit just above the heart.  Apparently,  this is the most efficient way to get the medication into the body.

When this is done, they put you into a light sedation. I was aware of people talking. I could feel pressure where they were working, but no pain. By bedtime, there was some pain, but some ibuprofen helped.

Wednesday, I had my first treatment. The medication combo I’m taking is known as FOLFOX 6.

One of the medications is oxaliplatin. Apparently a very well known side effect of this is cold sensitivity. I was listening to the nurse talk about this one. She placed a lot of emphasis on it.

Don’t drink or eat anything cold like ice cream. Don’t put ice in your drinks. Use a straw. No chilled drinks. It seemed redundant. Don’t take food out of the freezer without gloves. It seemed excessive, and I was thinking the whole the time, “Yeah, right” and internally rolling my eyes. “Like that’s gonna happen.” I’m normally much more sensitive to heat than cold. I can wear short sleeves or tank tops when other people are bundled up.

Before I left the hospital, I was running my hand along a wooden banister in the hallway. My fingers felt like I’d touched an ice cube long enough to start to burn. WTF? When we got home, I was climbing the stairs to my apartment and couldn’t grip the metal railing. It hurt! The metal doorknobs in my apartment, the flush handle on the toilet. Cold water from the tap to wash my hands. All feel way colder than I know they are, only hours after the first treatment. Holy shit.

So this is gonna suck.

I’ve ordered some cotton gloves and I’m looking through my knitting patterns to see if I can find some cute ones I can make in cotton or linen.

I am carrying the 5-FU medication around until Friday morning, but I’m determined to go to work today. I’m letting my roommate take the car, so if I feel sick, he can come get me. That way, I won’t have to drive if I’m not up to it.

When we got home, I made a grocery list for him, including some cleaning supplies we’d need and stuff. He hasn’t lived with me long, but he’s starting to pick up on my likes and dislikes. He knew I wouldn’t be able to eat the frozen juice pops I’d bought for snacks, so he picked up some mint Milano cookies that I like. 🙂 I thought that was sweet.

Thursday wasn’t a bad day. I carried the pouch, worked, took the nausea medication. Went to bed at a normal time. Slept ok.

And vomited shortly after waking on Friday morning. Luckily, I had the day off already, since I had 2 medical appointments that day. They disconnected the pack. That was quick and easy. But I was tired and nauseous, despite the nausea medication. No food seemed appetizing.

The second procedure was taking a biopsy of my thryoid – a whole other issue.

According to my scale, between Thursday and Sunday, I lost 10 lbs. Only vomited 3 or 4 times, but simply couldn’t touch food and didn’t drink nearly enough water. I’ve gained 5-6 lbs back in the week since.

I managed to work all week, but I am pretty tired.


3 thoughts on “Starting chemo

      1. Got it. It probably is a non issue. In 2000, I had my right thyroid lobe, along with my isthmus, removed because of a follicular neoplasm on the right lobe. They could not tell through a FNA whether it was benign or malignant, because that is the nature of follicular neoplasms. It turned out it was benign.


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