Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chemotherapy #1

     Yesterday was a long day but overall, and amazingly, we felt pretty positive throughout. We arrived at the Grand River Cancer Centre around 9:00, then didn't leave until 5:00 in the afternoon, and it was never stressful, but actually almost relaxing!
    We began the day by meeting with a pharmacist named Terry (so we knew he'd be a good guy;)) for about 45 minutes. He was very encouraging and also was a wealth of knowledge. It was very interesting to hear about his close connection with Beth's first cancer doctor, Dr. Brian Dingle, when she was treated for Hodgkin's disease back in 1983 (exactly 30 years ago this month). They kept wanting to share stories about Dr. Dingle and it was indeed great to reminisce. We're thankful for the advances in anti-nausea medicines over these 3 decades as Beth's chemo experience back then was pretty traumatic.
     Next we went into the chemotherapy treatment area and met our nurse for the day. It was neat that her name was Lindsay (our beloved granddaughter's name) and she was wonderful - explaining what to expect, taking as much time as we needed and patiently answering all of our questions. The facility is really beautiful and it was very nice to have large windows pouring light into the room. Lindsay started the intravenous line and started a 'top-up' of one of the anti-nausea drugs Beth had misread the dosage on (she took pills both Sunday and Monday for this but didn't realize she was supposed to take 2 of the pills on Sunday). 
      Beth was able to keep on her street clothes and opted to lay on a stretcher, though large comfy chairs are also available. With this being the first chemo it would be a longer day as they give each of the 3 drugs slowly in order to watch carefully for any reactions. The first drug was Herceptin and it took 1.5 hours to administer. I snuck home at lunch and then went to the store, as Beth had wanted to get a smaller Bible to use for reading and highlighting passages on hope and encouragement. I wasn't exactly sure what to get her until I noticed a pink one that was sponsored by the Breast Cancer Foundation - perfect! When I gave it to her it was the only time in the day when there were tears, as she said, "I still can't believe that this has happened to me!"
     After the Herceptin they wait an hour or so before giving anything else. Beth was also given some Benadryl, which is routine, to prevent allergic reaction with the next drugs. So the last 2 drugs, Carboplatin and Docetaxel, didn't get started until mid-afternoon but they didn't take near as long to administer. Beth couldn't believe that the 350 ml of solution for the Docetaxel would be given in just half an hour as they would never do something like that on her floor. But apparently the drug needs to be administered quickly because of it's instability chemically (yeah, this probably all getting too technical).
     The main thing here is that we've been so thrilled that Beth didn't feel any real side effects during the treatment and even continuing on until tonight (Tuesday evening). She said she had very fleeting and minor feelings of nausea twice today and has taken some Tylenol for a headache a couple of times but otherwise is feeling pretty normal.


Stan said...

Your friends and family here at Evangel are covering both of you in prayer. You both are deeply loved and we count you as dear brother and sister in Christ.When you are at a place where you know what you need, please let us know how we can help you.We love you - Stan

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to share with us. You are constantly in my prayers and thoughts. Big hugs for you both. Mimi