Surgery was October 23, 2012.
I was allowed one month to heal and begin the longest part of my life. Yes I call it “part” because in my world, a journey is something you set out to do on purpose, not something that you have to do to save your life.
I had my chemo port inserted at the end of November and had one week to heal before I would begin. I will never forget that surgery EVER! I was given an IV to put me in a twilight sleep and it didn’t work! I felt him cut my skin and I screamed! It hurt like nothing else! He told the other person to give me more and still NOTHING. I was horrified! The nurse sitting next to me held my arm/hand so that I couldn’t move and I just cried as this stupid. uncaring dr proceeded and told me to just hold still and that it would be over soon. I felt him insert that port that felt like it was being pushed through my chest. I felt the tubes going in and he made another incision by my chest bone for it to turn back into my chest area. I felt every little move and I just cried and the nurse just kept apologizing over and over. Those were the longest 10 minutes of my entire life and I will NEVER forgive that man or forget his face. The only thing he said afterwards was to the anesthesiologist “mark in her charts that this medication didn’t work” SERIOUSLY? No kidding? You figured this out AFTERWARDS?! I thought I would never stop hurting. I found later that it wasn’t inserted right either because it had been placed on a tilt and healed wrong and it would make accessing that port hard for every treatment for the next year and they were right.
My chemo treatments began a week later, on December 3rd. I dropped the girls off to school then I was on my way to the unknown alone.
They gave me a cream that I had to put on the port area an hour before I got there so it would be numb for needle insertion.
I got there at 9:30 and that hallway was the longest, scariest walk. Not knowing what was behind that door. I took a deep breath and opened it and saw people sitting in lounge chairs doing various things, watching tv, playing on laptops, reading, chatting and I was actually relieved. I was approached by this amazing lady that I would become friend with, introduce herself and help me find my very own recliner (which I would go to every time because I had deemed it mine!) She showed me where everything was, even the outlets to plug in my laptop! She talked me through everything and that is when I found out my port was tilted. She tried a couple of times to insert the needle and it wouldn’t work. The 3rd time I FELT it. She immediately stopped and got some kind of numbing spray. Other than feeling like ice being sprayed on your chest, it worked and fast! She had to call over another nurse to put it in and they decided I had to have a longer needle (gulp) and she was able to grasp the port and tilt it just right to get it in (whew)
First up, blood draw. They have to check white blood cell to allow chemo to begin. They drew blood from the port and started an IV of saline water and zofran for nausea. While it ran, my blood was checked for the white cell count. It had to be high enough for combat what the chemotherapy would do to me.
Finally, I was ok’d to begin and they brought 3 bags! Each one filled with a different poison to rid my body of both bad and good cells. Here we go……
The nurses were pretty amazing and I actually started calling treatment days spa days (I know I really needed to get out more) They brought warm blankets and whatever I wanted to drink. I brought snacks and lemon drops (to rid my mouth of the awful taste chemo would give me) I put my recliner up and settled in for a long day. They were amazing and so attentive that I almost forgot why I was there. I mean no one calling me mom every 10 seconds and I was told I couldn’t get up (unless I needed to use the bathroom) and to ask for anything I needed. They even catered lunch. It wasn’t much, a sandwich, fruit and cookies usually. But if you are a mom, it’s a lot!
I had to sit there 8-9 hours every time I went in. Thank goodness for free internet and tv and warm blankets (it was December!)
Honestly, I kept hoping with every chemo, someone would tell me they were wrong and that I didn’t have cancer, I would have accepted all that I had been through if I didn’t have to do another round…..
Next up: Not just losing my hair but losing my femininity and who I was.