After that doctor's appointment when he informed me of my staging I was given the choice to start treatment that day or to wait until I had a port installed. I had decided already that I would start that day. I had prepared myself for it and was looking forward to knocking it down from 12 treatments to only 11. I told the doctor that if I start right now I get to start counting backwards and get one step closer to it all being over and done with.
I had to wait for a chair in the chemo room. Mark was still with me. I was a nervous to say the least. Finally a chair opened up and they took me in. Once I got settled we decided that Mark would go home until I was done. He couldn't stay back there with me, plus he had to go pick up Lucas after school. (Oh, did I mention that Mark got laid off from his job of 9 years the day before I started my treatment? When it rains it pours. Don't worry though. He has already got 2 offers so he didn't get very much time off!! LOL) I sat down and comfortable. It's very quiet in there. It's just a huge room with 20-30 recliners in it. They sat me down in my recliner and my nurse started to very patiently go over everything with me. I was nervous and she could tell. She started asking me about my diagnosis and how I had discovered my lump, etc trying to putme at ease.
The patient next to me suddenly chimed in to our conversation. She has exactly the same kind of cancer as I do, was on treatment #5, had a lump in her armpit, etc. I made a friend!! I'll call her "K." K was a blessing that day. She helped me to relax and talked to me all day. She really kept my mind off of the reality of what was going on and made it a much easier day for me to get through. We talked about the side effects and what to expect in the upcoming days. We discussed hair loss and how to cope with that. I am SO GLAD I met her. We exchanged numbers and have been texting this week. We will both be back for chemo Wednesday and I am hoping we get to sit together again! Having someone to talk to will certainly help the time pass a little more quickly.
My nurse brought over this big basket which had all of my stuff in it. She handed me two Tylenol to take to prevent fever. She went over a list of everything we would do. She examined my arm and decided that we would use the veins in my hand for an IV. The first medicine I was given was an anti-anxiety medicine. (Thank God) Then she gave me fluids, anti-nausea and then the ABVD which are the actual chemo drugs. The chemo drugs are very toxic so I had to be monitored very closely. One of them, they even gave me only a teeny tiny bit of and then made me sit for an hour before they would continue...to make sure I did not have a reaction. While giving me one of the medicines, the red one, it started to burn really bad and my vein started to flare. We had to stop and move my IV to my arm.
Everyone is very nice and absolutely amazing. One of the nurses is a woman just a little younger than me I'm guessing. She is a 4 year survivor of breast cancer. She had lots of advice to offer and was very comforting. They are very busy...someone's IV is ALWAYS beeping and the place was PACKED. (You must also remember that it is "SEASON" in SWFL. This means there are extra people on the road and at the Cancer Center as well!)
After having been at FCS for 8 hours I was finally able to go home just a little after 5. Mark and Lucas came to pick me up. I was tired from stress, but I felt good. I had been given a huge packet of information about what to expect in the upcoming days. We went home, had dinner and carried out our day as we would any normal day!
It was a very stressful day. Reality of what I have to face set in...11 more treatments...6 months... It's going to be a long road but I am still convinced that by this time next year it will all be in my review mirror as just a part of history.