February 26, 2015: Blessing in Disguise

I worked half a day, and I actually felt like a teacher again. It was awesome!

I left around 11:15 to head to Texas Oncology for my labs, doctor appointment, and my first round of Taxol. I remembered to grab lunch this time. That would pay me big dividends today! My labs were great as expected. I have been off chemo for three weeks, so we were expecting the high counts we saw. Yay for good news! As I talked to Dr. Krekow about my right leg twitching and keeping me up at night even with just the premeds, she did some investigating. She made some changes by taking out one anti nausea med and giving me Benadryl by pill instead of by IV. I’ll have to let you know how that changes everything.

This was my first attempt at prepping for chemo without Jonathan and working. Thank goodness, he could still be my knight in shining armor. I packed a limited bag of things. I ate my breakfast like a good patient. I’ve never been a good breakfast eater. I got to work and realized I never took my morning meds. That’s not good on any day, but on a chemo day that’s horrible! I texted him hoping he would have time to bring them to me. Of course he did! And if he didn’t, he sure did make time and didn’t seem put out by it all. Love him for that!

I realized I forgot to put my numbing cream on my port as I sat down for my treatment. It was too late. I just took a breath and prayed it wouldn’t hurt too bad. I’m such a baby when it comes to needle pain. I survived. The smells that come with prepping the site were why worse on me than the sting of hitting my port! I may never be able to handle strong smells ever again.

My friend, Melissa Knights, agreed to go sit with me during my treatment today since Jonathan’s Tuesday meeting was bumped to Thursday because of the bad weather. I was so grateful to have her. She can make Oscar the Grouch smile and feel great about living in a garbage can.

I didn’t get my regular nurse today. That usually upsets me a little and makes me a little anxious. Melissa knew her though, so I was automatically at ease. The nurse even gifted me a funky hat and scarf and another beanie. What a blessing!

Melissa and I were just chatting away, and I was thinking, “Wow! This might actually be a quick, easy, and painless treatment. Yippee!” Nope, my body just can’t handle poison well. I’m doing great one second, and the next the world starts spinning, I get light headed, my mouth starts salivating, and I know I’m on the verge of passing out. My nurse stops my chemo. They check my oxygen levels. They are okay. They check my blood pressure, and it’s not too bad. The chemo is stopped. I’m given fluids. I start feeling better. Melissa and I go back to talking away. Life’s gonna be okay.

About ten minutes later, they restart my chemo, but at a slower rate. I make it a bit before I start feeling lightheaded again. I know this isn’t good. Things seem worse this time than the first time. The nurses start scrambling. This time my oxygen level was too low, and I had to be hooked up to oxygen. Did I tell you I really hate smells? I thought I was going to puke the moment they started that thing. Ugh!

Chemo was stopped until Dr. Krekow could come see me. She explains that my body just doesn’t like Taxol. There’s actually a better drug that would be her first choice even over Taxol, but insurance won’t cover it as a first choice because it’s a lot more expensive. (Please remember that I’m not a drug name person, so it might take a few times hearing and seeing the new drug before I start writing it down.) This new drug doesn’t seem to come with so many allergic reactions. It’s also half the dose of Taxol, and it can be pushed a lot faster (30 minutes). I don’t recall her stating any horrible side effects, so I see this as a real blessing in disguise.

Jonathan returned to finish chemo with me right before Melissa had to leave. We left around 4:15. He drove me to pick up a cherry lime-aide as suggested by my nurse. I came home and literally crawled into bed. I think I went to sleep instantly and sounder than ever before. People called me, texted me, and Jonathan swears he woke me and told me he was going with Chelsye and Pablo to pick up my vehicle left behind at Texas Oncology, but I was oblivious to all of it.

After waking up, I didn’t feel horrible. I’ve had a few issues. There’s a weird feeling in my stomach, but it isn’t like nausea. I’ll just be thankful for that right now. I have a yucky coating on my mouth. I hate that! I also have this tingling feeling in my fingers like I just walked in from being out in the cold too long. They warned us about that, so I was prepared for this one. Jon says I have a really strong metallic, hospital smell. Sorry family and school peeps! I’m also extremely toxic and have to have my own private bathroom for the next 3 days, so no one else has an allergic reaction to Taxol. How crazy is that? I’m also itching. An allergy thing maybe?

Overall, I’m thinking this is going to be a better deal. I don’t feel like a part of me is dying like I did after AC chemo. The side effects don’t seem so bad right now. And guys, my right leg isn’t twitching!

I’m thankful for this journey, and I’ve learned for every ugly part there’s another part that is so much more beautiful. God has a plan, and it is good!

If you have played a role in my journey in any way great or small, thank you!


About courage2conquercancer

At the age of 40, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is an account of my journey from my discovery and beyond.
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