Telling the Red Devil Goodbye

Dereck was not excited about his pretzel picture, so he has been since replaced with pirate Dereck.

My little brother Dereck was my chemo buddy volunteer this week. I wanted to get something to eat before I started chemo, so we went and got sandwiches and salad at a cute little cafe downtown that Dereck recommended. I had a delicious cheesy melty panini of happiness and a green salad. With full tummies we headed up to the Huntsman Cancer Institute for my appointments. We were a little early, but they went ahead and brought me back to draw my blood and insert my IV (which seemed to be properly inserted). The lady even remarked about my having good veins and probably being able to make it through my Taxol treatments without a port as I had planned (which is nice to hear, because I am usually getting a lecture about getting a port installed instead).

There was a bit of a wait to see my oncologist, so we snuck off so I could get coffee (I was avoiding it so as not to dehydrate myself before they got the IV in, but once the IV was in I wanted coffee because I was so tired today and was fighting off a cold). Once we met with my oncologist I was prepped a bit for my Taxol treatment in two weeks. They are having me take five steroid pills the night before, FIVE. The steroids are necessary for me to take after AC, but we don’t play nice. I have to counteract them with Ativan each time I take one of them. I wonder how much Ativan it will take to counteract five of those icky things. Taxol has quite the reputation for causing allergic reactions, so along with it I get a Benadryl drip. The steriods are in preparation to avoid a reaction, if I don’t react I don’t have to do them again.

The oncologist thought I was doing great, the only odd thing off was that my white blood cell counts were unusually high, which can be blamed on my recent surgery or the fact that I am fighting off a bug. Otherwise my bloodwork was great and I was cleared for take off (chemo). In the meantime I had to track down one of the surgical nurses as my drain had lost suction last night, and I figured maybe the grenade/JP tube had a leak. We put a new on one and it continued to fill up with air. She seemed to think that the issue is probably right inside of me, and they really wasn’t anything that could be done other than my squeezing it down regular to try and keep the suction up over the weekend. Luckily I am a lot lower on output, but I just can’t seem to get anything that goes with that surgery to work properly.

The fox running around near the infusion room at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

They sent me off to the infusion room! They stuck me in the big one again, which was super busy! Right after we sat down a red fox ran through the snow in front of the window. Dereck ran to the window and grabbed a photo for me. The infusion room at the Hunstman is up against the mountains with huge windows and has a great view of the mountains. I get bummed if they  put me in a chair without a view, but I had a great view this time.

Nasty bruise from the IV.

After they started my anti nausea IVs I let the nurse know that the IV was hurting me (it had the first and second times I went in), I seemed to get some weird cramping from the cold IVs. She had be wrap it in a warm blanket. She got herself set up to administer the Adriamycin and looked at my IV. There was a huge bruise across the vein with my IV. We all kind of freaked out, there was no way she could administer chemo in that vein.

The nurse had to go up my arm and use my super good vein and had an interesting time getting the IV placed, and to get the return that she needed (blood flow that you pull back into the tube to make sure that it is flowing properly) and to be certain that there wasn’t any possible way it was leaking. We ran a lot of fluid through it to check and recheck before we were convinced that the vein may be safe enough to use. We were still nervous though, if the red devil gets on your skin or in your tissues it eats the tissue away – almost like acid. Luckily the vein was good and she checked it regularly, allowing for my final dose of the Red Devil to be administered with much celebration:

Kind of blurry, but holding up the final syringe of Adriamycin. Dereck gave it the thumbs up.

Final Adriamycin injection.

4 down, 4 to go! Halfway there!

P.S. It is slightly disturbing how many people thought my little brother was my husband….

Author: Mandi

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