Feb. 12.

Cycle 4, Day 2 – Chemo

My Status: Rested and hubs brought ice cream
Mood: Good

We had a little hiccough in getting started with today’s chemo … two hiccoughs. The first bump occurred with my port. When prepping the port for use, the nurse will first draw blood (and put it back in) to make sure there are no clogs or clots happening. One of the nurses is training to work with the ports because not everyone can work with them. She tried and no blood return. She had the line a little too taut, and the teaching nurse showed her how to do it correctly, but still no blood return. So they shot a little heparin in there and gave me a few minutes and voila, blood return. All in all, no big deal. We’ll see how things go tomorrow.

Interestingly, there was another patient who came in after me, and had the same issue with her port. Her daughter was with her and in her concern kept asking more and more questions about the “blockage”. She was worried, but she was also not allowing her mother to relax, so I quipped that it must be the day for it and explained that my port had the same issue. The daughter laughed and was able to relax after that and her mother finally relaxed as well. Maybe the purpose of my port not behaving was so I could provide perspective for another patient and her family. I was fine and laughing about the little problem so they could relax and gain confidence that the chemo would happen … which it did.

The other hiccough? Dr. Doogie was delayed in his arrival. Why does this matter? Because they cannot start chemo, even the pre-chemo cocktail unless a qualified doctor is there to sign off on it. So I had a couple packets of water going through the line, which gave the nurse a chance to ensure the port was working properly, and we got started a little later than anticipated. But all in all, no big deal on either issue.

Denny was my chauffeur for the day, and since I have chemo at the secondary facility on Wednesday’s under the backup doctor’s overview, there are very few other patients, so he came to the chemo room with me and stayed the full time because the other port-problem patient was the ONLY other patient. This has both good points and bad points. The good? Denny has a chance to feel more involved in the process and that he is there for me. He sees what I’m going through and when I’m calm about things like the blood drawback not working, he doesn’t get all het up and have the questions the other patient’s daughter was expressing—which he would have, had he not been present at the time.

The bad? Oy. I take things with me to do during chemo … otherwise I’d be bored silly, since I can’t seem to sleep, which is what most patients do. Today, I was focused on working on my secret project and making some good headway with it. Before starting on the secret project, I did spend the first hour or so chatting with Denny and the nurses. So I didn’t completely neglect him. When I was ready to work, I put in my headphones, announced I was putting in my headphones, and Denny told the nurse what that meant … I was not to be disturbed. Or as he puts it “I can’t talk to her then.” Here’s the problem … it didn’t stop him from flashing magazines at me and sharing car pictures, etc. For me and interruption to the work is an interruption—whether verbal or non. I was good … I didn’t huff or get angry, I just nodded and went back to work. I would have preferred not to have the interruption.

He is my chauffeur tomorrow as well, but there will likely not be any extra chairs, but I also have covered myself by telling him I’ll bring the Kindle so he can read a book he’s been wanting to read for a while. Any little bit helps.

The picture of the dandelion is two-fold for today. I thought the symbolism of the flower sprouting through decaying wood a metaphor for taking the bad port situation and turning it around for the other patient and her family. The other reason the dandelion is significant is that since not being able to have chemo on my appointed week because my liver enzymes were high, I have been drinking dandelion root tea to help my liver function … and (knock on wood) it is working. Since then, my liver levels have been very good. Dandelions and dandelion root tea is beneficial for more than just the liver as well. Shortly after drinking the tea with positive results, I had a discussion on Facebook with several folks about the benefits, and will link to this article on 11 Health Benefits for additional reading if you’re interested. Briefly, the eleven benefits mentioned are:

    • Digestive Aid
    • Kidney
    • Liver
    • Antioxidants
    • Cancer
    • Diabetes
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Cholesterol
    • Gallbladder
    • Inflammation
    • Immune System

Ultimately, the tea is good for me to help with my digestive system, liver values, cancer, inflammation, and my immune system (and I’m drinking some while writing this post). I actually notice a difference in my body, water retention/inflammation in particular, especially on chemo days, when I forget, or don’t get around to having a cup. It has been added to my daily routine and I think may continue past the chemo life cycle.

And once again, my friends have proved their worth. Last night, after my marathon day of chemo, I was a little more than fuzzy-headed and question whether I should work or watch a movie. In every single response the result was movie. You guys ROCK!!! And Practical Magic was just the ticket for me. Tonight the muzziness is not too bad, but I came home and took a nap after having some lunch. And now… on to the ice cream Denny brought home tonight after picking up my meds for me. 😀 (Oh and sorry about the screen shot below, I wanted to embed the FB status, but FB says it no longer exists… funny how I can take a screen shot of something that doesn’t exist, eh?

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