My husband and I had planned and paid for a trip to Walt Disney World with our two sons and two foster daughters. We were supposed to board our flight October 16, 2018, but that day turned out to be quite different. We had to get notes to send to Disney World and the airline for full refunds because October 16, 2018 turned into my first day of chemotherapy. Talk about taking something away from your kids. I felt horrible and guilty. My kids did not deserve that!
My mother took me to most of my chemotherapy sessions. The first round was the most dangerous because of the medication and the potential for serious complication. My nurse, Amy was so sweet. She could see my anxiety coming on, so she called for something to help with my nerves; it was better after that! She had to sit next to me and slowly squeeze the bag of medication until it was empty. That first round lasted for 8 weeks. We got through that around the end of November.
Not a Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving
As I began the second round, I was getting blisters on my hands and near my eyes. It was the day before Thanksgiving when I finally called my cancer center and spoke with the oncologist on call. She asked me to go to the emergency room because blisters near the eyes could be an indication of a heart infection. I called my friend Kat and asked if she could take me to the emergency room, as my family was not home. Her and I love to laugh, and we had the staff in stitches.
The emergency room doctor admitted me to the cardiac floor and there I was, stuck through Thanksgiving. Even after they cleared me of infection, I was neutropenic, and they would not let me leave. I spent my Thanksgiving holiday eating cold turkey in a hospital bed. At least I was not alone. My daughter decided to drive down from Austin to spend the rest of Thanksgiving with me.
Chemotherapy and Needles!!!
Finally, I got home and was back on track with chemotherapy. During one of my treatments, my friend Liz went with me and the nurse always had the person with me spray the numbing spray on right before she put the needle in; Liz had a little freak out when she saw the needle. It made me giggle because I am the one that really hates needles. During this second round, I began experiencing a lot of pain and numbness. I remember one night; I was coming out of the bathroom and I got extremely dizzy. After making it to my side of the bed, I started to black out, then out of nowhere as I was fell to my knees and right before I did black out, I began to get violently sick. It was a very scary moment for me.
One day, during chemotherapy, I was crying so much due to pain in my lower legs and feet. At the next appointment, my oncologist made the decision to stop my chemotherapy so that the permanent neuropathy would not worsen. My oncologist sent me to imaging around the corner for a quick ultrasound to see if the tumor shrank. I found out my tumor had shrunk some, and it had broken up into smaller pieces throughout the breast.
That was not the end of my chemo, but I would not find this out until after my double mastectomy.
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