A spunky nurse showed us to our cozy area--basically a quiet corner with a lounge chair, another chair for Tim, a TV and an IV pole, with a curtain to pull around it for privacy if we wished. Warm blankets, orange spiced tea, and snacks were offered. The nurse accessed the port easily--totally numb, I couldn't even feel it, labs drawn and IV hooked up. Such a gift--this port is a welcome companion to help with my needle phobia over the next year. I was given pre meds--Tylenol, decadron, pepcid and benedryl while waiting for the labs to come back. The only setback of the day was with the IV benedryl administration. I started feeling woozy with nausea, bed spins, anxiety--I thought, "If I react this way to benedryl, I'm afraid of the harsh meds." This only lasted 10 min. I was given Zofran for the nausea and totally recovered. The nurse promised I would never have to take benedryl this way again--next week I'll take a half dose orally. These pre meds are necessary to minimize allergic reactions to the chemo. Next was the investigational drug AMG386--works to prevent angiogenesis (blood vessel and lymph hook up for the tumor), then Herceptin antibody, then Taxol. Sailed through. Sleepy from the benedryl. A 9 hour day! Now I feel like a million bucks--so full of energy from the decadron and an uneventful first day (no adverse reactions). Feeling glad to get one round under my belt. 15 administrations to go. That's manageable (I think).
We arrived home to a lovely, thoughtful, delish meal from a dear friend. So perfect to be supported in so many ways--body, mind and spirit. I am humbled daily and blown away by the generous offers from friends and family.
Earlier this week I worked a busy hospital call shift and a clinic shift. It was so good to get back to work--I felt normal and centered and meaningful and blessed. I reconnected with nurses and clients. One awesome nurse said to me, "Oh Carrie, you are mother earth Midwife. You nursed all your babies forever, you eat mostly organics and are so healthy. What this means to me is that if this can happen to you, none of us are safe." I cracked up, somewhat embarrassed about being called mother earth, then thought sad, but true. We feel insulated and safe until things like this strike close to home. I nursed my babies for a total of over 102 months, I have no family history of any type of cancer, and we try to make healthy choices with lifestyle. So shocking. I couldn't feel this mass, it is invisible on mammogram, and I'm glad I pushed for the MRI where it finally showed up.
Svea (my 6 yr old) is the one asking the heartbreaking questions, "Mommy, how did that cancer get in there? Do the scientists know?" She wants some definitive answer so she can feel safe. I don't want her to have to carry this burden, so I explain that when I was little we didn't know as much about good food and toxins in the water and environment; this is why mommy is so strict about what we eat, drink and put on our bodies. There are lots of medicines that the doctors can give me to get rid of this cancer, reassuring her for now that the doctors have said to me that this is "treatable, curable". Hopefulness. I want us to remain hopeful. I also think it is critical to be diligent in education--collecting/disseminating information and taking bold action to help rid our environment of toxins. Are we are all "screwed"?, as a fellow participant asked in a preconception workshop I attended a couple years ago. Because we live in a world where contaminants exist, we are all vulnerable, but we can minimize the exposures. Our choices about how we live and spend our money, can have an impact--especially for our children and grandchildren. Personally and in a broader sense,
I remain hopeful.
P.S. This is Svea on my 1970's aqua banana seat bike complete with sissy bar.