Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Survived cycle 5 of chemotherapy!

I survived cycle 5!

Everything was about the same as last time. No news from the doctor other than she thinks that my going in for saline the week after chemo last cycle was pointless. This cycle she just wants me in the city to 'be around' for when/if I get a fever as it's easier for them to take care of me when I'm at their hospital. I thought that she might want to just preemptively hospitalize me but she didn't seem interested in that idea. I hate going through emerg and explaining everything a million times but it seems like there is no other way to do it.

I had a bit of a reaction to one of the medications this time which was new. I'm always pre-medicated with Tylenol and Benedryl to try and prevent an infusion reaction. It's always worked in the past so I'm not sure what happened this time. My theory is that my body has become accustomed to Benedryl so it's no longer as effective. The first two times I had it, it knocked me out for a good nap. This time though, I was barely drowsy.

My face became super flushed and then when the nurse was pushing in the pink medication I started feeling faint, as though he was giving me a sedative. He kept asking me to describe my symptoms and I didn't know how to explain it other than it felt like my entire body was relaxing and that someone had put a heavy blanket on me. I don't think that was a helpful description as he kept asking me to expand on how I felt and I just kept saying 'like you gave me a sedative'. Apparently I need a bigger vocabulary. He gave me more Benedryl and I was able to lay down for an hour while the drugs went through which seemed to solve the problem.

The last part of the day was the intrathecal injection (spinal tap). The doctor that did it the last two times wasn't there which sent my anxiety shooting through the roof. I hadn't been nervous about it going in as I like the other doctor and am very confident in his abilities. I was not confident in this new doctor because he was someone new and also because the nurse was asking him how long he had left of his residency.

[I know residences are capable, I just sometimes prefer doctors that have done a few more procedures and don't talk during the prep about how hard the last procedure was. I don't want to hear 'this morning I had the worst time doing this with an older gentleman' before you do the exact same thing to me. Save the stories for later.]

So I was leaning on the table with my head on the pillow blasting music and trying not to have a panic attack when the nurse decided that she would hold my elbows the entire time. I guess to try to comfort me...? It was not comforting. I don't like strangers touching me and while I may have seen you for the past 6 hours, you're still not someone I would turn to for a hug. I don't like when nurses rub my knees and tell me it'll be okay. I don't like when they try to hold my hand or rub my shoulders. I don't know you, don't touch me.

When I'm in pain, I don't even want people I like to touch me. I don't know how the nurse didn't pick up on the clue that if my partner is sitting in the corner while I'm crying into a pillow, that means that the best thing for you to do is leave me alone. If I don't want elbow rubs from Isaiah, I sure as hell don't want elbow rubs from you. Argh! I should've said something but I knew if I did it would've come out as "STOP TOUCHING ME!!!" and not at all diplomatic. Next time I'll try to say something ahead of time like 'ignore my sobs.' Or maybe Isaiah can just hover around me to keep the nurse away.

The injection really wasn't that bad in the end, the resident did a fine job. He took some samples which looked clear which is excellent. If I don't hear anything from them in the next few days, that'll be even better.

I'm spending today laying down as instructed. This doctor told me that the whole 'drink all the coffee and eat salt' thing has no medical evidence behind it but I will continue as I have the previous cycles because it seemed to work and also because coffee. And bacon.

The pink medication that can turn the urine pink and cause the bladder to bleed. Thankfully has not happened to me yet.

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