Friday, July 11, 2014

First Day of Chemo

After months on this journey and months anticipating my first Chemo Treatment - it is over.  So much in one day.  It really is mindblowing what is involved in this treatment - it is a new way of life - a new normal - a sad way to know what is important in life - and an unusual way to find out who cares the most.

The day started with my sister, Maria and I, arriving at the Moll Cancer Pavillion.  So much happens before I even get taken to the back Treatment Room.  First, the nurse must connect the IV tubing to my chest PortACath.  They take blood to check my White Blood Count, Red Blood Count and Platelet levels - being my first day, this wasn't an issued, but in the future this is a HUGE problem as Chemotherapy Meds kill off the good cells and if these bloodwork levels drop too much it may postpone my necessary Chemo.

Then after the results are in I met with my Oncologist.  The good news was my bloodwork showed my kidney function is fantastic.  Usually, they base the dosage of my Chemotherapy Drug on this number but if they had done that the dose would have been sooooo high it would have made me violently nauseaus so he decided to lower it to a normalized dosage.

I then entered the Treatment Room - We chose a chair right next to the restroom (remember my kidneys work great, lol) and this was my view for the next 5 hours -

Treatment Room

A recliner, a television and tons of drinks and snacks, if needed.  My supporter was there with me making herself comfy...We were prepared - Kindle, Laptop, Phones and Music.

My sister, Maria

The most amazing part to me was even though we were there almost 5 hours - the actual Chemo Drugs only took less than one hour.  Everything was else was preparation - bloodwork, meet with doctor - IV's with antinausea drugs and steriods - and more monitoring - then finally the two Chemo Drugs were started.

The nurses were wonderful.  The Social Worker came and talked to me to make sure I had all the support I needed and gave me gifts - 

A Quilt Made for Chemo Patients By Wonderful Volunteers at Fairview Moll Cancer Pavillion
And the gifts didn't end there.  There is an organization called "Chemo Angels" that got my name and address.  There are two women who send me several cards a week to "cheer me up" and today I received a box in the mail - this was a gift from one of my Angels.

My Chemo Angel said this week should be a Pampering Week from Bath & Body Works :)
So finally, Chemotherapy was over.  They told me my hair will fall out next week or the week after.  I decided I don't want to wait until huge clumps are coming out so we went to Best Cuts for me to get a Buzz Cut.  I wanted it short enough so when it starts coming out it won't be too bad - so here is the final "look" - 

And surprisingly enough, Maria was inspired to get her hair cut the exact same way as me so I wouldn't feel alone - we both got a true Buzz Cut = attachments 4 on the top and 2 on the sides -

And finally, let's not forget my baby brother and cousin too -

My Baby Brother, Nick Miceli

My Wonderful Cousin, Billy Shahinian

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