I’ve completed my first round of chemo. To be exact, I’m enjoying a “cocktail” called FOLFIRINOX. Unfortunately it isn’t served in a rocks glass at The Knife and Fork in AC. This concoction consists of leucovorin calcium, also known as folonic acid (FOL), fluorouracil (F), irinotecan(IRIN),and oxaliplatin (OX). All of this is delivered via a port near my neck. This port will stay in for I’m not sure how long. I’m not loving this port thing. It hurts, it sticks out and it ruins all the years of hard work I’ve devoted on making my décolletage the best in my neighborhood .
The side effects have started pretty quickly, extreme nausea, fatigue and a complete and utter disgust of food, except mashed potatoes (Thank you Debbie)…Today I received a very handsome gentleman at my door offering me a bowl of mashed sweet potatoes (Thank you Martin).. Dr. Schmoopy has been hard at work in the kitchen reorganizing everything to look like his OR. Everything is straight up, labels out, nothing out of date, which never concerned me in the least!!! Those arbitrary dates were a construct by The Man to make us throw out food and buy more!!!!! My fridge is spotless with every inch used to its maximum potential. I can actually open it and see what we have and not have to guess or see if the dogs turn their nose up at it to test for yuckyness.
I have been doing a lot of reading, good and bad about this type of cancer. It is considered the most insidious because it sneaks up on you and kicks you in the gut just when everything is going so right! Similar to ovarian cancer, they are silent killers waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting. I could give you lots of info here, but I know you are all so adept at dialing up “The Google” as my dad calls it, you can read and research it for yourself. I’ll just give you whatever tidbits happen to remain in whatever brain cells I have running.
The part of dance class I hated the most was “warm -up”. It was a guarantee that my tights would POP while stretching our legs. Then I would have to go through the rest of the class with a bulge of pasty white never seen the sun never wears shorts doesn’t go to camp thigh….
Today was the second day of chemo. A much shorter visit which consisted of refilling my take home pump of 5fu and hit of heparin . I also had some decadron in the mix. I was in initially happy to be done so soon as all I wanted to do was go home and lay down, but then I panicked and started thinking a mistake was made and I didn’t get all my chemo!!!!! After asking a very patient and pretty nurse 3 times if I really was done, I picked up my blankie that Isaac gave me, my “supply of stuff” bag and my coffee and headed home. I did wait in the parking Lot a full 15 minutes just in case a mistake was made.
First night didn’t go as well as I had hoped for. Being tethered to a pump is complicated for a girl who failed geometry 3 times in High School only to receive a pity pass…
After figuring out how to undress and get redressed for bed, all the while Mr. Pumpy (Thank you Susie) and I sat and waited for…….”The mother of all shit storms”. I had been warned, given literature to read to cope with it but lo and behold!!!!!!!! Nada, zilch, nothing…….Next day still nothing…I mentioned it to the very patient and pretty nurse who looked wild eyed when I told her my predicament…More on this tomorrow… (if the CIA is monitoring my posts, your in for a wild ride).
Side effects so far: No appetite at all. Food looks gross. I do have a weird potato craving . When food or liquids first go in my mouth, there is intense burning. I have neuropathy in my hands making them super sensitive to cold objects, also a burning sensation if I lay my hands on the cold kitchen counter. Constant slight headache and fatigue. Tomorrow I go for a neulasta injection only…I won’t need my blue blankie or bag of tricks.
My Surgical Oncologist emailed me the impressions of the Radiology staff at University of Pennsylvania. I don’t want to open them thinking they say something a lot worse than I’m being told.
All of this is similar to putting on a freshly washed leotard that my mom didn’t bother to unknot for me before ballet class. At first I tried getting my legs (Ashkenazi thighs) into the arm openings. No dice…Ok, turn it around and put them in the right holes. Why is the neck stuck at my waist? Why are my tights slowly cutting off circulation? Is that hole in my tights where my arms go? Ok, I’ m ready to learn Swan Lake but I feel like a dodo in pink…who can’t poop..
Today is my first day of chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer of undetermined stage and grade. “Chemo” for those in the know. Writing that sentence makes me nauseous. I was diagnosed about 10 day ago with what I thought was low back pain. WRONG!!!!! The next few days became a blur of appointments and tests and biopsies. I gave more blood than I thought I had, I’ve had scans that warned me to stay away from children and pregnant women!!! WTF! I have slid in and out of tubes all the while freezing in those crazy cold rooms wearing only a gown. I’ve seen more specialists and have gotten more opinions than I can count. Last Friday I had a port put in . I should have opted for the light sedation and skipped the Valium. It hurt like a MoFu…What it boils down to is me sitting in a big round room (also cold) with people much older than I am all connected to a needle delivering toxic concoctions: Irinotecan,Leucovorin,Eloxatin,Fluorouracil,Neulasta and Procrit all in the hopes of living a bit longer. I should be a pro at this since I’m an 8 year breast cancer survivor as well.That was a cake walk in comparison. I’m looking at it like a dance class from 3rd. grade. Everyone else seems to know the steps, what to bring, what to expect. I’m the odd man out. I don’t have the right dance clothes and I’m a klutz.