Friday, October 14, 2011

Peeing Red

Well, chemo 1 is down. Only 3 to go. So far, it hasn't been the worst thing I've ever done but to say I want to do it again is a bit of an overstatement. In truth these declarations about feeling okay are probably a bit premature. It hasn't even been 24 hours since I got the big injections. Anyway, let's not dwell on what might be, let's talk about what was.

We arrived at the hospital and met with my Oncologist again. She went over all the symptoms, again. And then we were taken over to the cancer centre. My mother commented that the main building of the hospital looked like a fancy mall. She is right - it is a rather beautiful building. I appreciate that because I just feel sicker and more scared when I am in the cancer centre - a much older building that isn't so light and pretty.

At the cancer centre we met with a pharmacologist who explained all of the drugs I am taking in addition to the 2 types of chemo and 3 other injections I got. I believe (but the count could be wrong) that I am taking an additional 29 pills a day. Mostly they are to manage side effects or to help keep my imune system strong. Later, as the nurse was giving one injection she held it up and said "this one to help with nausea. It might cause burning anus." Well great! Please give me two of that one.

After the pharmacologist we met with a nutritionist. This meeting was less helpful but I suppose it is good to know. Lots of water, no booze, protein at every meal. I asked how many grams of protein a meal and she said "100g." I lost my mind. I can't eat that much protein - that's practically a whole chicken every meal. Luckily it was a translation error and I need to eat the equivalent of 100g of meat a meal. This I can manage.

And then...DUN DA DUN DUN DUNNNNN.. chemo. Here's a pic of the process...

I'm kidding. It actually looked more like this:

First they took my vitals and then they mixed my drugs. That took about 30 minutes. Once they were ready we were taken into a room to get an IV started. This is when I started to cry. It isn't even about being afraid of pain it is just knowing that I have potentially 3 months of utter shit ahead of me and it all starts with this IV. The nurse was very nice and said it was very common, so my dignity remains somewhat intact. I had 9 syringes of "stuff". It started with 2 IV anti-nausea drugs followed by 7 that were chemo related. I'm on A/C chemo which correlates to very fancy names I can't remember; 3 were the "A" drug which is the very toxic stuff (it's the bright red stuff and it turns your pee, sweat and tears red for few days) and 4 were the "C" stuff. Not really toxic but supports the A. Finally I got a saline flush. This whole process took about 10 minutes. It was an extremely unpleasant 10 minutes but I think that was mostly because I didn't want to do it and not because it was that bad.

I guess depending on how the next three weeks go I can either start dreading the next one, or try and get myself more zen about the whole thing. Either way, it's happening and I will get through it. As some wise person once said "this too shall pass." It has always been my mantra for dealing with crappy stuff but it's become even more important of late.



  1. What? Connie is there? Hard things are so much better when your mom close by. Maybe that's just me who doesn't have a husband or a dog...
    Also, of course I love photo #1. I appreciate you sharing everything. And I love you and think you're awesome and hopefully will be able to cheer you up (if necessary) a little via interweb chatting through this and especially when things start getting really crappy.

  2. I love you too. And it is true, Moms do make things better. Even if it is just to give you hugs when stuff gets too overwhelming.

  3. I agree with Jane! Mom's just do make harder things easier to handle.
    Maybe you could audition for True Blood, you would have an advantage on everyone else where you don't need dye to cry red :)

  4. just had to comment to say we called this 'peeing cool-aid' and my daughters, 8 and 10, insisted on looking in the bowl, the proceeded to tell everyone at school #cancerfun