Prepping for the poison!

So as I said, my christmas break was not going so hot.  Celebrated the new year with cancer in tow and went on a ski trip that was pretty much horrible filled with lots of tears, sickness and a leaky armpit.  Trying to look on the bright side yes I was glad it was stage 1.  I realize things could have been much worse.  One thing I remember doing was watching that movie Evita, the one that had madonna in it, and yes this was a long time ago.  In trying to get my mind off of things it was probably not the best idea to watch a movie where the main character dies of cancer!  Geez, that was not good for me mentally, so of course that made me upset.  By this point I had to start prepping for the poison to come.  My oncologist wanted me to get a port for the chemo.  I pictured tubes hanging outside my body and was not ok with that, but he assured me its all under the skin, which sounded better but then I was like wait, that means that have to stick a needle in my chest!  The port goes just under your skin and they were going to put in on the opposite side from my tumor.  Well fun, that means both sides of me were going to be sore.  In order to do that I had to go back under anesthesia to get the port put in.  At least it was an in and out thing and no staying overnight in the hospital.  Again, the need for an IV and all that. Once that was over, I was a little sore from it but at least it was in.  Now I just had to get used to this quarter sized thing sticking up from under my chest wall area.  I used to be a stomach sleeper, but once that sucker was in I became a back sleeper.  I never really got used to that thing being in there, and couldn’t wait to get it out!  All was almost done.  I had my scans, I had my bone marrow, I had my port.  My first chemo was scheduled for mid January of 1997.  Right when friends were headed back to school I was headed to the chemo room!  My doctor told me a lot about what the chemo could do.  My regimen was called CHOP.  How appropriate I thought b/c it was gonna chop me up!  Each letter stands for the first name of the chemo drug.  Cytoxan(or cyclophosphamide), Doxorubicin Hydrochloride(also adriamycin, also called the red devil b/c its red), Oncovin(or vincristine) and Prednisone that you take 100mg orally for 5 days with each cycle.  The plan was for me to do 4 rounds of this every 3 weeks and blood counts to be checked at 10 day intervals.  Then I would follow that up with localized radiation.  Potential side effects:  It can cause cancer, um hello what?  I found it crazy that my cancer treatment can cause other cancers like leukemia, myelodysplasia(bone marrow failure), and others.  Also radiation can increase cancer risks too.  Hair loss, I mean I knew that b/c all I kept thinking of was that movie with Julia Roberts and she takes care of that man that is getting cancer treatment and he is super sick all the time.  He told me my hair would probably fall out 10 days after my first chemo.  Fatigue, figured that one, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, constipation, tingling of my fingers and toes, potential nerve damage, increase risk of infection, my pee to turn red(crazy), and probably more but Ill stop there.  The two things I focused on were hair loss and vomiting. I hate throwing up, I mean who likes it.  Luckily I would get some medicine for nausea that would help.

In order to prep for hair loss I went ahead and got a wig.  Ugh this wig, Ill have to post  a pic of this sucker. I had my hair cut short and cut bangs b/c I figured they will just fall out pretty soon if I didn’t like them.  At the wig store, which I went to this place called wigit, which is still in business and down the street from me.  You can put this cap over your hair and try stuff on.  I probably should have just been bold and bought a crazy one, but I wanted to appear normal so I settled on one that was blonde and kind of like my hair.  Well I ended up ordering one and I guess I have a small head b/c it didn’t seem to fit me all that great.  At least I had something though.  It did remind me of barbie doll hair though. Real shiny and fake like.  I don’t think it was real hair.  They also had this cool strip of hair that you velcro in to a hat, so you put a hat on and the hair just sticks out the back.  Sounds crazy I know.  This whole thing was just crazy anyway.  Now Im ready, I guess.  I mean who can actually be ready for that, you just have to do it and kick its butt!  Next up is C day!