Trust your intuition – Take 2, Part 3, Treatment #1

My port was placed Feb 15, 2019, and after a quick trip to San Francisco to tour colleges with my daughter, chemo began Feb 26, 2019. The worst part for me through the entire process was the IV benadryl, the rest went through fine. I had read a study and listened to a talk given by an oncology nutritionist that suggested fasting for 48 hours, a water fast, before and through the day of chemo. I fasted on the 25th with just water and a cup of black coffee, continued the fast on the 26th through treatment, ate a small meal of under 500 calories after treatment per the protocol, and then fasted through to the next morning when I broke my fast with a smoothie. The  nurse thought I was nuts and that it was a bad idea, she laughed at it but then I showed her the research. She asked the other nurse who had actually taught my chemo class, and that nurse said I was the 3rd or 4rth person to ask about it and encouraged me to try it and see if it works for me. I really believe it did.

They started me with Decadron, a steroid, which I was unaware of. I was supposed to have been called to pick up an order of it to take before chemo day, and the morning of chemo day. As mentioned earlier, my nurse manager has not been in contact with me at all. Neither has my oncologist other than the day she rambled off the treatment protocol. I had to stop her and ask her why we were going with the new route, if she thought it made sense to her based on what Dr. Isaacs had discussed with her, which she said she did. As soon as she answered my question though, she went right back to where she was in her memorized rant. I listened as well as I could and caught on to most of what she was saying. I don’t recall the Decadron though and was never told by anyone that an order was placed for it and that I had to take it before chemo. So frustrating. 

They ended up giving me the Decadron via IV, then the Zofran for anti-nausea, then the Benadryl which I felt coursing through my body, up the back of my head, making my arms and legs ridiculously heavy, my hands useless, but after all that, I was fine. I still have the back head headache though which I think is a result of the benadryl. After that we started with the perjeta, a 60 minute drip, then a 60 minute break to monitor for reactions. There were none other than almost getting sick at the beginning but I think that was still from the Benadryl. Break over, we started the 90 minute drip of Herceptin. Through both of these I had my feet in frozen booties and my hands resting on gloves of ice, as much as I could, to try to constrict my blood vessels in my hands and feet so the meds would not go there and cause nerve damage, ie neuropathy. After Herceptin, we had another 60 minute break then started the Taxotere for 60 minutes. No probs. So we went right in the Carboplatin after that for 30 minutes, though the first 15 were a slow drip. When all was done, she said I did great. Maybe the fasting helped!

As we were checking out, I had all my drugs ordered and picked up, Decadron for the next time, Zofran for nausea. But no Zarxio…..that was one thing I heard the oncologist say to me in her rant because it terrified me. I knew I would have to give myself a shot daily for 7 days to keep up my immune cells. The worst time for neutropenia is 7-10 days post treatment. For some reason it was not included on the order. The oncologist was shocked and said of course I have to have it. Again someone  not following through. Her ears must have been burning because she just called as I am typing  this to see how I am doing, go over everything, let me know that she was upset the Zarxio was not included in the order form and made sure to have it put on all future orders, and asked if I had any questions because she knew that the last time we spoke everything was really a whirlwind for me with the change of plans (I initially was supposed to start with surgery). Would have been nice if she made this call before I started chemo, especially knowing how much I did not want it, but at least she called. So I get to start the fun of self-inflicted needles tonight…..