My first chemotherapy treatment was the day after my port surgery- yes the day after surgery. What a treat right? My whole family, including my brother’s lovely girlfriend who I just adore, went with me to the cancer center. I met with my oncologist first (as I do before every treatment)- he explained again briefly the medicines I’d be receiving through the IV as well as the medication I was to take three days after the treatment to prevent any kind of nausea. I wouldn’t say I was scared that first day; I was still too focused on my gunshot wound and the excruciating pain it was causing me.
Because I would be too sore to take a needle right after the surgery, an IV had already accessed my port and was taped to my chest by the surgeon. My mom and sister were trying to keep it a secret from me- little did they know I had overheard the nurse in recovery and knew it was there the whole time. Bitches. I took the little paper cup of pills, mostly steroids, and played the waiting game. That’s the worst part about chemo. Waiting. Thankfully, due to my brigade, we were put in a little room with a TV and DVD player so Captain James Hook kept us entertained. I started to receive my treatment and it was so big deal, I mean besides the fact that it’s poison and all. Finally, five hours later, we left and I was done with my first chemotherapy treatment. Parents are generally so thrilled with their kid’s firsts- first steps, first tooth, first A+, first job… my parents sure as hell didn’t see this first coming, but it was nonetheless an accomplishment.
I was starving when we left the cancer center, I could’ve eaten the entire dinosaur leg they served at Phi Psi’s Christmas buffet my sophomore year of college. We went to a near-by sub shop and I got a giant turkey sandwich (just typing those words makes me want to hurl all over my laptop). We went back to our hotel room and I scarfed that sub, I truly put Homer Simpson to shame. Afterwards, I was so exhausted from the treatment and still recovering from surgery so I hit the sheets for a solid nap. I woke up as a different person. I felt so nauseous I thought I was going to vom my brains out. I sat on the edge of the bathtub praying to the porcelain god. I wanted that turkey sandwich out of my stomach ASAP- just the thought of it made me heave, but the worst part was nothing came up because of the pills I had taken before the chemo. It was hell. For the next few days I couldn’t eat anything- I was forced to choke down some saltine crackers so I didn’t take medicine on an empty stomach but even that was hard. The turkey sandwich haunted my dreams. Since I wasn’t eating, the rest of my family didn’t really make an effort to bring any food into the hotel room and kind of just did their own thing when it came to meals. It got to the point where Olivia hadn’t eaten in two days, haha, and I remember her laying bed with me eating sour straws pointing out the fact that she’d hadn’t had real food in days. LOL. My poor little teen. She went through hell with me that week.
When I finally got my appetite back I had very specific requests- like, surprise, pizza!- and I stuck to those cravings because I never knew when that sub was going to enter my thoughts to torment me. I haven’t been nauseous like again, thank the good lord. I suppose it was my body going reacting to the first dose of chemo. Because of that incident I am very careful of what I eat right after treatment and I make sure it is something small and that I don’t care if I’ll never eat it again. Turkey sandwiches are forever banned from my diet and I even have a hard time when someone else eats one in front of me- that really pisses Lisa off because the girl loves a good Subway lunch.
I look back on my first treatment and think about how far I have come since then. It seems so long ago and I’m a pro at chemo now. Lisa always comes with me and my dad comes when he can, if he’s not kicking ass out in San Diego. My brother and his girlfriend stop by occasionally. One time my friend Danielle came with me. Another time my mom’s best friend Angela came with. Olivia comes when she’s in Chicago. I feel so lucky to have such an amazing support system; some people come to the cancer center alone and I can’t imagine getting through this by myself.
I am now half way through my cycles. 6 down, 6 to go. Even though I feel more like I’m getting prepared for a beat down than a healing session, I know the “therapy” is slaying the golf ball’s clique, Mortal Kombat style.
Below are some photos of me during chemo- disregard the my swollen face, the steroids are really doing a number on me.