Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chemo brain....it's real

So, I experienced my first chemotherapy treatment yesterday. I first got some labs drawn (they do this pretty much every visit) and it was the first time they got to use my port. I was pretty freaked out for this part because my chest is still sensitive from getting the port in. However, I had used numbing cream before I went and it hardly hurt all all when they used the special needle to access the port.
This is what my port looks like (the purple part) and the yellow thing is the special needle they use.

I also met with the doctor and we just discussed the treatment and she answered a lot of my dad's questions and also told me the results of my pap smear (uterine biopsy). They found evidence of endomertrial cancer in my uterus soooo looks like there really is no hope of saving it :( Darn.

Anyway, after the doctor we had lunch and then checked in for chemotherapy. We waited a loooong time before they let us back. I should have taken a picture of the place! Its pretty nice. All the chairs face the large glass windows that look out over the valley, so its really pretty and bright. I got to sit in a comfortable reclining lazy boy in front of a personal TV. They hooked me up first to Benadryl to prevent an allergic reaction to the chemo drugs, some anti-nausea drugs, Tylenol and Pepcid. All stuff to prevent me getting or feeling sick. The Benadryl made me feel super sleepy :( Then......they hooked me up to the Taxol first. After about 30 seconds I started realizing what people meant by chemo brain. I felt all fuzzy and weird. And then, in the blink of an eye, I got crazy nauseous, my face felt numb, I broke out in hives and I couldn't breathe at all! It was freaky!!! They quickly stopped the infusion and put me on oxygen until I could breathe. I had a severe allergic reaction to the Taxol, it was really scary. They let me sit and catch my breathe for a little bit then hooked me up to some more Benadryl. I had to pee and when I saw my face in the mirror it was crazy! My eyes were bloodshot and my cheeks were all puffy and splotchy, I was quite a sight to see :) The Benadryl started working, which for me sucks because I think I'm allergic to it too. It makes me all twitchy and feel super weird, but I have to have it. They let the Benadryl soak in for 30 minutes and then started me back up on the Taxol. This time they slowed the rate down to half as fast as it normally is. I felt much better the second try. I was extremely tired by this point from all the Benadryl the shoved in me so I fell asleep. I slept for most of the time. Every once in a while I would wake up and talk to Sterling or watch TV with him but then I got tired and would fall asleep again. They checked in every so often to get my vitals (blood pressure, heart rate and temperature).
Skull Candy donated headphones for all the first time chemo patients. So I got these super nice things for free!
FINALLY the Taxol was done. It took more than twice as long as it should have because my body freaked out. They then flushed my system with a little saline and hooked me up to the Carboplaten. Luckily I didn't have anymore freak outs. My temperature just spiked to 104 was all.....yucky. I didn't feel all that bad though and the last hour or so I was awake watching TV and eating yummy food. Like chocolate! And granola bars. And more chocolate. In fact, I was pretty darn hungry. And super hot since my fever was so high. Eventually the carboplaten ended and I was set to go!! Yay!!!! It was 6:15 by this point and we were thinking we'd probably be out of the hospital by 3 or 4....oops :) They de-accessed my port by pulling the needle out. It was a little scary and kind of hurt, but mostly it just felt weird. Then I was good to go! I was the last patient left. Lucky me :) All in all it wasn't too bad of an experience really. Just the 15 or so minutes where I freaked out and then was all twitchy and weird. The rest was fine! And today I feel great still. Not sick yet! I even ran this morning, although I am definitely slower than before I had my port, its kind of sore still I guess.
Right before they hooked me up to anything.
Before I got my chemo drugs, and I was just hooked up to the preventative meds I met this super awesome guy getting chemo too. He has been on chemo treatments for 4 1/2 years! Oh my gosh. And he has to be on them the REST OF HIS LIFE. His cancer is terminal and either the cancer is gonna kill him or the chemo is. Wow, it made me so sad for him. He has two cute little kids, an 8 year old and a 5 year old. And he was such a funny person! He has pulled so many pranks on the poor doctor and nurses and really just has fun with his situation. It was really awesome to meet him and made me realize my situation is NOTHING compared to his! He also made me want to pull funny pranks too because it sounds really fun :) He didn't explain in much detail, but I got the idea that one time he went streaking through the infusion room with his IV!!! Hahaha that is so awesome.

So there you have it, I lived through the first treatment and it wasn't so bad at all! I hear it gets a lot worse, so I'm glad I could start out slowly and happily. I will take more pictures next time!
My awesome best friend sent me this monkey pic from the San Diego zoo on her honeymoon while I was in treatment


  1. You are amazing Kalina!! Such an inspiration!!

  2. Wow!! You are a fighter. I admire your courage and sense of humor through all of this.

  3. I was hoping that was a prank! You know the whole I can't breathe action. Don't do that again okay? And I agree you do look beautiful. Thank you for your great example and positive attitude. I love you :)

  4. Hi Kalina,
    We just want you to know, we love you, we are thinking about you, and you are in our prayers.
    If I could offer any intelligent, or spiritual advice, I
    would tell you to re-read your old post, "the race that changed my life". You are and will always be a inspiration, and a good example, for all of us to follow. You are amazing, the strongest person I know.

    1. Thanks Grandpa I love you! You are so thoughtful and kind!


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