I met with my hemo-oncologist, Marjorie Bernstein-Singer, for the first time. She’s a lively, warm women who seems fast on her feet. Good thing, because I’ve been champing at the bit to get started with chemotherapy. Dr. Bernstein-Singer may just prove to be one of those good things that come to those who wait.
She took me through the drugs they’d be giving me (PACLitaxel and CARBOplatin, along with benadryl, pepcid, decadron and a little saline solution). 15 minutes into my visit, I was already set up with my appointments on my day and time of choice: Fridays at 9am after my daily radiation treatment.
Then Joan and I were given a tour of the oncology infusion area and introduced to my RN, a down-to-earth lady named Yvonne Allen with a nice, dry sense of humor.
After a little wait, Yvonne got me settled into my infusion station. Most stations include a big easy chair, plenty of warm blankets, chairs for visitors and a TV.
Oh yeh…I forgot to mention…my first chemo treatment was TODAY. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
Today they used a standard IV setup. I’ll have a PICC Line (peripherally inserted catheter) installed next week before my next chemotherapy. This will save wear and tear on my poor little collapsible veins.
Yvonne briefed me on the drugs I’d be receiving, their possible side effects, and dietary recommendations. After being given pills to combat the nausea that is a side effect of these particular drugs, I was given decadron, benadryl via IV, then PEPCID. Finally, they ran carboplatin into my veins. The process so far had taken about 2 hours. After that bag was finished, they switched the IV to the paclitaxel bag. I was left feeling pleasantly drifty…and slightly odd. Oh…maybe I was already slightly odd.
Joan and I left the oncology department around 4:30pm. It’s been a long, but productive, day at Kaiser (I arrived this morning 8 am radiation). At last we’re fighting those nasty little cancer cells swimming around in my thoracic cavity. The chemo works in tandem with the radiation, as these drugs make my cells more vulnerable to the radiation. While I don’t yet feel the 2 tumors in my right lung shrinking just yet, I’m satisfied we’re on the right road.
Now all I have to do is show up and keep putting one foot in front of the other.