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Cancer Battle Plan Phase 2: Chemotherapy

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My First Chemotherapy Session
The gray morning was appropriate for what we were about to begin. We arrived at the doctor’s office at 9:00 a.m. First there was a brief visit with the person who handles health insurance. Now that’s some scary stuff.

Next, I was called to the lab for blood work, something that is done prior to each treatment. If the situation warrants, treatment is delayed until the patient is stronger.

Then it was on to the chemo room. There’s no way to explain the feeling of walking into that room full of people trying to beat cancer. The nurses, knowing it was our first time, pointed out the bathrooms and a refreshment area to which we can help ourselves to tea, coffee, and juice. We patients had cozy recliners and blankets, and our visitors have chairs next to us. The recliners are set up in groups of four with several nurses stations.

As they went through the process of explaining the drugs and potential side effects again, I went into information overload, until it became nothing more than a blur. The nurse didn’t make the vein on the first try (ouch), but the second went well, and off we went. I was officially on chemo.

With each change of IV bag, another explanation of the drugs and side effects was given. One was an anti-nausea medication which makes chemo a much better experience than it was a decade ago. Because of the mastectomy being on the right side, all blood work and IV drugs would have to be given through my left arm. In the long-term, that would be tough on my skinny little arm. Eventually, we would opt for a chemo port.

What is a Chemo Port?
From the ACS: A port of plastic, stainless steel, or titanium with a silicone septum. This drum-shaped device is surgically placed under the skin of the chest or upper arm. The attached catheter extends into a large or central vein. The port is accessed through the skin with a non-coring needle. It is intended for long-term use. No routine care is needed when not in use, although it may need to be flushed if not used for more than a month at a time.

Near as I could tell, most of the patients were middle-aged or older, some had hair, some did not. I was grateful not to see any children present. Some folks looked exhausted, but the mood in the room was surprisingly upbeat. It was amazing to be among these people undergoing such powerful treatment … hopeful and, for the most part, smiling.

I wondered about the lives of my fellow patients. Did they have someone to help them through this ordeal? Were they all alone?

Next: Chemo Hits Home

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17 comments

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6:34PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

This is a perfectly good article and I wish Ann the best with her fight against cancer. However, there is a piece missing.
What's wrong with this picture? Ann has breast cancer and is getting chemotherapy for it. She has posted an article about it on Care2 under Healthy & Green Living.

Nothing at first glance, but if you look deeper, there are wide gaps in this article. No mention is made of why chemo is either healthy or green. In fact, it is neither. No mention is made of why she got breast cancer. Cancer can never be properly treated without having at least some idea of what the cause is. There are no healthy, green or environmentally friendly topics or statements in this article. Any cancer article on Care2 would ideally be about natural, effective cancer treatments. If natural cancer treatments or specialized, minimally toxic chemo (IPT) are not mentioned in a cancer article, that article has no place on Care2 and would be better off on a cancer site or booklet.

No offense. Thank you Cherry.

9:36PM PDT on May 11, 2011

Hemp oil? Is there more information on this, who has used it, how, with what results?
Certain chemos can destroy the heart muscle so that it can no longer pump effectively, so, ask oncologist about taking CoQ10 supplements while undergoing the chem that can cause the damage.

11:23PM PDT on May 10, 2011

Ann - we are with you all the way.
Thank you for opening your life.

3:43PM PDT on May 10, 2011

I thought about it and have come up with a better word than "story", infobiography.

3:17PM PDT on May 10, 2011

Thank you Ann for this wonderful, enlightening, from the heart "story", Much information is helpful! God Bless

10:00AM PDT on May 10, 2011

I have read, time and again, chemo and radiation kill more people than are cured. Drug companies are making billions over our dead bodies....and laughing as they say 'business is great!'.

Research hemp oil.....incrediable success, no side effects. Problem is docs and drug companies won't have anything to do with it because you can't patent a plant!! Whooosh.......there go the billions in profit!

4:12AM PDT on May 10, 2011

Noted with interest.

4:32PM PDT on May 9, 2011

Another survival story

3:41PM PDT on May 9, 2011

thanks for sharing

2:55PM PDT on May 9, 2011

Thank you!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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