First day of chemo began with early morning surgery to place the porta cath. We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. met by our friend “donut Jenn” who made sure the staff had a box full of Top Pot Donuts. We had little time to digest the fullness of the day (or any donuts, doggonit) before the preparations for surgery began- updating records, taking vitals, giving me my fabulous surgical outfit to change into (complete with cozy socks), and then it was off to surgery at 7:30 a.m. promptly. I was out of surgery and into recovery by 8:30 a.m., and we were off to meet the oncologist, have bloodwork done, and then to the treatment center where I would have my first chemo infusion.
The Swedish Cancer Clinic has a nice treatment center where they offer beverages hot or cold, brown bag lunches, cookies, custard, etc., but what I was craving was a pomegranate Jamba Juice. Reen rushed to get us our juice when my Herceptin infusion began, and was back with hot soup and juice before I knew it. We sat for six hours in a lovely corner where we looked out on the veranda complete with japanese maples, bamboo, and grasses for us to admire. I truly didn’t spend much time admiring anything, however, as I slept a good portion of my infusion (except for the insane reaction I had to the Benadryl, after which I got a horribly inappropriate case of the giggles and a desire to wiggle my body….then I fell asleep again).
I’ve been told that the first infusion is one of the easiest, and that I may experience increased fatigue, muscle ache, and some nausea with the infusions to come. Although I’m not looking forward to the next several months of chemo, I feel as prepared as I can be. Today my shoulder aches from the surgery, but I feel quite good. My plan is to get my hair cut to a shorter, funkier style, because I’ve been told I could have just a bit more time with locks on my head if my hair isn’t long. I know it’s putting off the inevitable, but I want to avoid looking like a cancer patient as long as I can. When I do shave my head, I know I have some wonderful scarves and hats to wear thanks to friends who’ve donated them. I also know that I will make it through this journey with a few more scars that will add to my personal roadmap (and the mosaic of my life).