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Entering the Unknown: My First Chemo Injection

Entering the Unknown: My First Chemo Injection

It’s official:  I am now in the hands of science.  And, in the hands of the somewhat unknown.  I am the first and only woman at the Red Rocks Cancer Center, and possibly in the state of Colorado,  to shoot up Halaven before any other kind of chemo. My oncologist and nurse are hopeful it will work as well or better than they’ve seen it work on women who have already had several other treatments, and they hope the side effects will be much less than the standard treatment.  But, they only know how it affects women who have already had many other types of chemo, so they can’t truly predict how it will affect me.

This will be a freakin’ walk in a beautiful flowery park, right?!

I had my first injection of Halaven on Thursday, and I was surprised by how easy it was.  I was only there for about 40 minutes.  My next injections will take even less time because the nurse will not need to explain as much to me, and I probably won’t have as many questions.  After consulting with my nurse, I began with a finger poke to check my blood, and then I had a 20-minute IV infusion of anti-nausea medication.  After that, the Halaven took less than a minute to push into my system.  My surgeon did a good job of placing my port near the surface of my skin, so the nurse didn’t have to hunt for it; you can easily see the tree little nubs that indicate where to put the IV without even touching it.  She froze the skin over the port with some sort of crazy freezing spray, and then she stabbed me.  The port has a thick plastic back, so the needle can’t go through it.  It didn’t hurt at all, but it was certainly weird.  I didn’t look at it.

The day of and the day after I felt a little foggy in the head like I’d had a few too many glasses of wine the night before.  I also had a slightly weird taste in my mouth.  I was a little nauseous last night, but it was nothing a glass of ginger ale couldn’t remedy.  Today is supposed to be the worst day, and I feel fine other than a bit tired. I imagine side effects will build as I get more injections.  I have another this Thursday, and then I take a week off.  I will do three more cycles after that of two weeks on and one week off.  I also go in one extra day at the beginning of each cycle to check my vitals and blood.

After Halaven for 12 weeks, I will move on to the hardcore stuff: AC.  From what I’ve heard and read, that’s going to be one scary chemical cocktail.  Not only for me, but also for my cancer, which is seriously going down.

(It’s crazy and probably completely psychological, but I swear I feel sporadically sharp pangs coming from my tumor.  I plan to ask my doctor about this the next time I see him.  How cool would that be if I can actually feel it suffering?!)

Knock on wood, but I’m not as nervous about going back to work as I thought I would be.  I think my next injection on Thursday will be a little bit more difficult to tolerate as the chemo builds in my system, but I am hopeful it won’t be as bad as I thought.  Keep them crossed, pray, do interpretive Mother Earth dances, meditate, send smoke signals to the stars, or do whatever else it is you do to give me good energy as I move through this.  My goal is to make it to the end of the school year without too many hang-ups.  After that, it can knock me on my butt, and I’ll have all summer to cope.

Cheers to science, ginger ale, and tumor pangs!



The Power Port: Almost as Cool as the Power Rangers. Almost.

The Power Port: Almost as Cool as the Power Rangers. Almost.

After looking into my catheter options, I decided to go with the under-the-skin Power Port.  This titanium device is now under my skin just below my right collarbone . Yes, that’s right, I said titanium.

There were advantages and disadvantages to each type of catheter, and  I am grateful for my aunt and uncle’s insight because it encouraged me to ask a lot of questions.  For me, the Power Port seems like the best option.  It requires the least amount of maintenance and cleaning, which is a concern if I am going to work; high schools are dirty, germ-infested places!

Because the port is under my skin, I do not need to worry about covering it up in the shower or cleaning it.  I also like this one because it has three bumps on it to ensure that it hasn’t gone too deep and to help the nurses  find it.

It’s also purple and is sort of shaped like an adorable little heart:

PowerPortOh, and the Power Port motto:


There wasn’t a purple Power Ranger, so here’s an excellent collage of Kimberly, the original pink Power Ranger:

Pink Ranger

CLICK HERE for more information on my new Power Port.


Can we name the boob?

Can we name the boob?

I’m really thinking this all important piece of anatomy needs a name.  Esmeralda? Hazel? This poor thing has to go through all this trauma and yet will not really have much of an identity.  What about Mabel?
Jeder Schnittpunkt eines Computersystems zum Internet ist ein potenzielles Einfallstor..

Welcome and THANK YOU!!

Welcome and THANK YOU!!

I’m sure you and I have something in common as we face this unbelievable news:  It’s completely surreal and not something any of us should ever have to face.  But, here it is.  The boob.

As the fuzzy journey ahead  slowly becomes more clear, I know that I will need each and every one of you to keep my head and heart along a positive path.  I like to think that I am strong, but those of you who know me best, know that I more often than not need a little encouragement when it comes to talking myself off of any sort of edge.  Whether it be through research, new discoveries, advice, support, laughter, total randomness, or maybe some inappropriateness, I know that you will all contribute to the positive energy that I will have and need.

Let the journey begin. . .