January 8th, 2004.
My first CHOP chemo treatment
was today and everything went just fine.
Right off the bat, I didn't get
lost. Hehehe... I went right to the doctor's office
this time, and got there early. I only had $20 bills on me,
and my co-pay is $30, and she didn't have a way to change it, so
she suggested I pay by check. Great idea! So I whipped
out my check book, borrowed a pen (which is VERY unusual, as I'm
known to ALWAYS have a pen on me, as my 'most valuable tool'), and
proceeded to make it out. I asked to be sure, "Who do I
make it out to?" and with a sly grin, she said "Delia -hehehe.
Just kidding, make it out to Dr. da Roza." I thought
that was pretty cute, and it made me laugh.
Then the nurse that saved my life yesterday invited me back to the
'comfy chair room' and I had a seat in the same 'lucky' seat I'd
picked yesterday. After that experience, I'm
calling it 'mine'. LOL!
I pulled the magazine that I started yesterday from the rack,
put the pillow on my lap and extended my IV arm for the insertion
into my vein. She's got a good touch, no doubt from lots of
experience, and it went right in with only the slightest little
pinprick of a feeling. Pretty soon the fluids were flowing
and I was reading a fascinating article about personal flying
vehicles like the Air Scooter
in a year and a half old copy of Popular Science. I want one
Somewhere along "the way of the drip" the nurse came in
with 3 or 4 large syringes with bright red liquid in them, and got
comfortable near the port in the IV tube. She said,
"you might not want to watch this" and of course, I
asked with glee, "why? Is it going to be scary?" I
could hardly wait! I told her that I really find all this
stuff to be quite fascinating, which she seemed to think was kinda
funny. So now we were both having a pretty good time with
it, and I asked, "uh... what are we doing?"
She explained that this was the Doxorubicin, which is the
"H" in CHOP, which stands for Hydroxydaunomycin, which
is an Antitumor Antibiotic. Cool huh?! This is
the chemical I didn't have in my first series of chemo, two years
ago. She asked if my hair fell out last time, and I told her
it thinned a bit, but it wasn't really noticeable except in the
tub after a shower. She said that this stuff would DEFINITELY
make it all fall out, and since it will fall out in clumps and
look pretty silly, I might want to just shave my head. That
sounded like a pretty good idea, and I almost went and had it done
right afterwards, but mom's flying in today, and I thought she
could come with me and take pictures of the event so I can post
them in a future update. I'm goofy like that - hehehe!
So, she plugged the big syringes into the IV port one at a time
and slowly pushed the red fluid in. Up the tube it went
towards my arm, looking a bit like Kool-Aid in a silly straw, then
disappeared into me. (I guess that was supposed to be the
scary part, but I rather enjoyed it.) It felt just slightly
cooler than my body temperature, which felt kinda nice as it went
When that part was done, she hooked up a different bag of
chemicals on the IV tree and set it to dripping, and I went back
to my reading. A couple other patients came in and got set
up with their drips. Again, one of them had a port installed
in her chest to get the treatments. She settled in for a nap
pretty quickly in the big easy chair while her companion read a
magazine. There was soft jazz music playing in the
background and it was all very pleasant.
Soon enough, all my drippings had dripped and she unplugged me and
sent me on my way, with a reminder to come back next week to see
the doc. I gave her the "okey dokey" and headed
for the front desk, where I got a receipt from Delia for the
thirty bucks, and was on my way.
The nurse had called in three prescriptions the day before to a Walgreen's
across the street, so I headed over there to pick them up.
One of them is Prednisone, the nasty tasting steroid pills that
are the "P" in CHOP, but this time I know how to deal
with them. Milk is the key, so I bought a fresh quart of
good old vitamin D while I was there. If you ever have to
take Prednisone you're going to thank me for this next bit of
advice: Take a drink of milk to coat your mouth and swallow it to
coat your throat. Next, take a drink of milk and hold it in
your mouth. Now ready the Prednisone pill near your
lips, open them enough to get the pill in without the milk
spilling out, and as soon as it's in, swallow the mouthful of
milk. The pill will go right down with it and you won't have
to experience a seriously foul taste you REALLY don't want to get
to know personally. You're welcome. Hehehe!
The other two prescriptions were for:
one tablet every six hours as needed for nausea.
tablet every six to eight hours as needed for severe
In addition, she gave me some samples of Zofran before I left the
office, which she said would work well for REALLY intense nausea,
if the others didn't. So, I got the hook up here when it
comes to nausea control. Well.... Not that I don't trust her
and modern chemistry, but I bought a new bucket on the way home
anyway... these things have a way of sneaking up on ya.
Trust me on that one!
When I got out of Walgreen's, I turned on my phone again They like
us to only talk on cell phones outside the doc's office, so as not
to disturb the other patients, and since I was tethered to a
little bag of medicine on a metal pole, and seated comfortably in
an easy chair, I figured I'd just let it take messages for a
little while. There was only one message, from our human
resources director in the corporate office. She wanted to
know if she should start up the paperwork for medical leave and
disability and stuff like that.
I had a pretty rough ride the first time this hit me and I found
out I had cancer. I was working for the same company at the
time, but I was in Knoxville, Tennessee (which was
beautiful). Anyway, it knocked me down hard and put me in
bed, then a wheelchair, then more bed, then... well, you get the
idea. I couldn't work for a while.
So she was looking out for me, and I really have to say that it's
great to work for these folks. But I had some good news for
her (and me). This time we KNOW what I have and KNEW it was
coming back and have been watching for it BEFORE it gets a chance
to knock me down so I can deal with it better. THIS time,
I'm in control, and I feel fine and able to work right though
it. My plan right now is to take a morning off here and
there about every three weeks to get a chemo treatment, and be in
the office by noon. I let her know that I just left the
doc's office after a chemo treatment, felt great, was headed to
get a bite to eat, and would be in the office shortly. (I
got there by noon).
She said that was great news and she was so glad that it was going
so well for me. I promised to let her know if anything
changes and I need a little more time off than I expected, and
we'll work with it then. Otherwise, the only real change
will be that I'll be bald soon, but I wear lots of hats anyway, so
it probably won't even be all that noticeable!
Everyone at the office said I looked great, and how did I feel,
and there were lots of smiles. I grinned right back and gave
them all the truth: "I feel terrific!", then settled in
to get some work done. I caught up everything from yesterday
while I was out, as well as today. I went through all my
emails, replied where appropriate, visited with my staff one on
one for updates, and stayed till almost 5. Not a bad day at
all. I felt like I got a lot accomplished.
Just after 6: pm, I got a phone call from mom, who was at the
airport in San Francisco. My brother Bill works there and is
on vacation, so he picked her up. They said they were going
to get something to eat and then they'd head this way. Mom
will be staying with me while I get my treatments, and I'm looking
forward to doing some sightseeing with her and Bill while she's
here. I still haven't made it over to see the giant redwoods
and Yosemite National Park, so that's a destination I think we
should definitely take. I'll be sure to get lots of pics to
Ahhh... Another day in paradise!