Cleared for treatment today !
Blood levels checked out today as all being within the normal range and all is a go for week three of cycle number 4. This is the last week of treatment for this cycle so next week I get a week off of any treatment.
The process of each treatment is the same. First the blood chemical levels must be in acceptable range, then the next step is to record vitals. Blood pressure, pulse, check blood sugar. If all those are within the normal range then treatment can proceed. Next is the part everybody hates, the needle IV being put into a vein so that the drug can be allowed to drip slowly into the blood stream. For those who never have had to go through this. let me just say that the fear of needles is greatly diminished over time because being stuck with needles is a necessary ongoing part of any chemo treatment and after hundreds of needles of all sizes and for many reasons, becomes a routine thing and not a big deal. I will say that I have found that some technicians are really good at it through years of experience but there are also those that I try to avoid if I can because they are not as gentle as they could be and sometimes leave black and blue marks or bruises in their haste to get the job done. Some people get treatment daily or several times a week and rather than getting stuck every day which can damage veins, will have an IV port put in that stays in for as long as their treatment is scheduled for. This is also good for those who just cant deal with the thought of being stuck with needles or just plain have a phobia of needles.
Once the port is in, the drug is brought out and hung on the drip pole. It is then plugged into the port and the volume of drip is timed by the technician to allow the drug to flow into the body at the prescribed volume. In my case the drip lasts about two hours.
I am often asked, “can you feel it” I can only speak for myself but my short answer is, yes, I can feel it. The very first treatment I received for this drug and I believe any first treatment (in speaking with others who have had treatment ), your body feels the most reaction. On my first treatment of this drug, approx one hour into the treatment I started to shiver uncontrollably as if I was out in the ice cold weather with no protection on. I was not cold at all but I just could not stop this shiver. It only lasted about ten minutes but was intense. all other treatment after have been what I call normal. There is always this feeling of fogginess in my head, not disabling, but you feel it there. Due to some reactions that I have had from this new drug in the past, my dosages have been reduced and this reduction has made that foggy feeling in my head reduced to almost nothing. So far so good! I go for a MUGA scan (Multiple Gated Acquisition scan ) next week which is a test to be sure that my heart is handling the treatment.
More on the results of that test next week!