A while ago I had asked you guys is you may be interested in a "come to chemo" post where you can see a little bit of what goes on during a chemo treatment. Well after I asked that, my doctors took me off of chemo so I could have my liver surgery. But I'm back on it now so I figured I could show you how it goes.
So the first thing to really prepare for chemo is to numb my port (also known as a portacath). Now you may not be familiar with what a port is. I know even after they put mine in I was still confused as to how it worked. It's basically a small ball that they place under your skin in your chest that has a catheter tube that they connect to a vein where they can directly put the chemo medicine. They access it by needle, it doesn't remain open or anything. They placed mine quite low or I'd show it to you, I think they placed it so low because I'm young and they figured I'd want to hide it. They give you a prescription for lidocaine numbing cream and you use that and some press-n-seal plastic wrap about an hour before your treatment to numb it so you don't feel them poke you.
|Entrance at my cancer center|
When you get to the cancer center (or wherever you're being treated) they'll register you and give you what I call "the beeper of doom." Which is the beeper that goes off when it's your turn. Just a little thought on cancer centers: I think it's awesome that people are so focused on curing cancer that that's all they do however, sometimes it makes me feel, when I walk into the cancer center, that I am not supposed to be with the other "healthy" people. I know that's not the case but it has made me feel that way.
The first time the beeper goes off, you go back for "labs" where they'll probably poke your finger for blood and make you pee in a cup (they don't make everyone pee in a cup. I'n on Avastin and sometimes that can make protein spill into my urine and they want to make sure that's not happening). They want to make sure that your blood counts are where they should be and that you're healthy enough to continue with treatment. They'll give you another tube for them to draw blood from your port. And then they'll send you back out to wait for the beeper to go off again and then it's treatment time.
|My beeper with another tube for blood attached to it, I have to bring this back to my nurse.|
The first thing that hits you here is the smell. It definitely smells medicine-y. And this smell seems to get worse every time you go back, I think because of the negative connotation that goes along with it. Now they sit you down in your little treatment area and access your port. Then they'll draw that tube of blood (which they check for liver, kidney functions, and all sorts of different things with), and start your pre-meds (which are steroids and anti-nausea medicine).
And then they hook up the chemo and let it infuse for however long your treatment is. My scheduled treatment time is 5 hours, which is one of the longer treatments, but here's what I look like all hooked up (I kinda look miserable haha)!
|You can see the patch on my left shoulder, my port is under there in like the top of my boob|
There's a tv and stuff, there's a seat for a guest so you don't have to be there all alone. And I personally like having a window seat, it lets me look out and see if there are squirrels or anything haha. They'll bring you heated blankets if you're cold and food or drink if you're hungry or thirsty.
So you sit there and entertain yourself until your treatment is over. Then for me, I have to take a pump with medicine home and let it infuse over the next 46 hours so they gave me a fanny pack but I couldn't deal with that so I got this bag instead. And this is how I walk around for the next two days (I sleep with the pump and everything, no showers because it can't get wet).
Two days later I go back and get unhooked from my port and hopefully my side effects from the medicine aren't too bad. Usually I get sick at least once, I get VERY tired (I sleep about 16-20 hours a day, I'm basically useless), my skin breaks out like crazy, and by a certain day the steroids makes me incredibly antsy, I can't sit still, I can't get up and do something, I can't do anything without feeling anxious. I'm not allowed to eat or drink anything cold for like a week so that stinks (it's because of the Oxaliplatin, by the end of treatment my own saliva is too cold for me to swallow and it hurts going down) but I don't usually feel much like eating anyways because when they tell you not to eat foods you like when you're on chemo, they mean it. I ate pizza my first treatment, I didn't get sick or anything. I cannot touch pizza now. It makes me want to vomit.
That's a little peek into what it's like to go to chemo. I hope it was helpful for some of you who were wondering. If you wear pretty makeup, you'll get lots of compliments! I wore a dark purple smokey eye and got so many compliments, I think they're so used to seeing people who feel sick so they don't feel like getting ready, which is totally understandable because most of the time I feel that way too but I rocked a smokey purple eye and everyone loved it! Yes, I wear makeup to chemo!
I used BFTE "Big Ego" for this with some other colors I can't remember for blending and highlighting.
Again, I hope this helped shed some light on what goes on at a chemo treatment and that some of you found it helpful