This week was actually kind of fun. A had three cancer related activities: 1) Chemo Class, 2) another breast expansion and 3) wig shopping.
I was a little nervous to go to chemo class. I was going by myself and I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. Luckily, there was only one other cancer patient there who brought her parents. I loved to see how supportive they were to their daughter. Plus they had a packet for my that was specific to my cancer treatment plan.
The class was extremely educational. I learned all about the three types of chemo I will be receiving and each of their side effects. The one that scares me a little (ok – a lot) is Adriamycin. This one is red and has a plethora of side effects. Long story short, this one causes hair loss (more on that later) on about the 15th day of the first administration of the drug. It’s an IV push which means that the oncology nurse stands by you with a syringe and pushes the drug into your port. It is also important for the nurse to be there to observe for adverse reactions.
Yes, I’m getting a port “installed” on Friday, April 11th prior to the first chemo. I pondered the decision of whether or not to get a port for about a week. After talking to my sister, Brenda, who works in the medical field and actually assists in these procedures, I was convinced that I needed one. She said that some chemo drugs leak out of the vein. In chemo class the nurse explained that Adriamycin is one of the chemo drugs that can leak and also recommended I have a port.
The other two chemo drugs I will be taking are Cytoxan which takes 30 to 60 minutes to IV drip into my system and will be administered the first four rounds with the Adriamycin and Taxol which takes about three hours via IV drip and will be administered in the second four rounds.
The fun part of this class was that the other cancer patient happened to have had a mastectomy the same day I did. We were able to compare stories and discuss how we were feeling. We exchanged phone numbers so we can text because that is the form of communication we both prefer other than face-to-face. (I seem to have forgotten how to have a conversation over the phone without interrupting the other person). It was nice to meet someone who is going through the same thing I am going through. Her cancer hadn’t spread as far as mine and her chemo treatment is less aggressive – she will have three weeks to recover between treatments as opposed to my two weeks. So happy to have a new friend.
The expansion went well on Friday. It didn’t feel weird this time. I’m not sure why. I’ll have one more expansion, I think. The fun part about this visit is that the doctor and staff are awesome. They obviously like their jobs and always have welcoming smiles. As I walk up to the reception area, they always say, “I can help you over here, Amy”. I love that…and yes, I do realize that I had an appointment and they know I’m coming. It’s such little effort to make someone feel welcome during such a crappy time.
WIG SHOPPING!! This was actually super fun. After looking at wigs online for a while, I decided that I was going to have to go to a wig shop and try some on. I sent a text to my sister, Janet, to see if she wanted to go with me. Of course she wanted to go. We both tried on A LOT of wigs and I learned that I cannot wear a blonde wig. They washed me out and surprisingly made me look frumpy. Dark brown and auburn were a thumbs down as well. It was fun to see all the different hairstyles on me and my sister. Janet took pictures of most of the wigs on me and sent texts of the pictures to several family members including my husband for voting. I chose two wigs. I’m very happy with both of them. One is shoulder length and the other is long. I’ve never had long hair before so it should be fun.
I bought a scarf for days when I don’t want to wear a wig and a couple of skull caps to protect my head during the night and to wear beneath the scarves and wigs. Hopefully these things stay on my head after I’m bald. We shall soon find out.