Saturday, April 19, 2014

32.  Chemo - All in!

Ме́ньше зна́ешь -- кре́пче спишь.

                                Ignorance is bliss; What you don't know, cannot hurt you. Literal: The less you know, the more soundly you sleep.

I've begun my chemo. So far nothing out of the ordinary - perhaps I'm halfway through today's dose. Don't anyone tell me how sick it's going to make me. I prefer to be surprised.  

Well, first I want to say that I have the most elegant chemo/IV nurse. She has a little English and we both smile a lot, and I think we're bonded.  I could be wrong, since I don't know what all she's saying when she chats, but I like her a lot. She walks in purposefully, like a model on catwalk, her hands held gracefully up and posed for high tea.  She has, what was it my Granny used to call it - she has 'bearing'.  And I think you'll agree if I show you (she loved having her photo taken, so I think she secretly IS a model, or she likes the idea, or she's just very gracious). Here is my chemo nurse:

Awesome, no? And efficient even with language barrier, I am all installed, in process, and she does her cat walk out. I'm memorizing it in case I do a David Lynch-like movie later in life. Actually, all of the nursing staff are so efficient, kind, friendly even with our language barrier. They do a great job at their jobs, and you know they are proud of what they do, of where they work. No sour faces, no griping. They like working here, you can tell. 

Just so you family and friends will know none of us are here 'alone'.  It's a good place to be!

Nitty gritty here and more for those who are coming after me. This is the octopus-port currently jammed into my juggler vein (I woke up with deep indentations of it on my cheek, which have probably still not quite recovered, so it's okay to sleep on it).  

Looks worse than it feels, but they did go into the same vein as the big apheresis port, so it was a bit more sore to do this second one. I tried to just concentrate on the giant moth carcass that is up there in the light fixture. You'll see what I mean. By now I have double vision (lack of IVIg, active demyelination ongoing) so it might not be quite as large as it seemed. 

ALL 'GOING SOMEPLACE' AND WHAT TO WEAR?  It seemed like a great time to go with the BIG diamond earrings - no? I mean, I am getting a whole new immune system out of this so might as well dress to the nines.  Okay, pjs and diamonds. That's about the best it's going to get today.   

Anyway, this is the day's work ahead of me:

Seven bottes in all. the lower 3 are each a pint, the 4 on the infusion tree are about 3/4 pints each, I'd say.  I'm seeing how long I can go before bursting. Anyone want to place a bet?  Sheeba's a woos - she's already hit the loo a few times, she says.  

I am surrounded by these elegant young women who are here doing this same thing for their MS. Also Jamie is here, and we celebrated his birthday with him yesterday. They are all such sweet funny people, it's a joy to share this unique month in our lives and I consider it such an honor to have met each one. They're all my own kids' ages, so I feel right at home among their bright minds, their ready smiles and great collective sense of humor. Wanted to post us showing off our lovely new octo-tube necklaces (3 of us ready for chemo), but will protect all privacies. Octo-port - might catch on at home, might not.

NOTE: Dr. Fedorenko has been here showing us photos of his giant cat, "Gordon" on his cellphone. He is such a regular person - hard to not wonder from time to time if he's just playing Doctor in here for fun. But the amazing results speak to his particular genius, and all his patients love the guy. Hard not to. He is 37, just the age of my youngest son.  

And he discloses that 7 bottles were not all. I have 2 more to be administered in the evening. Those 2 seem to have all to do with protecting kidneys, etc., from the chemo, however.  So more tonight and for now I'm hot, humid, about to nap but not feeling ill. All good. 

Oh, and today began the antibiotic, antiviral 1 and antiviral 2, twice daily, in addition to the small pink one for gastrointestinal comfort:

OMG! I've been trying to get a sleeping pill into me since 7 pm, but only to find there is a final 'nightcap' IV delivered at 9 pm.  So in all, 10 IV bottles today.  There is not a written plan for the patient to follow, so it's a little 'catch as catch can' though they obviously know the schedule completely and do it perfectly. So 

I'm over-posting to try to prepare the upcoming HSCT gang what comprises a chemo day. Sorry to bore everyone else. 

Nightcap at 9 p.m. just one more bottle IV:

War and Peace - and today we fight in earnest!  

Chemo continues for 4 days, and, well, so far so good.  All in!  

PS.  I know you might wonder what one does after chemo in Moscow, all dressed up in diamond earrings and pjs, so I thought I'd add that I chose to burn off some of my steroid 'heat' by decorating Easter eggs just for the photos to send home to my grandkids. (saved them from the meals you've all heard about).   

Kids worry rather silently but deeply! I want them to know I'm doing well, and not to worry about me. I've got this!  

Future HSCT patients coming in: THIS should calm all nerves - for me, at least, the chemo is not horrific on day 1.  If by day 4 I have broken out the sealed windows and stomped all the lovely eggs into the ground, you'll know there was probably too much steroids in the mix.  

Happy Easter to you all!  

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