Story – Part 4

May 9, 2007

The oncology office made a call down to surgery to see when they could get me in to have a port inserted into my chest. The port would allow them to push the chemo treatments right into my heart. They weren’t able to get me in that Friday but did get me scheduled for surgery first thing Monday morning, so chemo would have to wait a few days.

The weekend was a blur. Saturday my parents drove back home so my step-dad could get to work on Monday. My Mom and sister returned Sunday to be with me for the first week of chemo.

 
Monday morning we arrived and started the pre-op process again. This time they would only use a local anesthetic so I’d be awake the entire time.

They started out by cutting a small incision and inserting a camera into my chest so they could see where to attach the port inside. There was a sheet hanging down just below my neck, to prevent me from viewing the carving taking place on my chest. After they got the camera in, they turned a monitor that was hanging from the ceiling so that I could see. I was looking inside my chest.

They made another incision and inserted the port access just beneath the skin. I watched them connect the tubes inside me from the port access to my heart. Then they pulled the camera out and sewed me up.

As soon as they were done I was whisked away for the start of the first round of chemo.

 
Normally, if anything with cancer can be normal, the course of treatment would consist of three rounds using three drugs. Each round would last 3 weeks and then a week of rest before starting the next round.

The oncologist scheduled me for 6 rounds – double the normal. On top of that, he decided to give me double the dosage. One of the nurses commented to my parents that they had never pushed that much through someone’s heart before.

 
Each day that week I came in for 6 to 8 hours of chemo. The only adverse effect I had was a little nausea which they gave me medication for – that seemed to help. My mom and sister left that weekend to go home so the following week I would go to chemo alone.

The next week was more of the same. Each day I went in and sat while they pumped the drugs into me. I was 21 at the time so they didn’t put me in with other kids who had cancer. Instead, they put me in the same area where everyone in their 50’s and up went. There was a room lined with chairs and machines to monitor dosages. At one end was a TV in the corner that everyone sat and watched as their got their treatments.

The nurses were awesome – they set me up in my own room. Some days I would sleep, some days I would read and some days I would stare into space and think or just daze.

 
Tuesday of the second week my neck began to twitch and it became very difficult to breathe. So the friend I was staying with rushed me to the emergency room…

< Part 3 | Part 5 >

 

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