Chemotherapy, Round 2…or…The ABC’s of Chemo

Today began my second cycle of R-CVP treatments.  The session began with the usual….”What’s your name?”….”What’s your birthdate?”…”What is your understanding of why you’re here today?”…….

“Today I’m here for Rituxan and tomorrow I’ll get CVP”, I said.

“Great!  We’re on the same page.  Have you started “P” yet?”……”Wait, maybe I should rephrase that”, the nurse said with a smile.

Of course, I knew what she was after but we both giggled at the way the question had been phrased….”Actually, since I’m drinking 96 ounces of water each day, it seems like the “P” never stops!” I said……then followed with the correct answer…..”P is for Prednisone and I take that tomorrow”.  This put a vision of children’s books in my head so I quickly added:  “and B is for Bendaryl which makes me sleepy, C is for Cytoxan which makes my hair fall out, V is for Vincristine which will make me constipated if I’m not careful and Z is for Zofran which keeps the nausea away.”

After getting a gold star for being such a smarty pants……..I became a problem child.  The reason that I got my port installed is because repeated IV’s and blood draws are hard on the veins in your arms.  In December, when I had four weekly Rituxan treatments, the nurses were able to pump stuff in but they often had a hard time getting blood out of me…..sometimes needing three pokes before they got what they needed.  The port, with it’s catheter directly in a vein, allows for easy access to a vein….for pumping things in and pumping things out… theory.  Today, the saline went in just fine but the nurse couldn’t get blood out in order to do my labs.  “Hmmmm…..that’s not good”, she said, “Try raising your right arm…….try raising both arms…….try coughing…….I’ll lay you back and see if that helps”…….still no blood.  “Try turning your head to the right and take a deep breath…..Turn your head to the right, take a deep breath and raise your right arm…..oink like a pig”.  Still nothing.  It wasn’t until I got myself into this configuration that she actually got enough blood for my labs……


“Touchdown!”   🙂

My bloodwork looked great and as the nurse started my benadryl drip, Larry got up to leave.  “Do you want me to bring you anything when I get back?” he asked.

“A is for Americano”, I said “which makes me happy”.   Coffee

I was a problem child when I had my blood pressure checked today, too.  On Rituxan days, they take my blood pressure every 30 minutes to make sure that I’m not having an allergic reaction.  Today, the machine went……pump, pump, pump…..then let the air out…….and then started over again.  One time it tried eight times before it got a reading……my arm was going numb!  There wasn’t a single time that the machine got a reading on the first try.  My blood pressure was fine…..110/70….I don’t know what the problem was.  Later, when Larry returned, I asked the nurse to check his blood pressure since his is high.  I almost made a bet that the machine would have problems getting a reading through his bulky sweater……but it didn’t!  It only took one attempt.  I guess I was just being difficult today.

Here’s a picture of the nurses’ station in the chemo room, as seen from my chair….

Nurses Station

…..the door on the far right is the bathroom……which I visit frequently……

…….and here I sit in my chair, with my pump……

Sit and Smile

I fill that water bottle that you see three times per day……96 ounces of water……which is why I visit the bathroom above several times during each visit.  The Cytoxan that I get on chemo days is very hard on my bladder so my job is to try to flush it out of my system… to speak.

The pump for my meds is on the pole on the right and the pump is plugged into an outlet in the wall.  A trip to the bathroom involves unplugging my pump and then scampering over to the bathroom with my “pump on a pole”.  My nurse congratulated me today on how skilled I’d become at this maneuver………”like you’re dancing with your pole”.  Well, you know where my mind went…..but I restrained myself and rather than giving her a pole-dancing demonstration, I sat back down in my chair like a good girl and told her not to give me any ideas!  She laughed.  We had a good time together today. 


9 thoughts on “Chemotherapy, Round 2…or…The ABC’s of Chemo

  1. What an insightful look at getting a treatment. In typical american style in the lazyboy chairs, I truly miss that form of treatment. We in Europe have hospital beds even in the out patient section.

    Great humor, thanks.

  2. Love reading your sight!! You take a serious subject and sprinkle in thoughts that make it smile-worthy. Thinking of you and Cora sends you sun-warmed furry hugs.

  3. The photo of you with your arms in the air looks very familiar to me. I’ve had to go through that routine at various times with my port, which I’ve had inside me since January of 2006. I go in for monthly port flushes, and it seems the nurses are getting a “return” on it (meaning, they can draw a blood sample out of the port) only about a third of the time. No explanation forthcoming for why this is. So far, my doc wants to leave it in, even though I had my last R-CHOP chemo treatment in May of 2006.

    You’ve got a great blog, here. Visit mine, if you’d like – “A Pastor’s Cancer Diary”:

    I’m a fellow NHL survivor.

  4. Wow – you look like you are too relaxed there Carrie! Did the nurse know what she was asking when she asked you to oink like a pig? (I’ll never tell – what happen in Pullman, stays in Pullman!)

    You have a great attitude. I love reading your thoughts about the process and how it’s going. Give my regards to the Les Nesman fan club!

  5. I’m an American living in Australia who was diagnosed with NHL as well, mine is a primary bone lymphoma stage A1E located in my pelvis. I started chemo at about the same time as you, and I just wanted to let you know how much it means to me to read your blog. It almost feels like I have someone to go through some of this with. Especially since I’ve had some similar issues with my port not wanting to give blood, and I’ve just started to lose my hair. Thanks for all your sharing and positivity, it’s really refreshing and on days when I don’t feel my happy, healthy self, your blog is a real pick me up.

  6. Hi Carrie

    I admire your bravery and positive attitude. I found your beagle website tonight. I have a darling beagle girl whom I adopted in 1999 whose name is Bailee. She has been my best friend and joy of my life. She has been coughing and not getting well with antibiotics and so I took her to an internal medicine specialist this week only to receive the devastating news she has lung cancer. My mother was diagnosed with cancer the same day. She is 85.

    I am writing to you because I was looking desperately to find some help for them. I was reading a dog cancer forum and learned of a fascinating herbal tea that has actually destroyed cancer tumors in both people and animals. There were many testimonies. It is called essiac tea and was created from years of research. It contains 8 herbs which seem to kill cancer cells when combined. I asked both my mom’s doc and Bailee’s vet if I should try it and they said it wouldn’t interfere with anything they were doing for them and to go for it. It can’t hurt. The good news is that it isn’t expensive. I wanted to share it with you in hopes that it may be a help to you. I will include the website. God bless you in your fight for health. I will pray for you.

    PS: As a dog owner you might want to check out a product called K-9 Immunity. If you type that in Google, you will find the Aloha Medicinals. Great help for dogs and I think they have a human product too. That’s where I found the dog cancer forum.

  7. Pingback: Out Of Town « Carrie’s NHL Blog

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