Monday, October 19, 2009

First Chemo

Today was the first chemo treatment. My sister and I picked up Mom this morning and drove her to the cancer center. We fought the rush hour traffic nearly the entire fifty-three miles to the center. Mom is already a nervous wreck and the traffic didn't help matters. We did however, arrive safe and sound and even a little early for the first appointment.

Over the weekend Mom had developed some swelling in her elbow that concerned us. We mentioned the elbow to the nurse and she spoke with the doctor. They decided she needed to have a doppler done to investigate what might be causing the swelling.

We were then sent down stairs to the Heart First office. There we waited about a half hour. The doppler took only a half hour. The problem is Mom has a blood clot in the arm. The blood clot appears to be in a superficial vein. We went back up stairs to the oncologist. We waited a few minutes and then she was examined by the doctor. He explained she had the blood clot from the port surgery and that she would be fine to start the chemo. he recommended an aspirin a day and use of heating pad several times a day to remove the swelling.

We were then taken to the chemo room. Mom was extremely nervous by now. We sat with her while she waited. We tried everything to get her to calm down. She just sat there looking around the room at all the other chemo patients. There must have been fifteen people in there getting their chemo treatments. There were people that appeared to be in their forties and people that looked like they could be someones great grandmother. There were little small petite women and big strong men.

The stick in the port was the worst of it for mom. She made some noise but it lasted only a second. Have I mentioned Mom is terrified of needles!

Mom is receiving four different kinds of chemo medications. The chemo treatments take approximately three and half to four hours.

We were given a list of the chemo, materials on side effects and how to handle them, reviewed blood work and how to read it and what to watch for, explanation for the injections. We made notes and read the materials and asked questions. I consider myself a knowledgeable person and I believe I am half way intelligent, contrary to my sister's belief that I am the stupidest person that walked the earth, but I was so overwhelmed with the amount of information that we were given. It will take all three of us to make sense of all the paperwork.

Mom said she felt better that both my sister and I were with her for her first treatment and that she would not be so stressed for the rest of them.

Meanwhile, We are still fighting with the prescription insurance to get the anti-nausea medication approved.

By the end of the day the prescription insurance company had come around and approved the medication but the pharmacy was out of stock and we would have to return tomorrow after ten.

Mom will have to return to the cancer center tomorrow for an injection for the red blood count.

Everyone was very friendly and helpful. We waited for about a half hour to get started on the chemo.