February 19, 2013

Through the veins

Yesterday I talked to my oncologist on the phone. We talked about me staying at the hospital for six days and what other options we have to prevent such thing. He decided we're going to try a Neulasta injection with my next chemo treatment.

This injection will be given the day after chemo and stimulates the bone marrow and promotes the growth of white blood cells. These white blood cells help your body fight against infection. Most common side effects: bone pain. 

So yeah that doesn't exactly sounds like a treat. I already read way too many stories about it on the internet. I'm just so scared. All the poison going through my body. What's going to happen this time? Will my body cope? Will I be in a lot of pain? There's no way to predict. You just have to accept it, deal with it, hope for the best and let it run through your veins...

The Poison Running Through My Veins

February 15, 2013

Hospital horror

Two weeks ago I had my first Taxol/Herceptin treatment. It already seems so long ago because a lot has happened. But this is the story. Uncensored.

I was incredibly nervous. By nervous I mean having to puke in the hospital's parking garage. By nervous I mean having to puke in the car six hours later. It was the first time I had to stay that long and I hated every single bit of it. The smell of chemo department is just... obnoxious. It's just so disgusting, even now.. when I think about it I feel sick to my stomach.

The first few days I was very tired. I slept a lot. Then I started to have the famous flu-like side effects. By the time it was Wednesday I had a very sore throat, nose bleeds and muscle pain. On Friday it got so bad I could barely swallow and I also had a fever. We called my doctor who dropped by that afternoon and told me to go to the ER for some blood tests.

I was under the assumption I would leave there with some antibiotics but was told right away I would be admitted to the hospital because of my fever. They also did a picture of my lungs. When the blood tests came back it was obvious my white blood cells were way too low and I had a throat infection. I was given antibiotics through an IV right away.

When starting chemo you know it isn't going to be easy. You know you're going to get sick. But at least you're home. In your own bed. I'm not much of a hospital person. I already knew this. But it was very hard for me to accept that I had to stay there. So I cried my eyes out. I felt so out of control.

The first two days I had the room all to myself - thank god. On Monday I got a roomie who barely spoke any Dutch. I'm all for privacy in hospitals. And big screen TV's. I really had a hard time trying to keep calm but as days passed I more and more started to adapt to the situation. Being admitted to the hospital once was my worst nightmare when this whole breast cancer story started. So all and all considering I didn't do so bad.

The not knowing part drives me crazy though. Not knowing when you get to go home. Not knowing when you're having lunch, when it's pill taking time, when the doctor will see you... you have to depend on so many other people it's frustrating! A couple of the nurses were really sweet for me though. One even brought me ice cream for my throat.    

At first they told me I would probably get antibiotics for like two days through an IV and then I would change to pills. However, eventually they kept me on the IV for 6 days. At some point my veins got all blue and hard and they had to give me another one. I had to do a blood test every other day. I still feel and look like a pincushion!

After a few days I my throat started to feel better and my fever went down as well. I got to enjoy the lovely hospital food. Insert sarcasm here. 

After six days, on my mother's birthday (Valentines day) I finally got to go home. I still have to take antibiotics for three more days. But I'm home. At last. Reunited with my furry bunnies.

The fact I have three more of these treatments scheduled make me feel very nervous. My oncologist will give me a call Monday or Tuesday and I definitely have a some questions for him and will tell him about my worries. For now I'm hoping to rest and gain back some of my strength because believe it or not, treatment is scheduled next Friday. Time flies... when you're busy being sick.