Tuesday, May 20, 2008

tales from chemo land...

on tuesday 5/20, trish jumped back up on that chemo bandwagon.

it was long day...

trish, cerena and i arrived at stanford around 9am for her blood work, then headed to dr. carlson's office.
dr. carlson, dr. telli and nurse jan explained to trish what the coming weeks will bring in terms of side effects of the Herceptin / Taxol combo.
trish may feel achy for a few days, but she shouldn't experience any nausea from here on out..
we will meet with the doctors again next week, but the future schedule will be once every four weeks.

one less stop = shorter day (hopefully)

dr. carlson examined trish and seemed pleased with the progression of the treatment.

he could not feel trish's lump :)

this was really good news.

it makes you feel better knowing all the crap trish has been put through is working. this by no means affects how we will continue to battle this, but its sure a helluva lot better than hearing the doc say "the dang thing seems to have doubled".

a little positive news every once in while is kinda nice.

after our visit with dr. carlson, it was about 11am and we headed over to the ambulatory surgery department for trish's appointment to get her mediport installed.

a mediport is a little doohicky that is implanted beneath the skin, near the collarbone with a tube connecting to one of trish's veins.
basically, trish will no longer have needles inserted directly into her veins. needles will now go into the mediport, which is already connected to a vein.
its one of those rare times where a middleman is actually a good thing.. think of it as a dartboard under the skin, the nurse just needs to hit the dartboard, not even a bullseye.

the mediport is completely under her skin, and the only thing visible will be any residual scarring from the stitches.
trish's surgeon assured her that he was pretty anal about the quality of his stitches, so scarring should be limited.

since trish wasn't getting much luck from the nurses when it came time to find her veins, this will help out a lot.
her skin will still need to be punctured at the mediport location, but no more hunting for veins.
trish was given a numbing cream that she will put on her skin above the port prior to arriving for chemo, and this will help with any pain of getting pricked in the same spot week after week.

another nice thing about the port is that we no longer need to go to the blood lab prior to each chemo visit. trish can just head up to the chemo clinic, and they tap her, draw blood themselves, then give her the IV's

one less stop = shorter day (hopefully)

here are pictures of what a port looks like, and the special needles used to access it...

trish was awake during surgery, which lasted about 90 minutes, but was pretty loopy from the sedatives they gave her.

we left the ambulatory surgery center at 4:30pm...
we got there at 11am...

surgery was 90 minutes...

im still trying to figure out that math..

so we arrived back at the cancer center 5 1/2 hours after we left it, and a little late for trish's chemo appointment.
because we were so late, they decided to only administer the herceptin, and have us come back wednesday for the taxol.

with the new herceptin/taxol regimen, trish will also get 3 other IV's of drugs prior to her chemo. they are various antihistamines and steroids to help with any allergic reactions and side effects. these take about 45 minutes.

about 6pm trish started on the herceptin. this is a clear IV drip, and technically it isn't a chemo drug, its an antibody. the IV will typically take 45 minutes, but today it took 90 minutes as this was trish's first rodeo with herceptin, the nurses wanted to slow it down and make sure trish didnt have any unexpected reactions.


a couple hours later.. around 8pm, we were heading out the door of the cancer center.

the end of an 11 hour day...

but... and there is always a but...

oh... the valet parking was closed, so we had to call security to track down our keys...

hey... whats another 15 minutes on a already long day..


Monica said...

Oh my goodness, what a crazy long day that was for both of you! So glad it's behind you. Thanks for the updates Oak. Trishy, you're a rock-star! I continue to be amazed and inspired by your courage. Love you!! See you tomorrow. xoxo Monica

Anonymous said...

hi there. What a day, I'm sure you won't miss the anticipation each time wondering if the stick nurse will hit the vein - great dartboard analogy Oak. And great, encouraging news that the lump is shrinking.

Trish, we haven't met, but I feel like I know you through Oak - hearing about you and Caden, your families and friends, the vacations and the house projects.. So it's no surprise that you are dealing with this head on, and with a strong army in support. I've been following your progress here silently, who knows what to say, right? but I'll join the others who've said you are in my thoughts each day and your courage and spirit are truly inspiring and humbling.

Anne (Davidson)

Anonymous said...

Glad you got the port put in as this will make things so much easier....
Sorry for the long, crazy days of chemo. I'd love to come w/ you one of these days.
So thrilled that things are progressing well and there's "shrinkage!" Couldn't be better news....
You're such positive people, so strong. Thinking of you always, everyday.
Lots of love and prayers,