October 6: Cycle 1, week 1, day 1Day 1 of chemo...there was little joy in our house that morning. We were late, for starters. We were supposed to be there by 8, I wanted to be there by 730, we got there at 830. Oh well...it is what it is.
The 6th floor of the Augusta VA houses the infusion room. This floor also houses the hospice wing...in case you ever need to know!
The room is bare-bones and is meant for patients only. In fact, it's arranged in such a way that there is no space at all for loved ones, not even one. Walking into the room was a shocker for me. I'm guessing it was a shocker for Dave also, though he had walked in the room to check in at his last followup appointment; I sort of wish I had walked in also so that I wouldn't be so anxious on this day.
We funnel through the room until we get to an empty chair in the corner. Not a nice, big, comfy chair you see in pictures when you google 'chemotherapy', but a standard, fake-leather chair that resembles a blood-donor chair (if you've never donated blood, google it...you'll see the chair....also...GO DONATE BLOOD! One blood donation can save up to 3 lives, and you might be lucky enough to donate blood for babies!). His chair is in front of a window with a decent view, but the back of his chair is to the window, so that's a wash.
In his section of the room, there are two older gentlemen across and next to him, and one younger guy diagonal from him. Well...at least he's not stuck in a room with all old farts, maybe that'll help!
Here is the schedule for the day: start IV, draw labs, hang 1000mL saline to be administered over 2 hours, hang 1st chemo drug, hang 2nd chemo drug (after the first day, these two can be mixed in one bag), hang another 1000mL saline to be administered over 2 hours, be processed out, leave.
Fun fact: Cysplatin can cause kidney toxicity. Hydration is a MUST! (yes! no more soda!)
The IV didn't go well...his vein rolled and the nurse had to fish around for it (ouch!) Even writing this, one week later, there's still a nasty bruise at that site! (which reminds me...at some point, I hope to be caught up and can write as to what's happening NOW, as opposed to what happened already) Once the IV is started, tubes are drawn to check all his levels to see if he's healthy enough to receive the chemo (they won't hang the medicine until his labs come back, and if they're no good, they'll postpone a week). Labs are drawn the first day of every cycle.
Once the labs are drawn and the saline is hung, I can't stay any longer (unless I want to stand in front of him for the next 8 hours...no thank you!) so I duck out to get us some breakfast. He's supposed to eat before he comes, but like I said, we were running late, so breakfast had to wait.
After getting breakfast I retreated to the waiting room right across the hall. This is where I would spend my day (oh yay). After today, I won't spend all day here...there's no need for me to take a whole day off work if I can't even be in the room with him to support him, ya know?
I went back in when they started his first bag of chemo. Prior to that, he had received an anti-nausea medicine and a steroid (to also help with nausea).
Throughout the day I heard some very strange things....a "code gray" across the intercom, and laughter....lots and lots of laughter. As it turns out, the younger guy in Dave's area was around his age and was also being treated for testicular cancer, though this was not his first cycle, as evidenced by the loss of hair. Apparently, he and Dave were getting along very well and were keeping the room well entertained... which is GREAT!
We left the VA around 430. Dave was feeling great. He drove home, he went to visit the people at his job, and he wasn't sick. He felt a little nauseous later in the evening (took a phenegran), but ate dinner just fine and didn't get sick.
It was a good day! Dave had been hoping to go through this and come out the other side like a super-human....things were looking up!
Cue decision to drive himself to treatment in the morning.