Tuesday morning 6:00 AM and we're off for Chapel Hill for the first part of TL's Big Adventure, getting a portacath installed. Mine is no ordinary port, it's a PowerPort, which means they can do all sorts of groovy things like draw blood, give me drugs and inject dyes for scans. The procedure was easy enough, since I was sedated, but after the drugs wore off, well, OWIE. But I survived and it's getting less tender every day. And since I have tiny rolling veins, this will be a godsend as I get deeper into my treatment regimen.
We spent the night with my friend Paige, who lives fairly close to the hospital and who basically said mi casa es su casa. And a fine hostess she was, not only cooking us ham and eggs and biscuits for breakfast (and believe me, it's a treat when someone else makes me breakfast), but even providing us with a beautiful snowy morning! Mama was not as happy about the snow as she was the biscuits, but we were able to leave late enough in the morning to miss most of the fender-benders that littered the bridges.
The whole day was pretty painless. I saw Dr. Big Dog for a minute and his PA for a bit longer. I got to visit a bit with my favorite nurse and get my next two treatments set up (plus a mammogram, since it's time and I'm going to be there anyway). I got blood drawn from my handy-dandy port and got to visit with that nurse for a bit, then it was time to go upstairs to the infusion room, where Jerome tucked me under a blanket and gave me a handful of anti-nausea pills and hooked me up to a hydration IV. After about a half-hour, he came in and started the bag of oxaliplatin and explained the more common side effects. He's a good nurse--he has a great sense of humor (ie, he laughed at my jokes) and he knew his stuff.
I had packed my little chemo bag of things I thought I would need or want close by. Of course it weighed half-a-ton and the bag wasn't quite big enough, but one of the benefits of being a patient is that sometimes you get schwag, and mine came in a great big blue bag that will most likely be what I tote from now on. Also included were a neck pillow, a great water bottle, a thermometer, a nice pen and a treatment planner, which really appeals to the organizer geek in me.
Of course, I also got tons and tons of written information, both in the schwag bag and in a Great Big Book of Everything, colon cancer edition. I keep peeking at various pages when various weird stuff happens, since naturally everything weird that happens from now on will be blamed on chemo. And it's not just me doing it, either. I've had the hiccups half-a-dozen times today; Liam says that hiccups are caused by chemotherapy. He could be right, you know?
After a couple of hours, I got Part Two of my treatment, 5FU, which is administered through an infusion pump that came home with me. It takes 46 hours, and then tomorrow at 1:00 a home-health nurse will come and disconnect it and take it away. After that I can take the advice that Jerome shared with me from one of his patients, who told him, "when I'm here, I have cancer. The rest of the time, I just live my life."
Just living my life. Sounds like a fine way to go through treatment, doesn't it?