Tuesday, December 23, 2008

First Treatment

When we went in for our first treatment, and they told us it would take all day we didn't realize they really meant all day.  We came in at 8:00 and didn't leave until 5:30.  All the first day, Monday treatments will be like this, except we won't have the teaching session before they start and also we'll come in a bit earlier.  The transfusion area is actually quite nice, there is a recliner like chair for my mom sit in, and it is designed in a circle with all the patient areas on the outside of the circle and the nurses desk in the center of the circle facing the patients.  Where we were there is a very beautiful mosaic on the pillar in the center.  They have little refrigerators stocked with beverages (which is good because mom needs to drink a lot during her treatments) and crackers to snack on.  Since we are going to spend all day there, they suggest packing and bringing lunch which Marty brought us on our first trip.  So first we had our teaching session with the nurse who was very nice and went over all the side effects, which was pretty depressing.  We decided that Mom would get a port put in before her next treatment (so they are able to give her the IV medication easier) but for the first cycle they will just stick her each day.  Next they started the blood work that they have to do before each cycle starts.  They are basically making sure her white blood cells, hemoglobin, platelets and neutrophils are high enough.  They also did some tests on her liver enzymes that we can hopefully watch decrease as she continues on her treatments.  Then they started her infusions.  First,  she gets IV anti-nausea drugs emend, aloxi and dex then she gets a 1000ml fluid bag of potassium and chloride.  Next she gets a bag of Lasix and Mannitol to help clear the chemo out of kidneys because it can be very poisonous. So it wasn't until the afternoon when she got her first bag of actual chemo.  She has two bags of cisplatin which take 30 minutes each and then she has another smaller bag of fluids.  Finally she has a 90 minute bag of VP-16 (etopside).  The treatment was fairly painless, except a little discomfort with the second back of fluids.  It is comforting that before they hook up the chemo bags two nurses have to check her name and birthday with the bag and her wrist band to make sure there are no errors.  Mom basically slept throughout the whole treatment which is good, I don't think she often  has the opportunity to sit for 8 hours straight so it was a mini vacation with an IV.  On Day 2 and 3, Tuesday and Wednesday, she will only have the 90 minute VP-16 transfusion and will take the anti-nausea drugs orally before the treatment.  On Thursday, Christmas Day, she has to come in and get a shot to stimulate white blood cells and her immune system.  The shot should make her bones a little sore, but is very important to have her blood numbers back up in time for the next treatment.  Overall everything went well for the situation.