First chemo injection day. This morning, I went to the hospital to have a port put in my left chest via out-patient surgery. From there, I was taken upstairs and given a room on the oncology floor. The decision was made that I would undergo a cocktail of drugs that is injected just once a month (over two days). My oncologist advised that I’m only the third person she has to be given this particular chemo in this particular fashion.
Apparently, the drugs are so strong that they slowly work through your system for a full month. Since they are so strong, your first chemo day is done in the hospital and injected very slowly (over an 8 hours period) because they don’t know how your particular body is going to react to it. About 2 hours into the injection I learned full well the reason for the precautions. My core temperature dropped (basically the same as getting a serious case of the chills) to the extent that my extremities involuntarily shook violently for about 4-8 seconds, stopped and resumed about every 15 seconds for the next half hour.
While this was going on, the back of my head began to burn like it was on fire and this was particularly noticeable behind my ears. It was all I could do to resist using my fingernails to gouge out the back of my ears. Eventually, the nurse found her way back into my room and with a slight look of shock in her eyes her face registered “all righty then”. She immediately stopped the drip and gave me some IV anti-allergy medicine. This worked quickly and the burning in my head stopped pretty quickly. I later learned that what I experienced was the most common allergic reaction to this chemo and once you’ve experienced it, it does not generally reoccur in subsequent treatments (Praise the Lord).
The rest of the treatment went miserably uncomfortable with frequent chills (no involuntary shaking though). For a bed that will move in practically any position you want it to, it had to be the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever laid in. Finally, at 10:00 p.m., they said I could go home. I had very little energy left but would have flown out the door if I could have.