Everything was moving right along. The first two chemo treatments were behind me, the turbans and wigs were here and as a family, we were adjusting to our new normal. We were literally looking ahead which was easy to do because Paige and Case became engaged on February 8, 2009.
So we had plenty of planning to do to keep our mind off of chemo, ports and other cancer related subjects.
Complications With PORT
However, I noticed that my port incision was not healing and I scheduled an appointment with Dr.Wonderful (Hematologist-Oncologist) so she could look at it. I didn’t want anything to stand in the way of my treatments staying on schedule. I went to see her on February 10, 2009, and she was very concerned because the incision was still open and had suspicious drainage. She wanted me to go back to the surgeon who put the port in and I was not going back to that doctor. So I called to get a second opinion from a well renowned Breast Surgeon. She was willing to work me into her schedule the next day. (2-11-09) Yes, she was also a female doctor. This was a good visit with the doctor who would eventually perform my surgery. She felt that the port drainage was normal healing and did not seem concerned. She went on to discuss my diagnosis and surgical options. We would revisit all surgical options after the BRCA testing results were back and after chemo.
The next day was my regularly scheduled appointment with Dr. Wonderful (Hematologist-Oncologist) and for my chemo treatment. I went through the usual routine:
- worked most of the day
- left in time to shower and listen to my praise and worship music
- Doug’s mom had come to live with us so she drove me to the doctor
- met with the doctor and that’s where it changes….
When Dr. Wonderful was looking closely at my port and the ‘natural healing’ fluid, she said, “I don’t like it and I won’t use it.” I thought to myself, “OH NO! What does that mean?” I remember saying out loud..so I can’t get my chemo? She went on to say that I would need a PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) until we could figure out what was going on with the port. She suggested that I could try to take my AC/Red Devil Chemo in the vein and that’s exactly what I did. She wrote orders to stop using the port and for the Chemo Lab to try to use my vein. Therefore, the infusion was a little slower but I tolerated it just fine. Thank God because I didn’t want to skip a treatment. We were moving right along and I wasn’t going to let this delay the treatment schedule.
Chemo Side Effects
This chemo hit me about 6:30 PM. Each one was affecting me earlier and earlier. I remembered what my first nurse told me…Don’t be hero, just go to bed. I had the same side effects after each chemo except now I had no hair and my eyelashes were beginning to fall out. Just didn’t think about losing the eye lashes. That was very hard. I just laid in bed trying not to move because I did not want to get sick. Doug’s mom brought me the anti-nausea medicine and my favorite light purple Gatorade.
On February 17, 2009, a PICC was inserted into my right arm. This procedure was completed by a radiologists at the clinic, no hospitalization or anesthesia. Oh my…surprise. A PICC is a direct line (catheter) to the heart. It is very similar to a port except the PICC is outside the body and requires very strict cleaning procedures because of placement.
Excitement In The Air
At home, excitement was in the air. My eldest daughter Paige, my nurse and my little girl was engaged and she was glowing. It was going to be a very busy time but it would all be accomplished in God’s perfect timing.