On the first day of treatment, my true love said to me…

How can you find anything on your iPhone?
Haven’t you ever heard of folders, lady?

We were trying to test out the noise cancelling headphones we bought last night. Since I was nervous about chemo and nausea, I planned to take an anti-anxiety pill right before, then immerse myself in a game so I wouldn’t pay much attention to what was going on around me.

The day started with radiation, though. It was my first treatment, so here’s to great beginnings! My MuGard (so generously sent my the manufacturer) was waiting for me, so taking it was the first step. The nursing crew is curious to see how well it helps with the oral mucositis, since that’s a major side effect of my treatment plan.

treatments

Today’s radiation took a little longer because they had to take scans to confirm the planning and mask were still accurate. That’s one reason they want me to maintain my weight as much as possible–so everything still lines up correctly. After the scans, the radiation machine went to work.  This news video summarizes how the system works, and how new it really is.

IMRT News Video

My treatment is pretty intricate–it involves 7 positions with 2 different radiation shapes each. The goal is to miss my salivary glands as much as possible or where not possible, to minimize the radiation they receive so they can bounce back and resume function over the months after treatment.

I’d been told the radiation wouldn’t be noticeable for the first couple weeks, but my face and neck felt distinctly warm. On my way to the chemo appointment, I followed up with the neck and skin cream and drank an aloe vera drink. I guess the warmth was not in my head because the nurse at chemo commented on how warm I felt. I said, “Well, I’ve just been radiated so I’m not surprised!”

Chemo started at 11:30 and ended at around 3:30. I had a bag of fluids, to make sure I was hydrated, a bag of anti-nausea medications, the Cisplatin, then another bag of fluids. I put on my noise canceling headphones and played The Legend of Grimrock to distract myself from fears of nausea. It worked! I went through the whole treatment feeling just fine. I even got a sandwich on the way home to eat for a late lunch.

Now, several hours later, I just started to feel kind of woozy, that weird feeling in your head when things look just a little off, your face starts feeling flushed, and things smell a little funny. No hesitation from me: take the Zofran! It’s labeled “as needed” but it’s a nausea blocker, so I think “as needed” means the first moment you feel like you are getting nauseas. I read reports from patients who took it every 12 hours for the first couple days after chemo, and it kept the nausea at bay. So I’m optimistic it will do the same for me!

Beyond that, I’m drinking and drinking and drinking and drinking. The more water I drink, the more I flush both the chemo toxins and the dead cancer cell toxins out of my system. That is supposed to help with nausea too so, bottoms up!

As of tonight, I’m now 3% done with my radiation treatments and 14% done with chemo! I’m already saying goodbye to cancer. Every time I pee, I envision dead little cancer cells getting flushed away… goodbye, cancer!

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