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  • Writer's pictureJody Glynn Patrick

Chemotherapy with a Twist

First, happy birthday to two of our guys – grandson Nathanial Patrick and our son-in-law Rich Kelly! They shared today’s date, a lucky one for our family.

Last night, in prep for chemo, I was to take 5 steroid pills at 11:30 pm and then 5 more at 5:30 a.m., so my sleep was, well about three hours because it's hard to doze off after taking what feels like speed at that dosage. LOL, but not really funny.

Chemo was different, with accommodations made to better protect me from an extended hospital stay. Knowing it would be different, I went armed with one of my two lucky hats (my daughters bought them in black and brown, and while I love the hats, I never would have paid as much as they did for them! So for sure, I'm wearing them!). Kev picked out his favorite wig, as I'm bald as a ... something bald. Then I also wore my bracelet with morse code that my friend Dottie gave me; it says (in code) "Fuck Cancer." In other words, I went in warrior mode.

This time I was seated out of my first class private cabin and in passenger, with other folks within sight -- which I sort of prefer, actually. It is true that misery loves company even while you feel the greatest empathy for each other person. Yin and Yang.

First I received a group of three drugs to lower the possibility of nausea and allergic response. Then a two-hour bag of fluids through my port to help balance out my electrolytes alongside Keytruda -- the immunotherapy IV; followed by Carboplatin, a chemo agent to kill cancer.

Next, they attached Neulasta in a device on my right upper arm and secured it. A timer started and it eventually shot a small catheter into my arm (didn’t feel small, but the timer ticking down added to a detonation experience). Tomorrow afternoon it will deliver the medicine for over an hour and then a noise should alert me that I can safely remove it. This is to build up my white blood cells and causes a lot of bone/joint pain. I've been duly warned by my doctor as well as the chemo nurses, so my aversion to pain medication may have to take a backseat. We'll see. Meanwhile, for the two days after chemo I'm to take 10 MORE steroid pills per day in addition to a Zyrtec for seven days to help alleviate the pain (why that works as a pain pill, I have no idea).

The dietician stopped by during chemo and said I have three restricted diets and she helped me formulate what I COULD eat safely. Apparently multiple things are still counterbalancing my system causing some upside-down lab results. They hope that balancing food with lab numbers and mixing hi/low fiber diets, etc., etc. will help get me out of this forest of infections and control measures. One lab result reports too much protein now, though I was told a week ago to go high protein have it at each of the 6 small meals I have to eat (with no appetite) and so I did. She knew all my lab numbers by memory, helped give us a meal plan to use til the next lab results are in when anything could change, and answered a lot of questions to help.

After chemo, I felt okay, as I usually do for a couple days, because of the support drugs for side effects. I just wish they lasted long enough for whatever is waiting at the middle and end of the week.

The wins today: I actually walked into the hospital without a walker, and managed my way to the 9th floor and down hallways, and out again. I haven't used a walker for two days and I'm definitely getting stronger physically. Not back to normal yet; lots of fatigue in the evening, but that's because of the low-carb/low-energy diet. I had enough energy to actually care what I looked like (I haven't worn a wig for 20 days or put on any makeup at all) so I felt "presentable" for a change. Plus, we're balancing that out tonight with an all roasted veggie dinner that actually sounds good to me! And I had enough energy to come home and write this. I am a warrior today, not an invalid!

Thanks for your emails and texts of support, family and friends. You are my armour. Love to you all.

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