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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Chemo Day from Hell

I arrived for chemo at 10:00 in the morning, to discover that I wasn't registered.

This is my fifth time getting chemo and I never registered before....

No explanation for that one!

So I sat around for an hour, waiting for them to get a prescription, get the drugs, etc.

Had everything else gone smoothly, this wouldn't have been so bad...

At around 11:00, they opened my port and hooked me up.

Before receiving the Herceptin, they gave me hydrocortisone in a drip, to prevent the allergic reactions I've been getting.

It didn't help.

They gave me the Herceptin and..... I itched.

So they gave me another dose of hydrocortisone and some other drug, an antihistamine that made me sleepy, and continued to up the pace of the drip.

When the drip was up to 80 drips per hour, the nurse came in to see how I was doing.

I told her:

1. the itchiness was tolerable (I didn't want to be knocked out by more antihistamine)
2. I was super hot (she said that was also from the Herceptin)
3. I felt a bit of pressure in my chest

Well, number 3 did it. Off went the drip!

After the pressure went away, they started the drip again on 20!

After a while, they upped the drip to 30 (I had some slight pressure, but I could breathe without difficulty, so they continued), and then to 40.

At 40, the pressure was still tolerable (though borderline). The oncologist and the nurses didn't want to risk raising the pace any more.

But 40 drips per hour is REALLY SLOW!!!

I was clearly not going to be finished by 4:00, when everyone else at the oncology day ward is done for the day.

So they plopped me down on a comfy chair, in the middle of the hallway, in the oncology ward...

Everyone was nice about it. They knew it wasn't the most "pleasant" location for coffee and chemo..... But there was really no choice.....

So there I was.... until 9:15 at night!!

The Herceptin dripped slowly but steadily until 8:30. Then I needed the Navalbine (vinorelbine), which was only a few minutes more (less than 15 minutes, start to finish), and then the fluids which they give at the end (less than 20 mintes).

Did I mention that I didn't leave the hospital until 9:15 at night!!

I am exhausted!!

I hope to write about the good stuff tomorrow. (clearly there was a lot of time/opportunity for good stuff; I just really need to go rest now)


Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...

wow, how frustrating!

Unknown said...

i read you! would u believe that i -effie will read in english for free?
lllove you!

mother in israel said...

What a trial! And you managed to keep your sense of humor and optimism throughout.

Unknown said...


Now that you have decided to improve your relationship with your husband and mother, you are qualified to take the CSD training:-))

How does after the holidays, on your good days sound?

I promise that I will cover buttons, gasoline words, knee jerk reactions, perceptions and interpretations.

We will also cover the "Bull's Eye" and Plus/Delta. No we will not be doing target practise. Maybe that might be good for you when a nurse misses for the 5th time your veins:-))) during blood tests.

As you are now aiming for 120, you have 70+ years to go. That should definitely make doing the training worth while.

I hope they offer you decent coffee at least in the hallway.

Love, Devorah

Rahel Jaskow said...

Wow. What a drag for you -- and what strength you have!

I hope that won't happen again, but if it does, do you know anyone with a laptop and some good DVDs?

Anonymous said...

Hi RivkA - what a frustrating day!! Waiting to hear about the good stuff so we can focus on the good :-) Jameela

RivkA with a capital A said...


I would love to finish the CSD training. We'll have to talk.

I must admit that I didn't understand most of the references in your comment, but I'm looking forward to deciphering your codes.


Eliyahu S. said...

Is there a sign up list for friends to come "hang out" with you during these things?