Today is my wife's second (of four) chemotherapy appointments. She is sitting right now at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at the Cheshire Medical Center here in Keene, NH, with an IV of toxic drugs flowing in to her.
Many friends have contacted us/her wishing her all the best today... hoping it all goes well... relaying that they are thinking/hoping/praying all the best for her.
All of which is VERY much appreciated.
The truth, though, is that today is really not bad.
Today is really just incredibly... well... monotonous.
Boring. Tedious. Whatever word you want to pick.
This has been a fascinating revelation to me who knew nothing about chemotherapy before this all began.
Here is the snapshot of our day...
We arrived at the hospital at 9:30am. A little before 10am we were brought back into the chemo treatment area were she sat down in a comfortable recliner-type chair. A nurse drew some blood samples that were sent off to the lab and then proceeded to get some vital signs and other normal tests... and then we waited for the lab work to come back.
Once the lab results came back fine, they set up the IV with some anti-nausea medicine, some saline, etc, etc, and give that to my wife for a while. There was some other medication my wife had to take an hour before the actual chemotherapy chemicals began, so she had to take that and wait.
Sometime after noon, they administered the first of the two chemicals that make up my wife's "cocktail". It ran for over an hour dripping into her bloodstream through the IV line.
After that was all finished, they hooked up the second of the two chemicals... and that will run for 45 minutes. After that she may be done... I don't quite honestly remember if they did something else. She'll probably be ready to go home somewhere around 2:30 or 3pm.
But this is what "a day of chemotherapy" is like.
Sitting. Waiting. Sitting. Waiting. Sitting. Waiting.
They have individual TVs there, of course. And she and I talk now and then. The anti-nausea medication makes her kind of tired, and so many of the patients, her included, take a nap for a bit... or just don't feel overly talkative. Friends have stopped by for a visit, which is a nice distraction. You can get (or bring in) food and drinks. A volunteer came by offering Reiki massage. They have free WiFi so you can use the Internet with your computer (which is what usually I do... sitting there doing work while my wife rests).
But overall it's just a long tedious day of sitting and waiting.
If her experience this time is like the last time - and like what we understand from others in the process - this afternoon/evening she may be a bit tired from the drugs but overall okay. Tomorrow she will probably be fine. Wednesday morning she may be fine.
And then sometime on Wednesday the hell will start.
The chemicals will be doing their deed of killing cells and the body will be reacting. And then will come the pain, the sickness, the fatigue...
... which will pretty much continue straight through the weekend and on into next week...
We're hopeful with some new medication that this time around it won't be quite so severe, but time will tell.
Today, though, is all about the monotony of the injection of the drugs.
Image credit: drhenkenstein on Flickr