Texas girl in the middle of Kiwiana

Amy Boatman

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First Treatment Done and Dusted

First chemo treatment

Finally the first treatment is done! It's such a relief to have started this process. One of the nurses at the clinic mentioned the long road I had just stepped onto and that's how it feels. I'm starting out on my long journey of recovery.

The clinic is one of the best in NZ supposedly. Everyone I've come in contact with there has been wonderful. Because NZ is in the middle of our strictest lockdown, level 4, Shannon wasn't able to come with me into the clinic so I left her in the parking lot with the free wifi and her laptop. My first meeting was with Dr Okonji. He's got such a great manner. Next step was into the actual clinic area where they administer the chemo.

I was supposed to have a portacath put in that would have made giving me the chemo drugs much easier but the lockdown postponed that so they had to go for a vein. Apparently I have pretty crappy veins but the nurse was able to get one in my hand first try.

The first drugs they gave me were ondansetron and dexamethosone IV. Next up was the adriamycin/doxorubicin which they call the red devil. It's got a bright red colouring, hence the red, and it is the one that causes the worst side effects, hence the devil. This med can damage tissue if it gets outside the vein so the nurse had to stand there the whole time and make sure it went in okay. After that came the second chemo drug, cyclophosphamide. This one isn't as dangerous so she was able to set that one in the pump and walk away.

At this point there wasn't much to do but sit there and read my book. I chatted with Shannon and my mom over Messenger. I surfed the web on my phone. Ya know, all the things you do when you just have to sit somewhere for a while.

There were a few other women also getting treatment at the same time. I wonder if these will be women I'll get to know? I'm confident I'll get to know the nurses. I'll be seeing them every three weeks for the next 12 weeks and then possibly the 12 weeks after that. Mom suggested I bake them something. I probably will. I enjoy baking.

The whole thing too about three and a half hours this time. They said it took longer this time because they were explaining everything to me. I felt bad for Shannon having to sit in the car for all that time but she went down to the grocery store for a bit. That and the pharmacies are the only things open right now.

Back at home I felt fairly uncomfortable. I was really tired and my head was pounding. They said the meds sometimes cause a headache. I was supposed to work in the afternoon but that wasn't happening. I spent the rest of the day on my couch dozing off. I was not looking forward to how I would feel the next day.

That turned out to be a non existent worry though. I felt fine the next day. I had a bit of a lingering headache and my asthma flared up a bit but other than that I felt great. Even now, two days after, I feel fine. I expected to be completely wiped out for the whole first week but that has not been the case. I have to admit it makes me wonder if the meds are working. I know that's silly but still...

I worked on Friday but had off today and Sunday. I spent the day today cooking. I've found that I really enjoy making a good soup or stew. I've made three in the last few days. Luckily we have a chest freezer so I can freeze these things! We'll see how the rest of the treatments go but so far, so good.