Monday, March 8, 2010

Chemo Day

Today is mom's chemo day. I happen to be off work - and dad's at jury duty - so I took her. I've been once before, but didn't stay the whole time, and today is a bit different in any event. Here's a chemo day in the life...

She sees the Dr. before each chemo treatment. They take some blood to make sure her levels are okay or if she needs an iron transfusion (if her H&H is low). I'm most concerned about her Bun and Creatin levels - these are measurements of her kidney function. One of the chemo drugs (cisplatin) is extremely toxic to the kidney. So, she has to be very good about drinking a ton of fluids chemo week. Anyway, she's good to go this week. We've been lucky so far - she's had a couple of colds and sinusitis - but to date, she hasn't had to miss a chemo treatment for any reason.

The Doc/nurse also does a mini physical and refills any prescriptions. It's a little upsetting because Mom only gets to see her Doc once every two or three appointments. She feels like she sees a different doctor each time she comes. We've talked about this but she finds it very aggravating. She wants to see the same Dr. every week. I think it's because they want her to have the chemo on the same day at about the same time each week and her regular doc isn't always available then. Anyway, new doc today. So, before we even go in, she's upset. I think it would be less upsetting if she saw the same 2-3 Docs in a cycle. But they have a lot of Doctors here and she has yet to have a repeat (except her regular Dr.).

Then we go to the chemo waiting area. There are about 10 people waiting before us today. Mom says this isn't the norm - that they usually wait 5-10 minutes before they get called in. Today, we were done with the Dr. appt by 11 and it's now 12:30 and we haven't started chemo yet. It takes 3-4 hours to deliver the chemo...we think we're next.

Finally got called in at about 1 - apparently, there were a few bad reactions to treatment today so they're a bit behind. So, she's upset about that. I wonder, is it this upsetting to her when my Dad is here? Or is it just me? Or, just a weird day?

She gets 3 decodran (a steroid) on chemo day. Makes her insanely chatty and she's not able to sleep for the three days she's on it. Seems to have kicked in now. My younger brother finds her hysterical when she's on the decodran. I just think it's weird. Seeing your mom high may be funny sometimes, but it's mostly disturbing to me.

So, that's chemo day in a nutshell. Today, Mom fell asleep about 10 minutes in - she is tired a lot these days. That's really her primary symptom - fatigue. Things could be way worse. Today's Dr. reminded us how wonderful her February CT results were. And, I'm starting to see that...

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