March 8, 2013
Well campers, it was a day...
That started out just fine actually. We got to sleep in a little, have a nice breakfast together, leave the house somewhat casually. Then we got to meet with one of our favorite people, a lovely woman named Lauren who is the PA for our Fertility doc. She is one of the most encouraging, lovely, competent people we've met in this whole process and the 3 of us have developed a great repoir, WHICH throughout this otherwise ugly experience has been such a wonderful relief. She is fantastic and I hope she reads this because she oughta know that we appreciate her so very much. This appointment with Lauren was just a follow-up to the fertility preservation process that Ade underwent a few weeks ago and the basic result of that appt was that all systems are a go. We have 7 potential Jeydriennes on ice, 3 "straws" of 2 eggs apiece and 1 straw with 1 egg in it. That means that there are 4 potential attempts that we can make should we decide that IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) is the route we want or need to go. Lauren shared with us (appreciative that she shared AFTER the fact) that they were statistically expecting to get 2-3 eggs, so the fact that we got 7 is wonderful. My wife is an egg-making maCHINE! A regular 1-woman chicken coop.
As I said, just a lovely way to start the morning. That was at 10:45.
Then we went to the Breast Center (Or, the "Boobie Center" you might say) for our next step which is where they access her port, which just means they stick her with a medieval torture device called a "central line" somethingorother. The put a little needle through her skin and into the port that has a flat head on it about the size of a quarter with a 4-5" line coming out of it. On the other end of that line is a standardized connector that matches that of IV lines and such. They put a big ol piece of Tegaderm over it and that sucker stays in her body for the rest of the day. After that appt, we tried to have her boobies expanded, and got a little tongue lashing for not making an appt. (Which was a little annoying by the way because last time we were in we asked to have an appt for the expansions made in conjunction with each of the forthcoming chemo appts and were told to consider it done...apparently such was NOT the case) Pfffffffffffft.
We met with our oncologist just before the infusion too which was great. It was so nice to see her face-to-face and to get to ask questions and be encouraged that all of the stuff she is going through is normal and expected, even though it sucks. Our oncologist by the way is a stud...during the whole hospital thing last weekend, we called her no less than 5 times, several of which were between the hours of 10pm and 4am. During our appt yesterday we apologized and thanked her for that, to which she responded that she didnt mind at all and was happy to do it and that it is a part of doing what she loves to do. Fantastic woman, that one.
So then we head to infusion and thats where it started to go downhill. They give her 4 pre-meds which are Benadryl, Dexamethosone, Pepcid and...one other. They are all either for nausea prevention or to help prevent against anaphylactic reaction to the dilutent that one of the two chemo drugs is mixed with. Its strange because the drug in question is called Taxotere and it is mixed with some other substance to keep it stable or whatever and its that other thing that the drug is mixed with that people often have a severe allergic reaction to, not the drug itself...and that's exactly what happened to Ade. She was about 6 minutes into the infusion and all of a sudden and I mean all of a SUDDEN her stomach hurt, then her back hurt, then she started having trouble breathing and she was crying. I'm telling you this was in 3 seconds, no kidding. Our nurse Gwen, also a wonderful woman, was so calm and precise with how she handled it. She immediately stopped the drug, calmly but swiftly walked out of our little cell, commanded someone to call the on-call oncologist, immediately came back in and began to talk to Adrienne, calm her down, gave her another shot of some steroid that she had left to get which helped Ade a great deal. Anyway, by this time there are 4 nurses, an oncologist, several MAs and then the 4 of us standing in a space not much larger than a public bathroom...we were close. I'm just sayin.
It really scared her because of what are both the benefit and drawback to mainlining drugs...it gets immediately dispersed throughout your body. BUT, that also makes it easy to stop it. She said the reason it was so scary was because it was so sudden. The nurse told us that the way the pump works, the first 20 cc's or so of fluid are actually just the saline they mix it with - that's why she got 5-6 minutes into the infusion. Once the actual drug started into her veins, that's when she had the reaction and her body started freaking out.
SOOOOOO...they then gave her another steroid as I mentioned, (She can now bench 270 by the way...curious.) and the nurse called our oncologist. The recommendation that came back was to wait 30 minutes to make sure the steroid was in full effect and then to restart the drug at half the rate of infusion, so twice as slow as the original speed. After that 30 minute wait, they restarted it and since they just started where they left off instead of actually restarting the pump that means the drug immediately started entering her system again. Most tense 45 seconds of my life. But she handled it really well. No more reaction, no more steroids.
She did really well after that. What should have been a 1 hour infusion turned into a 2 hour, and then we still had a 15 minute wait and then another 30 minute infusion of the second drug so after all that and a trip to Sprouts on our way home to get something that is supposed to help with mouth sores, we got home around 8:45. I made a lovely batch of hamburgers and fries and we enjoyed a nice dinner together somewhere in the neighborhood of 9:45 last night. That's normal, right?
It was almost a 12-hour day at the hospital, which sucked, but it wasinfused with good people (see what I did there?) and after all...we got to be together.
A thought for you that has been rattling around in my skull as we've been walking through all of this - Please take the time to remember that God has a plan for you and, believe it or not it is to prosper you and not to harm you. You may be reading this and think I'm completely full of bunk for saying and believing that or anything else about God...but I really do believe that. There is no question in my head that God has a plan for each of us and that He is in fact, real. He has so inextricably woven Himself into our lives through this whole cancer thing and we are so incredibly grateful for that. It's been hard, its sucked, its been scary, we both have experienced feelings of helplessness and hopelessness beyond anything else we've ever known, but I know that I'm glad I haven't had to walk alone. The Lord is faithful in his care, unchanging in his love and grace for us and unwavering in his provision. He has provided time, sustenance, finances, friendships, love, care, compassion, WONDERFUL family, random acts of kindness...I hope you know these things to be true in your own life as well. I really do. I know it to be true in mine and that of my wife - I sincerely pray that you get to experience God in a real, tangible and believable way; whether you've known Jesus for many years, never heard His name, or have heard his name and think I'm full of crap for all of this...He cares. He loves you. There is hope.
May God bless you as he has us...thanks for reading kids, we love you!