Monday, April 20, 2009

2 Down, 6 to Go...Could be MUCH Worse

Monday, April 20, 2009

Let me start by giving a big shout out to Joe who turned 27 today!!! Happy Birthday, my love! Joe took one for Team McClendon today and spent his day first at work, then sitting with me for 3 and a half hours at chemo, then he watched me sit/lay mostly motionless and tired on the couch when we got home. This will NOT be the most memorable of birthdays for him. Scratch that...perhaps most memorable birthday of all. Hmm...

Thank you a million times for being my steady, strong rock and have the HAPPIEST birthday. You deserve it!

On to the juicy stuff....CHEMO!!!

12:30pm: Today was my second treatment and they opted to NOT give me enough Ativan to mellow a herd of bison. Yes, they did do this last time. My blood pressure has nearly fallen back to normal, so I guess they think I may not need to be sedated anymore. Have they met me? Keep the Ativan coming.

As a note, I have always had stellar blood pressure--120/80...always flawless. Since this little shindig began, I've had the blood pressure of a 70 year old heart patient off his blood pressure meds (i.e. 155/ For those of you who don't speak in Megan-like comparisons, let me be clear...that's bad. As a result of this, they have prescribed me generic Ativan to take as needed for anxiety, nausea, and as a sleep aid (but mostly for anxiety). In addition to my by mouth prescription, each time I've gone in, they've pumped me full of Ativan through my "dongles" (See picture below for clear idea of what my "dongles" look like...Joe didn't zoom in at all far enough for you to be grossed out). Result of this on today's blood pressure? 124/82!!! Much better. Therefore, no Ativan. point is this: Not being on Ativan makes one significantly more clear headed, thus allowing one to observe her surroundings.

Observation of the Day: This whole treatment thing could be a LOT worse.

As I've mentioned before, the drugs I'm given at chemo are few. They give me two small IV bags full of anti-nausea meds, then they give me two 10oz syringes full of the bright red chemo drug, Adriamycin, then one mid-sized IV bag full of a chemo drug called Cytoxin. In addition, you also get a regular IV bag as well. Keeping count? That's 4 bags, 2 syringes.

As I looked around today, I saw IV stands for each patient. I saw stands with 8, 9, 10 bags on them, not to mention the nurse-administered syringe drugs on top of that. I spoke with a woman today who was there for her first treatment (I empathize with her anxiety). She was being treated for a cancer in her jaw. She had 10 IV bags and a substantial amount of Adriamycin that would take so long to administer that she had it in a carrying bag. It went home with her to continue the process of administering the drug. She had been there 8 hours already. She will be back tomorrow...and every other day this week.

I keep hearing that every cancer is different and there is a different treatment regimen for each, but I don't think it really sunk in until today. With 2 treatments down and only 6 to go (and 2 weeks to recover before the next), this could be so much worse. I truly am very fortunate by all accounts. :)

4:30pm: Went home pretty exhausted. Absolutely didn't want to cook so it was such a relief to have coworker and friend meal service food! My coworkers and friends have signed up to deliver food to Joe and I throughout treatment weeks. I cannot tell you what an amazing gift it was. Homemade Mac & Cheese & Ham tonight. Yum...though now I'm feeling nauseated. Not to be graphic...but I hope it's not bad on the way back up either. :(

As for how I'm feeling...well, my hair started falling out today and after a brief bout of tears (when I say brief, I mean 3-5 minutes), I placed a call to both my mom and Joe (both of whom excel at making me feel better). When I hung up, I swept up the gobs of hair blown out by my blow dryer, cluttering my white tile bathroom floor, I wiped up the white sink where more hair had drifted and rested, and went to work.

At days end, I'm doing okay with it. The hair thing is now more of an annoyance. I made the horrible mistake of wearing black cotton today. I had my own hair stuck to me all day as the little suckers blew in the wind and fell out or as I ran my fingers through my hair and they fell to my shirt. The weirdest part about it is the way my scalp feels. It doesn't hurt, per se, but it's sort of awkwardly tender and sore, and at the same time sort of tingly. It's not really like the way your hand tingles after it falls asleep and starts to come back--it's more subtle than that--but that's the best way I can describe the sensation.

9:30pm: At this moment I'm shocked and amazed I made it this long without falling asleep, but I've fought it as long as I can. I leave you with this picture ---> (as referenced above) of me getting blood drawn. I'm in one of the treatment chairs and you can see my IV stand behind me. They use my pic line (my "dongles") for blood work and infusions both. It's not hospital-esque at all, much less intimidating than that. See for yourself.

Goodnight and love to all of you!


  1. Hey Megan! I just found out today and I have to say you absolutely ROCK! You and Joe are amazing and I'm so glad you have each other to get through this difficult time. You're officially on my prayer list! Lots of love.

    Marisa Lengor

  2. Hello Megan! Thanks so much for doing this blog. I love being able to know what's going on with you throughout your whole treatment. I'm so glad you and Joe have each other to lean on, you're both awesome! I'm sorry your hair made you sad for 5 minutes!! :( It will grow back though! Keep up the general ass-kicking and all that! Love you guys! ~Amy