I spoke too soon

I bet all you breast cancer survivors out there read my last post and thought to yourself, “Yeah right honey — you just wait. Chemo will suck WAY more than your spacer fills. You’ve just been in the chemo honeymoon stage.” Well, this is me going on record admitting I was wrong and you were right. Chemo is bad news.

Today was my third out four AC infusions.  On the upside, I only have one more AC to go and my good friend Tegan kept me company along with Paul today.  It was so nice catching up with Tegan! She’s about to have a baby in a few weeks — so getting some QT in before the baby arrives was really special.

I arrived at Garrett’s office an hour early for my massage with Lisa. It was wonderful and relaxing.  Then I went to the infusion room and met Paul and Tegan. Garrett joined us shortly and reported that my blood work shows that my white blood cell count has dropped and that I will have to do the Neulasta shot tomorrow.  This was really sad news to me — but I secretly knew it was coming. I could feel it in my body this past week. I am getting weakened.

The Neulasta shot is the one that tells your body to make more white blood cells in your bones.  Many friends that have gone down this chemo path before me have said that this shot is the absolute worst. It makes your big bones (think hips) ache like there is no tomorrow. I’ve heard that it can literally render you immobile and ultimately confine you to your bed for a day or two.

I have to give myself that shot tomorrow and it will kick in on Thursday and Friday (which is also when my worst post-chemo day will kick in — oh joy!).

If that isn’t bad enough, we had issues during the Adriamycin push.  Recall, that Adriamycin is also known as the “Red Devil” and is highly, highly, highly, highly toxic. That is why Garrett administers it personally. It does not drip from an IV.  As he started the push, I was happily eating my Popsicle (to try and avoid mouth sores), but it started hurting. I said something to him about it but I couldn’t quite tell if it was just the coldness of the medicine entering my arm, or actual pain.  Then towards the end of the syringe, I told him it was really hurting. This time I knew it was pain and not just temperature.  He pulled the drug with 10cc’s left to go. Said it was better to be safe than sorry and we’ll make that amount up next time.  He then added an extra bag of saline to flush my vein and gave my two ice packs for my arm.

What we suspect happened was my vein was weakened from the prior two chemos — both of which went into the same vein and went off without  incident — but this time around, my vein just couldn’t take it anymore. I don’t know for sure if we blew this vein entirely or not, but suffice it to say, the Adriamycin got out of my vein and entered my system — which is why it hurt so much and is swollen. So next time, we will do the infusion in a different spot. Good times, egh?

When Garrett came back to check on me, it still hurt and was very swollen.  He decided that the second bag of saline was making things worse and it would be better to pull the IV out altogether and just ice my arm. So we did that and hung around for another half hour or so. The weird thing is, I have swelling and pain at the IV site (which is right by my wrist) but I also have a TON of pain travelling up my arm through my other veins. It feels like my entire arm is one giant bruise. It’s also stretched down into my hand. This cannot be good. FML.

Garrett didn’t seemed too agitated by any of this. My discharge orders are to take Prednisone and ice it for 15 minutes 6 to 6 times a day. He is going to check in with us tonight and again tomorrow morning to be sure all is well.

Damnnit all to hell. I thought I’d be able to get through this one as easily as the others. Arrogance always bites you in the ass kids. This is a lesson to be learned.

I’ll report back more later. I’m going to rest for the balance of the day. I deserve it. Ugh…

FUCK, Post script. Garrett just called and said he is worried and wants to give me an antidote ASAP. I have to have another IV for the next three days to combat the leak. He is worried that the leak will essentially “burn” my vein and tissue.  And we need all my veins in my non-surgical arm because we have a lot more chemo to go. Unfortunately, Garrett doesn’t have the antidote on hand. He is going to work with another hospital to track it down and get me the infusion tonight. I have to have it within 6 hours of the onset of pain.

Well, no resting for me. I have to get dressed and head back out. FUCK MY LIFE.

Tegan and I visiting during chemo!

Tegan and I visiting during chemo!

10 thoughts on “I spoke too soon

  1. Well that sucks. I like Garrett’s ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude though. One foot in front of the other brave one!

  2. Andrea, I am so sorry. What a difficult journey you are on. I know how strong you are and that you will get through this. I am sending you love, peace, and healing thoughts. xxoo

  3. Andrea,

    Hang in there! Allie and I are keeping you and Paul in our thoughts and Prayers. One thing I would suggest is to take a Claritin 2 hour prior to the Neulasta shot and another one the next day. It helped me a bunch with aches. Keep up the good work!


  4. This is sad news..I am so sorry..I keep my fingers crossed every time I read this blog.. I felt my heart sink today. what a woman warrior you are.. Your positive thoughts will render you successful, 2 steps forward and one step back is STILL PROGRESS.. slow and steady wins the race.. AND U ARE A WINNER.. PRAYING!!!

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