Dec. 1: Chemotherapy #1

Today was my first chemo appointment. In anticipation of it, I slept poorly and woke up long before I needed to be awake. I asked Mom to go along—I wanted her to see what it was like, since she feels so detached from the situation in some ways (it must be weird being totally in charge of someone’s health for the first half of their life, and then have practically NO rights when they’re grown up). Victor also went, because that’s his job as my First Dude.

Everything started out with a couple of nurses explaining the process of chemotherapy, dealing with side effects, the medications in my treatments, the drugs I’ll take at home, food suggestions, etc. Everything was on paper, which went right into my cancer notebook.

Yep, I now have a cancer notebook. That probably doesn’t surprise most of you, if you know what a nerd I am. If you don’t know what a nerd I am, know this: I am a nerd.

The nurses and all paperwork made a really big deal about keeping up my fluid intake every day by drinking at least two quarts of liquid. Here are the liquids on the “acceptable” list:

  • Milk
  • Water
  • Gatorade
  • Soft Drinks
  • Ice Cream
  • Soup
  • Jell-O

I love that ice cream is considered a liquid, but to paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow, “why is there never rum on the list?” Pffft.

The nurses showed me a basket of hand-knit hats and said I was welcome to take one. Before I even had the chance to look at all of them, they shoved a kinda ugly grey one in my hand and said, “Take this one! It’s so soft!” and then they took the basket away. Tonight I tried on the hat and while it is very soft, it looks like a friggin’ bathing cap. This is why Jen should not wear hats. This is why Jen really, really, really needs her own hair. Hair that doesn’t look like her evil grandmother’s.

I emailed my hairdresser today and she suggested I get a snazzy new ‘do before my long hair starts falling out. I’m meeting with her on Saturday. I know she’ll work with me to find something that will look good, and when my hair starts falling out, it’ll make me look less like I got attacked by rabid wolverines and more like I got attacked by a ferret with the munchies.

That’s the goal, anyway.

I got an IV and one by one, they hooked up my bags o’ poison to work its magic on the toomah. It took a long time. Mom, Vic and I chatted a little, I read emails and texts, and then? Well, then we were all bored. It only took 15 minutes for us to get bored. I wasn’t sure how we’d fill the next three hours, but that was before I didn’t know the whole process would actually take SIX hours.

That six hours involved trying to block out the noise of other patients who were loudly chatty, my vitals being checked every 15 minutes while one of my meds dripped, and running out of interesting reading materials. I’ll definitely be better prepared for next time (Dec. 22), though it’ll probably take less time since I don’t have to be monitored during that one drug again.

Just before we left at 3:30 I started feeling a little nauseous, and that’s how I’ve continued to feel all evening. I don’t have much of an appetite, not even for ice cream. But I guess the nausea’s managed, because I haven’t puked yet. You’re relieved to know that, aren’t you?

The next few days are supposedly the worst, so we’ll see how much worse “the worst” gets. And you can be sure I’ll keep you updated, because I love to share information that makes people squirm. Heh heh heh…



  1. As a completely objective observer, I'd say my gal was pretty brave through it all! I love you, Sweetie!

  2. Can you request Mel Gibson, the dream gynecologist, to provide some entertainment during those long sessions? :).

  3. I have PILES of magazines you can read. But you REALLY want those trashy celeb ones, right? I'll work on that.

    I think it's a great idea to see your hairdresser. Keep that hat though,'s flipping cold outside.

    You did good. Hang in there and call me...I'

    Love you big.


  4. Did you bring your 3-hole punch to the hospital with you? Please tell me you did. That would make me so happy.

  5. Jen,
    When my friend Bonnie had cancer the first time five years ago, she had a wig maker shave her head. He then took her hair and made a wig for her. When I shaved her head last summer, she put that same wig on. It looked like she didn't just get her head shaved!

    Anyhoo, I cannot do it on the 22nd, but I would be honored to accompany you on one of your chemo days. Perhaps between the two of us we can talk about SOMETHING that will pass the time! Let me know!

    Love ya!

  6. This might be a good time to get a couple of really long books to read - or yes, trashy magazines - I'm sure anything to take your mind off things would be nice, if possible. :)

  7. This is Pat, mother of AJ, CS, JH, and HK, and honorary other mom of JM, because you have been like another daughter to me! AJ told me of the nasty CA invasion. Humor is certainly the best way to battle it, and you are doing it well! It has been 2 years since my breast CA surgery. I had radiation, but no chemo. Hey girl, I love you, understand the fear, and am here for you! Any time at all...


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