When I first met with my oncologist he told me I needed to get a port implanted into my chest that they could use to administer the chemo drugs. But, since it was Christmas it was going to take a little time to get the surgery scheduled. I wanted to go ahead and get chemo started asap so the doctor said I could have my first chemo treatment via IV, but only the first treatment. I understood it wasn't ideal, but I really had no idea up from down at that point I just wanted to get going. Sure enough getting chemo injected through my hand for three hours was less than pleasant, but it got the job done.
This past Monday I went in for an iron infusion and thanks to my less-than-receptive veins it was a no-go. The nurses are so good at what they do, it just seems my veins have a tendency to roll around and blow up. So the good news is I have my port surgery tomorrow so no more poking and prodding into my worthless veins.
I have to be at Baptist South at 6:00AM tomorrow so I will head on out in the freezing cold nice and early. Jason will get the kids up and ready for school then my friend (and Margaret's teacher) Missy Xides will stop by and pick them up at 6:45AM and take them on to school early with her. Then our friend Ken Peavy will come over and pick Jason up and drive him to South and drop him off so he can be there for my surgery then drive me home. I told you it takes a village to beat cancer!!! Jason told me to write down where I park at the hospital in the event I'm too groggy after surgery to remember. Maybe I'll just valet. lol
The surgery itself will only last about 20-30 minutes but it does require general anesthesia so there is my prayer request - that everything goes routinely. I should be home napping by lunchtime.
I'm no medical doctor, and I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn last night, but I think this port thing will be inserted just under my skin on my chest right below my collar bone. It's some sort of small device that can serve as a vehicle to get the drugs into my system. And not just that, they can use this port for my blood work, iron infusions, everything and it's a quick easy needle poke into the port and voila - much easier.
My follow up visit this week revealed my white blood count really took a massive dip after my first treatment. I've already given the disclaimer that I don't understand medicine - so here goes my layman's explanation. The chemo kills the bad cancer cells that are rapidly dividing in my body. But it also kills good cells that are rapidly dividing in my body (that's what is going to make my hair fall out - amongst other things). White blood cells help our body fight off infection. It seems the chemo is taking a toll on those cells as well which means my body has very little defense against infection right now. Great huh, right during cold & flu season. If I get sick it would be bad. I would have to go in for daily antibiotic treatments and I guess if it was bad enough I would be hospitalized. The folks at the Center told me, "get plenty of rest, avoid stress, and don't get sick." I just gave them a blank stare as if they were speaking a language I was completely unfamiliar with. How on earth am I going to do all of that with kids and jobs and life and such. Inconceivable!
Hoping our best efforts will be blessed, the Walker family has implemented a health plan. Eli and MJ are jacked up on vitamins and thankfully they are not prone to sickness. (Their pediatrician always says if all of his patients were as healthy as my kids he would go out of business.) The second they walk in the door in the afternoon they put their clothes directly into the washing machine and their bodies directly into the shower. No kissing momma on the mouth. I've actually implemented air kisses which they think is fun (for now anyway). And if you see me in public (or Publix for that matter) I'll be wearing a mask and gloves and won't even be embarrassed about it! When you see me don't expect to hug me or shake my hand. Yes, I'm going all Howard Hughes and make no apologies. Whatever it takes for me to stay well I'm going to make every effort.
Monday is my next chemo treatment. I have felt SO GREAT this week the idea of starting the whole ugly process over again is crushing, CRUSHING! But, I've got 7 more treatments to go and will press on. My hair hasn't budged. They said I could start to see changes after treatment #2. I've got my stylist on speed dial and she will work me in the second I need her. No other physical changes yet (that I want to discuss in this forum anyway).
I'll end with a funny story. Yesterday when the kids and I were driving home from school I was reminding them about our plan to stay healthy. Eli said, "The nurse at our school has healthy snacks in her office. But they are not for everybody - just for Sam because Sam is an antibiotic." I was laughing so hard as I repeated the words to make sure I heard him, "Sam is an antibiotic?" Eli said, "Yes, you know - an antibiotic is someone who has to eat right, keep their sugar right, and get shots sometimes." I think having little kids around is the best medicine possible!