I found a quote that seemed very fitting for how I was feeling before my first chemotherapy treatment:
"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!" - Dr. Seuss
My first treatment was on Monday, November 29, 2010, and I was both eager and anxious to get started, though I had no idea what I was facing that day. But knew I was ready to get it started. I would have started chemo the day after I found out the diagnosis if I could. My sister, Breanna, went to this appointment with me. She was great! She and my parents made me a "chemo blanket" to make sure I was as comfortable as possible during treatments. It's so pretty and very cozy, and I plan to bring this blanket with me to each of my appointments. I'd never even thought of something like this. Thankfully, I have other people to help me realize what's going to make me comfortable.
The actual chemotherapy treatment wasn't so bad. They set me up in a little room with a comfortable chair, and of course I had my blanket. The nurses began hooking me up to the I.V.s through my portacath and Breanna and I watched some T.V. The nurse was in and out of the room changing the medications in the I.V., and at one point she sat down with me and talked about some of the changes I would feel when I left the hospital. After my first treatment she told me I would likely lose all my hair before my next treatment - just two weeks away. Though, I have to say, that thought never scared me. I find it just to be a constant reminder that this chemotherapy is inside me killing this awful cancer.
While there, the nurse and I began talking about Vanessa and Brooke. I told her I would be talking with the girls that night about my breast cancer diagnosis. I had wanted to tell them sooner, but there never seemed to be a good time. I just wasn't ready and wanted to make sure I was educated enough to be able to explain it in a way they could understand. My mom had given me a pamphlet on how to explain this diagonisis with children and how they may react at each age, which I found very helpful. It said that I couldn't make any promises to them when asked questions such as "was I going to be ok," or "are you going to die." Just reading those words nearly killed me. As a parent you always want to assure them everything is going to be ok and I couldn't do this. I knew I had to be as positive about this as possible as they would feel my energy.
Before I left the hospital a women came into my room with three childrens books telling stories about breast cancer and the effects of chemotherapy. I was so grateful, and seemingly little things like this to them, were major things to me. These were the exact comforts I needed, and made me more comfortable in my decision to select Swedish Cancer Institute for my treatment. With everything going on and things happening so fast I hadn't had a lot of time to think of something like that. I read through the books that night to kind of prepare myself, too, for what we would be reading.
My sister and I left the hospital after about 5 hours. I was exhausted, but feeling pretty well considering. We went to my parents where Jan, the girls dad, and the girls were waiting. I wanted to talk to them right away and just get it out of the way. We all sat down and I told them mommy has breast cancer and what that meant. Brooke didn't understand much, just that mommy was sick. Vanessa understood a little more. She said she has heard of breast cancer, so I asked her if she had any questions and she said not yet, but that she would soon. She had to process all this first. We talked about it a little more and I explained to them I would be taking medicine that would sometimes make mommy not feel very well and that my hair would fall out. The girls thought that was silly. I promised them that when that time came, we could go together and try on wigs, an idea they liked a lot. They were both so sweet that night and hugged me a little tighter and a little longer all night. My sweet girls. We all went to Red Robin after to kind of lighten the mood and have a fun time. I was feeling a lot of relief in how well the evening had gone.
Later that evening, I got the girls tucked into bed and told them we'd be able to read some stories about breast cancer the next evening. I started to not feel very well and decided to go to bed as well. Within a few hours I woke up feeling very ill and a little scared. I was up the majority of the night, but thankfully Eric stayed up with me the whole time to make sure I was ok and to ensure I knew I wasn't alone. He even got up in the morning and went to work after only two hours of sleep.
The next morning I woke up with very little sleep and very little energy. Both Jan and Justine came over to help me get the girls ready for school, and to make sure I had everything I needed. Justine brought over everything she could think of to make me feel better. :) Just having her there made me feel better. I slept pretty much that whole day and began to feel better. Looking back on it now, I felt like everything went pretty well.