7:30 am. Is that my alarm going off? It can’t be. I haven’t set an alarm for weeks. My average rising time went from 5am (when I was marathon training) to 10:30am (when I was being all cancery and stuff). 7:30am is literally the butt crack of dawn to me now. I’m going back to sleep.
8:15am, five snooze buttons later. FINE I’LL GET UP, I’m starving anyway. Thanks, steroids.
8:18am. Yes, I will eat this banana and this oatmeal and this brown sugar out of the package with a spoon and this maple syrup I dipped my finger in and this sugar free muffin and this pear and that glass of cranberry juice. Thank you.
9:15am. Roll up to USC Norris like a boss in my buzz cut, which is becoming patchier by the second, and beanie. Wonder why I’m the only one here without hair. Am in the wrong place? This is a cancer center, right? YOU PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE LESS HAIR! I don’t understand!
9:30am. Needle Stick #1 of the day – a blood draw. NBD. Because of that one time I passed out while having an IV placed, everyone is super paranoid about puncturing me. USC is kind enough to use the needles made for premature infants. I am not complaining.
10:30am. My red and white blood cell counts show that my body is an animal and my innards are not lying down and taking this chemo thing without a fight. In fact, my neutrophils – the white blood cells most likely to get obliterated by chemo – are actually a bit high. Thanks, Neulasta! My red blood cell counts are mediocre, and I’ve chosen to blame my bad running on this. I decide not to ask the nurse if these particular red blood cells would affect my athletic performance, on the chance that she’ll say, “No, your fitness should be fine!” and then I’ll have to admit that I just suck because I took three months off.
10:48am. A new nurse comes in to place my IV. Like last cycle’s nurse, she complains about my veins. I didn’t bother to get the port yet, but she’s starting to convince me. After at least two minutes with the tourniquet on, I wonder if I’m here for chemotherapy or an impromptu amputation. Finally, she finds a vein, and kindly tells me that her professional recommendation is that I suck it up and get the PortaCath. “You could go, like, tomorrow,” she says, not joking.
11am. Pre-medication begins with Kyrtil, Benadryl, Ativan and Pepcid. I bury myself in three pre-warmed hospital blankets and throw on some Pandora jams. Almost immediately I fall asleep.
11:30am. Taxotere drip begins. It is thoroughly uneventful. I read for a bit, break out my computer, eat a giant tupperware of fresh berries my mom was kind enough to pack and chat with my parents about a bunch of random things. Then I pass out again.
12:45pm. The Carboplatin drip begins. At first, nothing changes. About half an hour into it, however, my hand begins to feel as though it is on fire. The area around my IV is stinging, and shooting pains are flying up and down my wrist and palm, not unlike cramps. I hold off for a few minutes, thinking they’ll pass, but they only get worse. I quickly ring my button and the nurse comes running in, asking what’s wrong. When I tell her, she says that the drugs can sometimes irritate the lining of the veins, which is probably the source of my pain. She lowers the flow rate and gives me a warm compress to help dilate my lame little venous system. The pain takes at least two hours to fade completely. I’m beginning to agree with these nurses – my veins suck, give me the port.
1:40pm. My awesome brother shows up. We take some glamour shots all over my chemo equipment, but they’re on his phone, so alas, I cannot share them with you just yet. Thanks for coming and hanging out, Ry – made my day.
2:30pm. The final drip: Herceptin! When I’m not getting up to pee every 10 seconds because I have just been pumped with 4 massive bags of saline and poisonous drugs, I’m sitting on my computer praying that my battery doesn’t die before I finish the next article on Gawker. Priorities.
6pm. My parents and I head home and order Mexican food. Obviously. And then we settle in for a night of terrible reality TV, as is de rigueur in our household. Word to the wise: I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news because I love trashy TV as much as the next girl, but NBC’s Splash was every bit as inane and bizarre as it looked. I don’t know why I felt compelled to watch it; every time the promo would come on, I was reminded of Jack Donaghy pitching such 30 Rock classics as MILF Island and Celebrity Homonym.
On the chemo front, that makes 2 down, and 4 to go. Here’s to hoping the side effects are as tolerable this time as they were last time. So far, so good, as I can safely say that the worst thing I’ve experienced tonight is my second-hand embarrassment at watching D-list celebrities try to conquer the high dive.