Wednesday, January 10, 2007

so far so good

I had Herceptin yesterday, along with the Vinorelbine (the chemo I'm on). It's been more than twenty-four hours and I have not had a reaction to the Herceptin, nor am I running a fever.

The doctors had said that my reactions would probably diminish over time. To help matters along, they pumped me full of Demerol before treatment (I've never taken a heavy duty narcotic before when I wasn't in serious pain. What a trip!), along with Gravol. I quickly became very stoned and very sleepy. They went on to give me the Herceptin very slowly (over ninety minutes) and then to keep me for an hour's observation.

It was a long day, but it was worth it. No chills, no shakes, no fever (I didn't write about this, but I landed in emergency the day after my last Herceptin treatment. Nothing like sitting in a waiting room full of coughing, puking people while your immune system is depressed...) . I'm pretty tired and a little green around the gills but I've been able to read and sleep today.

It's a pretty gruelling routine I'm on, in terms of the frequency of treatment, but the side effects (she says, crossing her fingers) seem to be less intense than what I experienced during the first go-round (before the metastasis). If I can eat a little, sleep and read, everything is a little more bearable.

And I still have hair.


amanda said...

Yay for hair and feeling okay!

And I agree that ERs are the WORST place for cancer patients. The one time that Eric had to go there, the staff pretty much didn't know what the hell to do with him, and it was apparent. Johns Hopkins actually gave us instructions to avoid ERs in case of emergency during his bone marrow transplant. We were to call the oncologist on the floor and page him/her instead. definitely something that ERs need to work on.

laurie said...

That was my experience, too. The first three people I spoke to (the triage nurse, the er nurse and the resident on call) had never even heard of Herceptin, let alone what a drug reaction would look like. It was six and a half hours of pure, useless, hell.