Angel Note

Angel Note
"If Music be the food of Love, Play on!" -- Wm. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Red Devil

LadyBug started the first of her chemo sessions today. She recieved almost two hours of intravenous solutions containing Adriamycin--nicknamed the "Red Devil," because of its red color and its horrible side effects--and
Cytoxan. "Cytoxan slows down, or stops the growth of cancer cells." (1) 

This was followed by a quick saline drip to clear the lines and clean the port, as well as add some fluid to her system. She should begin feeling the effects of this mix of drugs in about two days. She will have nausea, and fatigue. Within three weeks she will begin losing hair, a little at first, and then in clumps.

After her treatment was done they gave her a shot. I honestly don't remember what the nurse said the shot was, but she said some people get "bone pain" from it. She said if this happens and gets unbearable, to call the doctor. LadyBug said she has already experienced one symptom: The red medicine of Adriamycin causes your urine to turn pink or orange.... I knew you wanted to know that.
Her treatments will be based on the two week spread, but they are doing what they call the "Dose Dance." Chemo treatments are normally spread out three weeks apart. In the Dose Dance, they are two weeks apart, but the patient's body will drop in its white blood cell count. This means that while she is doing treatments, LadyBug will be VERY susceptible to infection. It also means that if she contracts an infection, there is no wait before it hits her. We must monitor all of these symptoms carefully. If any symptoms get out of control, we need to get her to the doctor immediately. If her blood count is too low the next time she is supposed to have a treatment, they wait until the following week to do it. This means her "8 week" treatment could just as easily be 12 weeks.
After these four treatments, she will begin her sessions with Taxol, the last of the drugs she will receive. "Taxol is made from yew trees. It fights cancer by interfering with cancer cell division. Taxol can be used to treat any stage of breast cancer.... When given in low doses it has mild side effects and is well-tolerated." (2)

I cannot look at this series of treatments as being 20 weeks, 16 weeks, etc. I see that we have two sets of four. And for the harder one, LadyBug is 25% done already. We have three more to go. As long as I look at it that way, it seems much more manageable. Now she just has to decide how long she waits before buzzing off her hair. This is one of the things she is most anxious about. Lucky for us, she has her a wig that her doctor's office supplied for her, along with some hats. Keep her in your prayers!


Delirious said...

The wig is cute, and I like the color! I'm sorry for what she has to go through in the coming months though!

Delirious said...

By the way, I have a friend who had the most aggressive form of breast cancer. She lost her hair, and when it started coming back in, she had it styled in a really chic style. Think of how models would style short hair. It looked so good on her, it made me want to go cut off all my hair! Anyway, she is done with treatments and doing well. I saw her mother in the store, and mentioned that my sister in law has breast cancer and she asked me what kind. I didn't realize there were so many kinds. I don't think I've ever heard the diagnosis. What kind does she have?

Mr. Giggles said...

This is an interesting situation She has been diagnosed with "Invasive Ductile Carcinoma," but is being treated as though it was "Inflammatory Breast Cancer," a more aggressive kind, because of some of the symptoms she had.

Inklings said...

I prayed for her as soon as I woke up this morning. So sorry she has to go through all of this, but glad she is choosing to survive! The wig looks good on her.

Nene said...

We pray for her twice a day. When Karleta's hair started coming back in, I thought it looked so cute on her that short and so did everyone else!

The Roberts Family said...

My friend Patricia went through Chemo several years ago. Shortly after she started her treatments, her hairdresser had her come into her shop. She had invited all of her friends, and had a cake and lots of goodies, to have a head shaving party. She told Patricia that it is so much easier to just get it out of the way and to make it fun, than to watch hopelessly as your hair falls out. I thought it was an amazing idea - and after watching my mom go through chemo and the hair loss, I have to say that I think it would be much easier to have a head shaving party!!!