Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chemo Cycle 1

Before starting chemotherapy on 4/1, Tiffany and I wanted to get away for one last weekend to just relax and be together.  The prior four weeks had been busy and stressful in addition to the unknown ahead, so we were really looking forward to it.  We spent the weekend at Church Landing in Meredith, NH in a room overlooking (frozen) Lake Winnipesaukee courtesy of some unexpected generosity from friends.  We are also appreciative of our parents who split up the weekend watching the girls.  While it was supposed to be a cancer free weekend I'll admit the topic may have still come up a few times, but we had an amazing time.  Tiffany wrote more about it here.   We came home on Sunday refreshed and ready for the next step in the journey. 

Monday night we had a small gathering with family and friends which was really nice.  It felt kind of like a send off even though I'm not going anywhere.  Everyone enjoyed pizza and cupcakes, lots of hugs and a nice prayer and then it was time to get home to get a good night's sleep.  Tiffany asked me again that night if I was nervous about the next day and I really wasn't.  I'm not trying to sound overly tough because trust me I deal with anxiety and fear like everyone else.  The only explanation for the peace I felt is the amount of prayer that has been and is still being sent up for me.  The verse I shared in the last post, Phillipians 4:7 mentions this as "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding."  I slept great that night and then we were up early on Tuesday to get to the Lahey Clinic by 8:00am.

Tiffany, my mom and I arrived at the office and were taken back soon after.  I chose the recliner in the far corner of the infusion therapy room, which is basically a room filled with big reclining chairs separated by curtains.  Each little station has it's own TV, along with pillows and blankets to make you comfortable.  I brought my bag filled with books and electronics to pass the time over the next 8 hours.  My nurse for the day, Shelley, came over and introduced herself.  I started with some Tylenol and then she "plugged" me into the IV through my port.  I was shocked at how much this hurt and she gave me some numbing cream to prep the area for the next time I came back.  Next came the Benadryl through the IV followed by one of the anti-nausea drugs, Aloxi and a steroid.  After that came the Rituxan, which would take 4 hours to deliver for this first time.  I quickly felt drowsy from the Benadryl and then cold, so I was given a couple blankets and just sat back.    I felt a little weird, almost like when you know you're about to be sick but it hasn't come on yet, but nothing major. During the morning, I met with Dr. D'Silva, the nurse navigator, the social worker, and the nutritionist who all came over to talk.  Everything went fine for the next couple hours and Tiffany and my mom left to go get lunch.  The clinic provided lunch and snacks during the day and I was able to eat with no problems. I tried to read a little (finally almost finishing "The Last Pick" by Dave McGillivray) and mostly just dosed in and out.

The next two drugs were "push" drugs, where the nurse injects the syringe directly into the IV (versus having a bag with a slow drip).  Those went in quickly and were followed by another anti nausea drug called Emend. The last one was another slow drip one but it would only take an hour.  Once that one was finished we were cleared to go as I would be taking the Prednisone at home for the next 5 days on my own.  I felt ok, although I had the sense of being pumped full of chemicals.  Once we got home, I was pretty tired so I took a nap and then had dinner.  I still felt a little cloudy the rest of the night, although the Prednisone can make you hyper, so I took an Adivan and an anti nausea pill before bed to be able to sleep that first night.  The rest of the time I'll be taking the Prednisone in the morning.

The last two days have been OK.  I've been taking all my medicine to deal with the side effects religiously and so far so good.  I've also been drinking my green drink every morning and night (made with all organic kale, spinach, celery, cucumbers, parsley, apples, ginger root, lime juice and lemon juice), drinking lots of distilled water and making sure I get enough protein (chocolate almond milk and organic grass fed whey protein shakes.)  Feeding my body right is going to be more important than ever these next few months, so I've also been avoiding processed foods and sugar (mostly - I may have had a few Cadbury mini eggs that came with our dinner last night :) )  The most annoying part was getting these nasty hiccups every time I ate yesterday, I think 5 or 6 different times.  I heard it may be from the Zofran, which is the anti nausea drug, so it's still a trade off that I'll take.  Today has been better though.  I even went for a 30 minute walk this morning since it's warming up somewhat here.  Supposedly days 7-14 are the "nadir" or low point at least energy wise, so we'll have to see what that looks like and then I'll start quickly losing my hair around day 15 they said.  I'll be ready with a new Patriots hat from my mother in law and a nice new Red Sox hat that came in the mail yesterday (thanks Robin!)  That's all for now and thank you for your continued support!

Warning: this song is extremely hard and aggressive. The message is positive, a take on Psalm 23, but it's delivered angrily, a kind of righteous indignation.  It's called Fearless and it really speaks to me to know that God is with me during this time and the tone fires me up for this fight.  I know that probably most of my readers would approve of the content but object to the style, so I want to be respectful of that.  


  1. Love your attitude and your juice recipe!

  2. You will make it through just fine. You have a wonderful attitude, you have a loving family and most of all, you have God on your side. I'll be following your story.

  3. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comAugust 8, 2014 at 5:54 PM


    Healthline just designed a virtual guide of the effects of chemotherapy on the body. You can see the infographic here:

    This is valuable med-reviewed information that can help a person understand the side effects they are experiencing from their chemo treatment. I thought this would be of interest to your audience, and I’m writing to see if you would include this as a resource on your page:

    If you do not believe this would be a good fit for a resource on your site, even sharing this on your social communities would be a great alternative to help get the word out.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to review. Please let me know your thoughts and if I can answer any questions for you.

    All the best,
    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
    p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199

    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

    About Us: