Saturday, August 07, 2004
Chemo Revisited
I have had so many people ask me questions about chemotherapy that I thought I would take a minute to revisit it and provide a better description of the actual process.

Chemotherapy can be given as a pill, a shot, or an IV. The particular cocktail I received is given through an IV connected to the groshong catheter on my chest. Using the catheter saves the wear and tear and my veins. Anyone who has been through this without a catheter can attest to that. The drugs are very hard on the small veins and can cause damage, bruising, or even collapse of the veins on your arms.

The first thing the nurse did was connect an IV bag of anti-nausea medication. Once that was all gone, she gave me two shots through the catheter: one anti-nausea medication and one medication to relax me. After that, she connected an IV bag of the first chemo drug. This was the largest IV bag and took about one hour. After that, she connected a bag of the second chemo drug. When that was gone she connected a saline flush bag. When that was gone, I was done! Whew! To recap, that was four IV bags and two shots. Total medicating time was about three hours.

The side effects have been minimal this first treatment. I experienced a brief period with some mild nausea. My taste buds have been off a bit, but seemed to be back to normal about a week after treatment. I have had mild issues with fatigue, leg pain, dry eyes, dry skin, brittle nails, and lip sores. My hair has also become very brittle and I imagine it won’t be long before it starts to fall out. But even with all those mild nuisances, I can function normally, work, visit with family and friends, and lead a pretty normal life. I really can’t complain. I’m not trying to tempt fate here. I realize the chances are pretty high that the side effects will increase with each treatment. I just take it one day at a time.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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