Penny’s Blog


Posted on: October 23, 2008

So yesterday was the first chemo day, or the first “infusion” day, as they call it. My friend Marion drove me to my appointment and spent half the day with me, though eventually I felt bad for her because there wasn’t much for her to do except sit around in uncomfortable chairs and eavesdrop on other people’s conversations.

First off, I met with my docs to get the results of my scans and tests. The MUGA scan (to check for a heart abnormality) was fine. The CT scan was essentially clean—there were a couple of small (<1cm) nodes elsewhere in my body, but they’d been there on the 2005 scans, too, so they don’t count. Initial analysis of the blood marrow looks good, too. So this is appears to be a localized thing. The plan is to do two rounds of chemo and then do a PET scan. Depending on the results of that, and on how well my body is tolerating the chemo, we could continue with the chemo or decide to do radiation.

After this talk, Marion and I went up to the 3rd floor to Infusion. It’s a busy floor, with as many as 90 people receiving infusions at any given time. One of the wings consists of semi-private rooms—two patient chairs per room; another is more of a concourse, a big room with chemo niches encircling a nurses’ station. First you get your pre-meds, in pill form: In this case, my first dose of Prednisone, some Tylenol, Benadryl, and an anti-nausea pill. Half an hour later they hook up your drug bag and start it a-drippin’. Since I have my Bard Power-Port (c) installed in my chest, the IV line got stuck right in there. The drips are managed by a computerized pump and can be slowed or speeded as normal. I was told to allow 8 hours this first day.

We’d been warned that the monoclonal antibody, Rituximab, could cause allergic reactions in some patients because it’s derived from mouse DNA and is “not quite human.” Sure enough, a couple of hours into the drip, I started itching and breaking out in blotches from my scalp down to my neck and chest. They paused the drip, dripped in some more Benadryl, the blotches disappeared, and we continued. The Benadryl and everything else made me so drowsy that I never picked up the knitting, paperwork, or reading I’d brought with me. My coworkers Leslie and Mark came to visit, and Mark hiked out to get me a Chik-Fil-A lunch (good man!), then I was dozey most of the rest of my time there.

I enjoyed chatting with the nurses and the other chemo patients. People are there for treatment of lots of different conditions, and all have their own treatment regimens and side effects and stories. Robin, my nurse, talked about having shaved her head for charity and what it was like going around as a bald person. Reminder to self to start scoping out wigs and hats this weekend.

Taking it easy today, dozing off and on, and hope to be back at work tomorrow. I’m tired, and have some weird tastes in my mouth, and a rumbly gut, but otherwise am doing okay. The cat is happy to have an all-day pass to a warm lap.

Thank you to everyone for your love and support.


7 Responses to "Chemo-palooza"

You are too good to set up a blog. All of us information addicts will be thrilled. I am glad that you got through yesterday in fine form.
You go girl.


I love you!! And you are a very amusing writer. 🙂

I am so glad to hear that round 1 is under your belt and that you are so calm and upbeat. Inspiring to me!!
Much much love,

Thanks for the blog. This way I can keep track of your progress without going through the embarrassment of having to ask how you’re doing. Glad the first round is out of the way!! Keep on chooglin’.

Mouse DNA??? Is this some kind of throwback to those baby mice we played with in Okinawa?

I’m glad you’ve got such a great bunch of friends and a snuggly cat.

Love you, Little Sister.


Thanks for setting up the blog. Sounds like you made it through the first round with a good attitude. May the Lord be your supply each day.

Hey Auntie,

Glad to hear you’re doin’ okay. Let me know if I can mail you a casserole.


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  • dswope: I just happened by after my I received an email from a close colegue that he was headig for IVPalooza. All I knew was that it was a form of chemo.
  • Brian: Hi Penny; When I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma I found your site. Reading about what you went through was incredibly helpful to me. Tha
  • Tricia: Still here; still caring; still rooting you on!


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