Longest Day Ever

Yesterday, we had a big day at UMMC.  We had a CT scan scheduled in the am, followed by the appointment with my beloved Dr. Rao (GYN ONC) and I was supposed to meet with the Radiation Oncologist (Dr. Sharma) as well.  We were not told to make an appointment with Dr. Sharma, so we assumed it was taken care of.

We arrived at UMMC at 9am so I could drink the contrast (blech), with my appointment scheduled at 11am for the CT scan.  While I was having the CT scan, I saw on my cell phone that I had received a call from somewhere within UMMC.  But no message was left.  Um, ok.  We finished up the CT Scan about 11:30.  My appointment with Dr. Rao wasn’t scheduled until 2:30, so we walked up to Lexington Market for lunch.  Bob had a cheese steak (blasphemy – you can’t get a good   in Baltimore – no lettuce, tomato and mayo on a cheese steak, darn it!!  NO) and I had a meatball sub (which was far too salty).  I could only eat ONE meatball out of the sub (thank you tiny pouch), and we finished up about 12:30.  We were told if we got to the oncologist’s office by 1 (when he started seeing patients) that he’d take me instead of waiting for my appointment time.

They called us back about 1:00 and Beth (the NP) came in to talk to me.  “How are you feeling?”  Tired, but not in so much pain anymore.  “How is your wound healing?”  Great – all healed up.  “Let’s see.”  Ok.  One more person to pull my drawers down for.  “So, are you ready to start chemo next week?”

o.O

Next week?

“Yes.  We want you to start Monday.”

Well, let’s do this.

So, Beth handed me a big ass folder of everything you could evern know (but never wanted to HAVE to know) about chemo.  And then we went through it.

I’ll be receiving two chemo drugs in combination – Paclitaxel and Carboplatin.

The first – Paclitaxel – treats female cancers (and lung cancer).  This one is the one that people tend to have allergic reactions to so it is given slowly.

The Carboplatin is also used to treat cancer of the ovaries and female parts.

Primary side effect on both – nausea and vomiting.  Yay!

So, we went through all the details about the meds, and I was given three scripts – one for a steroid (to be taken the night before and the morning of chemo), one for zofran and one other anti-nausea med (not sure what that one is called).  I was also given a huge book about chemo and side effects.

My chemo scheduled will be chemo Monday.  The following two Monday’s I’ll have blood work, and then the fourth Monday will be chemo again.  Repeat one more time.  So, three cycles of chemo.

Then I will have radiation.

And then three more chemo cycles.

So, that appointment took until 2:30.  Dr. Rao came in to talk to me as well, and look at my incision.  They all promised to take care of my short-term disability.  Dr. Rao’s quote was, “Oh, no, you will NOT be going back to work on 9/18 – not even if you weren’t having chemo.”  Ok.  Then they said, “Did you make an appointment to see Dr. Sharma?”

No.  No one told me I needed one.  Sigh.

So, they called down to his office (while I was making my chemo appointment) and said, “He does want to see you today.  Have a seat in the waiting room – he’s going to call and let us know if he’s coming up here to talk to you or if you are going down there.”

OK.

Keep in mind, at this point, we had been at the hospital 5.5 hours.  But, we did get a tour of the infusion therapy (chemo room) and I met my chemo nurse, Bonnie.  She’s very nice.  We found out that Bob can go back with me, and they will give me lunch, or Bob can go out and bring me whatever I want.  They are nice rooms – with TVs and recliners.  Score.

I also will not need a port because I’m young and have veins that pop up.

And then we sat.  I also made a mental note – when I go on Monday, I’m wearing jeans.  And taking a blanket.  Because that hospital is cold enough to hang meat.  I was freezing all freaking day.  FREEZING.

And we sat some more.  We saw the Steve Harvey Show.  Then Dr. Oz.  And by then it was 4:00.  And Bob was ANTSY.  I mean very ANTSY.  To the point where he got up, and went back to the staff and said, “Um, we gotta go.”

“Oh, hasn’t Dr. Sharma come to see you?”

NO

“Let me call.”

To which we found out we were supposed to go downstairs to see him.

Sigh.

Off we went.  Down to radiation oncology.  Where the poor man who manned the desk had already packed up for the day.  Sigh.

More paperwork.  And a picture – which was just mean.

And then they finally took us back.  At 4:30.

We finally saw Dr. Sharma at 5pm.  That’s a work day people.

So, turns out, my sandwich therapy will consist of two types of radiation.  The first, given between the break in chemo cycles 3 and 4, will last five weeks.  Once a day, every day, for five weeks.  I’ll glow in the dark by the end.

Then, I will have three more sessions of internal radiation, given in my off weeks during the last 3 cycles of chemo.  And by internal, all you ladies know what I mean.  In-ter-nal.  Hurray.  Vag-iation.  I understand why, but wow.  The external radiation will only take 45 minutes.  The internal, however, will take four hours.  Yay.

I should be done all my treatments by (we’re thinking) February.

Oh, and we still don’t have the results of the CT scan.  I’ll either get them today or Monday.

We didn’t get home until 7 last night (after I had to drop of the scripts, which I’ll pick up today).  It took us forever to get out of the parking garage thanks to the O’s game (all hail Cal Ripken Jr. blahblahblah), and of course, getting out of the city was fun, only not.   My husband drives like a madman in the city.  Sigh.

I was exhausted and very sore last night, but here we go.

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