On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Chemo #2 of 6 - DONE!

I sure hope I manage myself better in this second chemotherapy cycle because I have certainly been playing the role of the Languishing Invalid.

But in chemotherapy today the Drama Queen overdid it.  Big time.

The nurse tried to call me before I left home, but missed me.  It started off that my white blood count was soaring and she was thinking I probably had an infection.  That was confirmed after I arrived and then there was a discussion about whether I could even have the Taxotere today.  Since I wasn't symptomatic (no fever) the oncology pharmacist on the unit thought it was okay and the oncologist across the hall agreed.

So the infusion was started - after a reaction prevention steroid - and I was chatting happily with the nurse when she came by to twiddle with the dials on the pump.  Mid-sentence I interrupted myself - "Peggy, something is happening..."  "OK".  Pump off.  "I need help." Nurses come running.  Oxygen mask on face. Lower the chair.  Very calmly she explains, "You're having a reaction.  We see this often."  I calmed down - figured I might not faint or die after all.

My blood pressure spiked, my cheeks were flaming, my eyes were closing, closing, closing...

I felt better fairly quickly.  But then the nurse said they wouldn't infuse me today, started naming alternatives for next time.   "No, no, no, no, no!  Taxotere gave me nine years, I want that drug!  I didn't drive up here for no chemo!"

So Peggy presented a game plan to the oncology pharmacist.  "She's not leaving.  How about if we give her this and this and try again at a desensitization level...."  He tweaked it and she ran the new plan over to the oncologist.  He tweaked it some more and the plan was in place.  Three more reaction preventers at various intervals.  Eventually the Taxotere at the slowest drip possible.  Increase the time after 30 minutes.  Raise it again.

My 90-minute appointment lasted five hours, but I got through it and, at this moment, I feel great!

And lived to tell the story.


  1. WOW... Hon... hope whatever caused the reaction doesn't happen again... I'll keep you in my prayers.

  2. Skip "drama queen" and insert "scared lady"! Goodness, this must have been a horrid day. It makes me wonder what would happen if my daughter ever needs this as she over reacts to almost all medicines. Really scary thought. I sure hope this was a one-off for you and next time it goes much more smoothly!

  3. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Wow..... You are very courageous .
    Positive thoughts sent your way :-)

  4. Hi MP - Thanks for checking in. Not courageous, I just really wanted that treatment!

  5. Hi Barbara... I had the same reaction when I had my chemo therapy..can't breathe and i feel i was dying..:-) the hospital did the same thing to me..and It lasted 6 hrs per session...how are you now? :-)


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