Monday, March 15, 2010

ICE Round 2, Day 1

Disclosure: I am three hours into high-dose chemo drugs and just popped an Ativan so forgive me if this post is incoherent.

Today was pretty uneventful. My mom took me into the hospital for check-in. We first went to the cancer center to get my blood counts checked and have a quick meet-up with Dr. Dailey. My counts looked good - I'm a bit anemic, but that's usual. I always have very low blood pressure and am always anemic. So they sent me back up to "Hotel Bliss 5" where I checked in for my reservation under Diamond. This time my room is on the complete opposite corner of the large floor. Same set-up - painfully small TV, own bathroom with the hat that I have to pee in, neutral blue curtains, a white board where they write the names of the caregivers as the shifts change, a sink and big mirror. But my view out this window is beautiful, centered in it is the gold-domed state capitol, which looks even more beautiful lit up at night. I can also see the building that my office is in - strange to see it from this perspective.

It was nice to see that all the nurses recognized and remembered me though I came without hair this time. As suspected, there's not even a stubble left, in a matter of a couple of days it all let go so that my head is now naked and smooth except for some soft spiky blonde hairs. I got a lot of compliments on my nice head shape - I'm glad the cone head that I had as a baby faded away!

It was great to have my mom here with me all day today to pass the time. Nothing happened until we were here for about four hours, around noon, when my port, which was accessed earlier, was hooked up to fluids. So we took some brief naps between visits by PCAs to check vitals, visits by food & nutrition to take my orders, etc. As I've said before, it's not easy to fall asleep in a hospital - no matter how tired you are. We looked at bridesmaids dresses for my mom and I helped her set up a Facebook account. Soon it was time for Ellen and Oprah and all was well.

She left and Craig relieved her after he got out of work and went home to take care of Sammy. It wasn't until after he got here - at 7pm - that the chemo finally got started. I guess the cancer center was packed today and they had six other patients on this floor that were also getting chemo today so the pharmacy was very behind. It really doesn't make a difference to me, and I almost prefer starting the chemo late because then I can just sleep off the wooziness and nausea rather than having to be awake and deal with it. In total the Etoposide and Iphospohmide (too tired to look up the spelling) take four hours. I've got about 45 minutes left. Then I'll receive a bag of Mezna (spelling?) every three hours throughout the night to run for 15 minutes each. This medicine will protect my kidneys which can be wrecked by the harsh drugs. I'm hoping that this Ativan will knock me out enough that I can sleep through the frequent visits and hope that they can just switch over the tubing without having to disturb me.

The sounds here are a bit eerie. The wind is howling outside the window and sounds almost like an ambulance siren it is so loud and violent. This evening I heard other howls, but howls and cries of pain from another patient on the floor. This floor is home to both oncology and end-of-life patients so there is a deep sadness irking from a lot of the rooms or maybe in some cases it's a sense of peace that they are letting go of whatever they may have been suffering from. I see a lot of large groups of families coming in to visit certain rooms, a tell tale sign that they are coming to say their goodbyes. It's hard for me who's fighting so hard for survival to be surrounded by that and as much as my heart goes out to them and to their families, when I do my laps around the floor with my IV pole I try not to look in the rooms, not to look in their eyes, as if I locked sight with them then death would head for me too ... and I'm not ready for that. I'm just here to get the medicine that is killing my cancer cells. I am not here to die.

Woozy. Nauseous. Antsy. Tired ....


  1. seems like the e-o-l patients would be better on a different floor. If only...sorry you have to see that and hear that, it would bother anybody. Hang in there and keep on reminding yourself you are just there to get some meds, period. HUGS

  2. Hey Karin,

    It's good to hear your mom was with you. Having family makes things so much better.

    I found your blog while searching for unique and helpful content on cancer. I think you could benefit from sharing your personal story to an audience of people seeking information on cancer. Wellsphere's HealthBlogger Network (HBN) is comprised of over 3,000 of the web's best health writers, including doctors, patient experts and people pursuing healthy living. 

    For more information about joining, please visit or email me at hua [at] wellsphere [dot] com.

    Director of Blogger Networks

  3. Thinking of you tonight, and sending a special prayer that you are not in too much discomfort.Looking forward to your next blog. You will get better, and you must hang on to that thought. You are a strong and precious girl.Love to you and your wonderful family. Irene