A false start. That’s what it felt like.
Mentally, we were all set to begin on Thursday (again with the ‘we’). We checked in for what we knew was going to be a long appointment, full of information on all the drugs Corey would be taking, along with his first round of chemotherapy. And while it was a long appointment (2+ hours jamming every inch of available space in our heads with So. Much. Information.), Corey did not receive his first dose of chemotherapy. He didn’t take any of his new meds that day, in fact.
One of the immunotherapy drugs that has to be given via infusion (which we just found out about on Wednesday when they called to set up the 2-hr infusion appointment) didn’t arrive in time so the whole process was pushed back a day. So to be honest, yeah, it felt like a big whoppin’ false start, emotionally speaking. Of course, I believe that everything happens for a reason so we just rolled with the punches, but man, it’s amazing how much you have to mentally gear up for these things. And remember, this is just from my perspective as the spouse, not the actual patient!
So Friday came, and it was “take two.”
The first item up on DAY ONE (take two) was to wake up early and take 10 (ten!) steroid pills. He’ll actually have to do this once a week — and the kids want to know if he’s going to turn into a professional athlete overnight and start playing for the Seahawks. (That’s one side effect we would wouldn’t mind! Haha!) And while it didn’t make him a professional athlete overnight, it did definitely make him buzz and gave him lots of energy. (Note to self, create a list of honey-dos for steroid day!)
In the afternoon, we headed back to the cancer center for the infusion and injection portion of treatment. We’re on the “blue team” and our nurse this day was Jacquie. She was great; it didn’t take her long at all to “get” Corey and start dishing it back to him the way he dishes it out. She got him all prepped, and the infusion was first. It’s a bone-strengthening drug designed to help his bones absorb calcium while the chemo is killing the cancerous plasma cells in his bone marrow. This is something he’ll have to do every 21 days. (Corey’s treatment is broken down into 21-day cycles. He’ll undergo anywhere from 4-8 of these cycles, depending on how his body responds to the treatment.) After the infusion was finished, she gave him his first injection of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy. This is really happening.
He’s actually on two chemo drugs. One is this injection he’ll have to go in for on days 1, 4, 8 & 11 of these 21-day cycles, and one is a pill he’ll take at home for the first 14 days of the 21-day cycle. Yes, I have created a calendar with which of his 5 drugs are to be taken at which times on which days, and yes, we’ll probably get one of those little pill boxes with compartments for M, T, W, Th, F, Sa, Su. We’ll be those people. But hey, they’re handy and it’s so much to keep straight!
The chemo pill he takes at home is the one they say will have the worst potential side effects. He took it before bed so he’d sleep through most of the yuck and, I’m not gonna lie, I woke up more than once throughout the night to check for a fever and make sure he seemed OK. “Why a fever?” you ask? Yeah, I have no idea. Not really sure what I was expecting, but it’s just what you do. I guess…
So here we are. Day Two. A day where Corey, who just finished his first infusion, injection & ingestion of cancer treatment drugs, made the kids Swedish pancakes for breakfast, fixed the lawn mower, mowed the lawn, visited with our neighbors – and wasn’t sick. Like, at all.
I’m not sure what I expected, but so far, so good. Half of me is waiting for him to begin a downward slide as more and more of the drugs enter his system and start taking over. But the other half of me shakes my head and says, “Oh ye of little faith!” We have certainly prayed – a lot – that this would go well, and we have friends and family literally all over the globe praying for the same, so as of right now, on the evening of Day Two, I will thank the Lord for His mercies and for a good day. Because whether things go well like they did today every day for the next year of treatment or they do end up taking a downward slide, I continue to believe in God’s sovereignty, His faithfulness and His goodness, and I will take each day as it comes, continuing to pray every day for complete healing.
By the way, here’s a text Corey sent me right after taking his first chemo pill at home. Not sure if these side effects are ones I can chalk up to the chemo drugs though…