So- Where were we? That’s right- the pregnancy BS! Thank the Lord that’s over with! In case you found yourself wondering what I would have done had the pregnancy been real: I would have discontinued chemo and resumed after delivery. It was precautionary chemo after all, not tumor shrinking, or life and death at the time chemo…But I never needed to make a decision, so we move forward!
Chemo sometimes gets fun nicknames- weird, yes? Adriamycin is often called The Red Devil. It looks like red Kool-Aid, and- get this- makes you pee red for a little while after you receive the infusion (speaking of peeing colors, after my lumpectomy, I peed blue for a day afterward, because the doctor injected me with blue dye to view my lymph nodes during surgery. Fun, right?!). Some people get Adriamycin through an I.V. bag, but I got mine as a “push” (the nurse pushes it into my port through a syringe). It was pretty damn weird watching this bright red liquid moving through the catheter tube into my chest- but I watched anyway, because I like watching that stuff! After I got the “push”, I got hooked up to the Cytoxin med, through an I.V. bag. That didn’t get a cool nickname…And it was boring as all hell to wait for the bag to finish dripping.
The nurse giving me the “push” of The Red Devil
My last 4 chemo treatments were of Taxol. TAXOL. This is a weird friggin medication, because the doctor tells you that you’ll probably tolerate it better than the first two meds, BUT- it has the potential to cause anaphylaxis, so you need to take steroid both the night before and the morning of treatment. The possibility of going into a life threatening allergic reaction scared the living crap out of me- so I don’t think I slept the night before the first Taxol treatment, but Thank Goodness- I had no reaction during the infusion- other than wanting anyone that was with me to piss off so I could take a nap! During one of these treatments, I was so relaxed that I purchased awesome Tom Jones tickets for the week after my last chemo treatment was due to be finished (and it was a very awesome Tom Jones concert!). About three days after having the Taxol, I would experience some intense body pain, and that lasted for around 2-3 days. I had two best friends help me through that body pain: CBD and Hyrdocodone!
You know, chemo’s NO joke, but it helps to really keep the mood as light as possible. During all of my chemo treatments, I maintained my sense of humor- because sometimes if you’re not laughing, you’re crying! My hair loss was a huge source of humor among my family- for instance, one day my daughter told me I looked like the painting “The Girl with the Pearl Earring”- So I took a photo to compare:
I see the resemblance…LOL!
Another running joke was that I felt like I looked like Uncle Fester, Mister Clean, Daddy Warbucks…You name the bald person, I looked like him!
Even when I got to the end of chemo, I wanted the world to know that I was done- and I saw the COOLEST, most fun shirt to wear! And then- we celebrated being DONE! Cancer is some serious shit- but you can always, ALWAYS find the humor in any situation- and it can totally help you get through!
The Last Chemo!
What better place to celebrate the end of chemo than VEGAS, BABY!
Jennifer Angarano Ricci is a wife, mother & creative soul-searcher. She is a musician, artist, and baker, and runs her home business Baked By Jen, in addition to running her local community theater group. She loves to sing, create and help others, and tries to connect all three passions whenever possible.