Chemo #4

I’m back from the hospital — temporarily.  Chemo #4 did not go as well as the others.  From the first, it was a near disaster.  I showed up all peppy and cheery (in a sweet-looking headwrap, pink hoodie, new jeans, and the pink(!) converse shoes that I’ve always wanted), and requested the phlebotomist (blood-drawer) that I had such a good experience with before.  She wasn’t there, so another guy helped me out, cheerily enough, but he used my bruise from last week’s draw, which hurt. 

Then we waited an hour to see my doctor — who wasn’t in — but the woman who trained her was.  She was fabulous — except that she had some bad news to tell me.  My bloodwork this week was not good.  My white blood cells are very low, and she had to really pore over my history to see if it would be safe to give me chemo.  You see, chemo kills the white blood cells (and the red blood cells, and the platelets), so if your counts are low to begin with, adding chemo could be very dangerous.

She settled on ok’ing the chemo today but adding a shot of Neulasta tomorrow to help boost my white blood cells.  I don’t know how it works (and don’t want to know, so please don’t tell me), but Kim over at The Merits of the Case has been getting it regularly, so I’m not afraid.  Even though I have to go back today (at a PRECISE time) to get shot with it in the stomach.

Then the experience in the chemo ward was bad. It was good in that I got my favorite chemo nurse (young, bright, and cheery), but bad in that she MISSED MY VEIN and blew another one.  Common enough in late chemo, but PAINFUL and disconcerting.

I didn’t really have a good time yesterday.

I wish I could add a tagline of positivity here, but I’m not sure what it would be.  Oh yeah, I got the chemo.  I’m halfway through.  I’m awake and alert.  And we’ll get the shot to help me out later today.  But it still really sucks.


43 Responses to Chemo #4

  1. Kelly says:

    I’m sorry that today didn’t go well for you.

    Thinking of you.

  2. ~v says:

    But on a really BRIGHT note, MSN has an article on IBC today – front and center on their homepage. Here is the link to the article:

    The home page is and the article is listed under “Today’s Picks”.
    Love your blog and read you daily – thank you!

  3. Kat says:

    Bless your heart. You had a very rough time. I’m sorry. I haven’t commented much lately, but I want you to know that I visit here often and I think of you and pray for you. Hang in there!


  4. Kim says:

    I am so sorry that chemo didn’t go well yesterday. That’s kind of like adding insult to injury. It’s bad enough without bumps in the road.

    As for the Neulasta, don’t be scared. It’s definitely nothing to be scared of, and much easier to handle than AC! The couple of days following my first injection were the worst…subsequent injections were much easier. It does hurt going in, so they usually administer it slowly. I have a friend who is an oncology nurse who regularly gives Neulasta in the stomach. She says that most people prefer that because it doesn’t seem to hurt as much. I get it in my arm, just because the thought of a needle in my stomach freaks me out a bit!

    After my first injection, I had pretty significant bone pain for a couple of days. My nurse told me that the pain is usually in the larger bones from the waist down, and for me that was correct. I took ibuprofin for the pain after the first one, but haven’t needed anything for pain since then.

    This injection and side-effects are nothing compared to everything else you’ve been through and will be well worth it to bring your WBC counts back up!

    Let us know how it goes, and take care of yourself for the next few days as the AC kicks in. I’m thinking about you!!!

  5. magpie says:

    Sorry that you had a bad day. My mother’s been on chemo for 2 1/2 years – and for the first two regimes she needed a lot of Neulasta and another one that perks up the red cells. Neither of those bothered her.

    Take care of yourself.

  6. Spacemom says:

    Bummer. That is a pain when they miss the veins.

    My cousin ended up needing a pint of Cleveland’s finest blood while on her first chemo. It really boosted her white blood cells back up.

    I guess in the grand scheme of things, what’s another shot?

    Hang in there today! Get rest and remember to stop and smell the ground in food on Widget’s hair!

  7. Oh, Whymommy, I’m so sorry you’re having a rough time. I wish there was something I could do for you or say to you to make it easier…

    Just know how much we all love you.

  8. imstell says:

    I am surprised to hear that you haven’t been getting neulasta after every chemo as a matter of course. My oncologist didn’t even give me an option. Perhaps that is why I had an easier time of it? In the stomach, tho? Mine was always given in the upper arm just like regular shots.

    Maybe you should ask to have a port-a-cath put in. With IBC you could be in for a long haul with chemo. You veins will be toast. The port is a huge help. The surgery was no fun but my port is not a problem at all. I have to leave it in for 5 years (that’s it’s life span). I got all my chemo treatments thru it as well as my blood draws, etc. It really saved my veins! Check into it!!!!

  9. Kristin says:

    It’s a good thing that you’re strong enough to complain? Though, you’re not really complaining. You’re so matter of fact. (I’d be whining something fierce. I’m a complainer.)

    Thinking of you and wishing you well.

  10. NoRegrets says:

    All the best to you.

  11. ~JJ! says:

    Sending you ALL my love.

    Why don’t you wrap yourself up in that gorgeous quilt that was made for you..Maybe it will help you relax!!!

    I wish I could bring you something to comfort you.

    Chicken Soup, a hug…I’m there in spirit.

  12. twithhoney says:

    I’m with imstell… ask about a port.
    The worst part of my hospital stay after the car accident was the multiple blood draws per day and non-stop IVs. My veins don’t do well with needles in the first place. But when I was offered a central line I was so happy. Anything to help save my veins and minimize the poking, prodding, bruising and pain was welcome.

    Hopefully that shot helps you out too!

  13. Ally says:

    Oh, WM, I’m so sorry your day was rotten. Blown veins and low blood counts. Painful, in every way. I’m here thinking of you and offering up prayers for you, that today will be much, much better.

  14. Katherine says:

    Take heart you’re doing great. Rest up and keep your spirits high. The Neulasta may be a bit rough, but remember that it’s another tool to help you get through this. I don’t want to freak you out or anything and this only comes from a good place, but keep your pain meds handy and don’t be afraid to speak up if you need more pain meds. Some people react badly to it (waving my hand around) not that it didn’t work I just had a lot of bone pain. Anyhow, you’re doing great and you’re in my thoughts.

  15. Just…hugs to you. And know that I’m here listening.

  16. Robin says:

    I’m sorry things didn’t go well today. Tomorrow will be better.

    With love,

  17. Margaret says:

    I’ve been lurking because I’m not a blogger and I feel way out of my league here (this is actually my first comment on a blog, too), but I had to de-lurk today because I just learned that a friend of a friend, the only other person I “know” with IBC, passed her 5-year survival mark last week, with no recurrence! On this hard, hard day, I thought it might give you a little extra boost of hope and faith to hear a happy ending.

    Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. You are my hero, and I pray for you every day.

  18. practiceliving says:

    I’m so sorry yesterday sucked. I hope the new drug helps.

    Lots of prayers and warm thoughts to you, WhyMommy.

  19. WorksForMom says:

    Sorry to hear that WhyMommy. Hoping and praying that tomorrow is a better day. And it will be.

  20. PunditMom says:

    I wish I had something better to say than, that sucks.

  21. canape says:

    Sweetie, I know it is your decision, and I’m with you however you decide, but I’m following suit here and going to nudge you towards getting the port. I don’t know your reasons for not, but I can imagine some pretty good ones. However, you have more of this to do, and then afterwards, they will still need to get to a vein quite often for awhile. Just reconsider it at least if you will.

    Enough of the lecture. Here’s a funny in an unfunny way snippit for you. Dad gave Mom shots in her stomach during chemo. Would you let a man with Parkinson’s stick a needle in you? Eek. That’s love, baby. True love.

  22. You are half way through. You are over the hump. Everyday brings you closer to the end of the chemo. Am thinking of you.

  23. Lynn in GA says:

    Whymommy, I’m a “retired” nurse and I’d have to urge you to get a central line, port, or PIC line. SOMETHING to help you not to have to endure the pain of constant pokes. Man, those IV’s hurt! It might be something you don’t really want to do, but I bet once you have it, you’ll be so glad you do. Honestly, if I were you and knowing what I do about medicine, etc., I would have asked for one before my first chemo. That really is how much I think it would benefit you!

    I hope your Neulasta does it’s thing and your counts go up soon! I’ll be praying for you, dear WhyMommy!

  24. BetteJo says:

    Yeah, like they all said.

    Thinking about you, hoping you have a better weekend.

  25. Stimey says:

    Maybe your tagline of positivity could be that no matter what, you’re still wearing good shoes!

    You have all my love. I hope your shot goes well and that you are able to get lots of rest this weekend and week. Halfway there!

  26. I think of you every single day, sending you love. On those horrible days, those days that beat you into a pulp, it’s okay to despair, to have little light to offer up here.

    That’s what we’re here for, to help you skim off the crud. Leave it here for us, let us suck out the snake bite. Then go and be where real-life people love you and hold you, and get yourself rested and restored.

    You’re doing it, whymommy. You’re moving forward, doggedly. Everyone out here is so proud of you, embracing you in whatever light we can send your way. Especially after a day like this.

  27. Susan K says:

    Oh my dear, Whymommy. And you with a needle aversion. I am so sorry. I’ve had a big needle in that area – not once, but twice. I was of “advanced maternal age” even with number 1, so had an amnio both times. Not fun, but actually not nearly as horrible as expected. I hope you found it not to be too, too awful, and that in the end it is worth it and you bounce back from this latest round even faster!!

    I think of you daily. Can I have a drink for you in Huntsville (after I have some brownies)? Just not wine (migraines) and not beer (I seem to have developed an allergy – a geologist who can’t drink beer!! the horror). SO it would need to be the hard stuff… 🙂 Oh, the sacrifices I make for you.

  28. Nancy says:

    Blown veins are no fun. I’m sorry to hear it.

    Tomorrow has to be better. It’s a new day.

  29. Tara-Lynn says:

    Hey Girl….so sorry that today was a tough one. Hang in there.

    Sending hugs your way.

  30. NoMommy says:

    Sending {{{Hugs}}} and hopes for a better day tomorrow.

  31. Arkie Mama says:

    Just want you to know I’m thinking of you.

    I hope tomorrow goes better.

    Hang in there — you’re halfway through.

  32. bananas says:

    So sorry to hear you had such a tough day. Hang in there. I hope next time is better.

  33. Jacquie says:

    Hugs sweetie Hugs!

  34. Alice C says:

    Focus on Margaret’s comment – you can get through this – other people have been through what you are going through and they are proof that you can beat this cruel disease.

  35. i can’t even imagine…you have my prayers.

  36. Indigo says:

    Just stumbled on your blog. I am a breast cancer survivor (how I hate that word) AND a nurse. Damn good at both actually. While I feel your huge pain at the terrible day you had, I also feel bad for the nurse who MISSED your vein. She/he must have felt awful. One of the things I find hard is being sympathetic to so many sides of our journey. Wishing you all the very best.

  37. lavenderblue says:

    Hey Whymommy, I just wanted you to know that there is someone over here in Australia thinking of you and praying for you and your precious family. I hope that you will start to feel the healing benefits of your treatment and that the side effects will not be too awful for you. Big hugs darling, hang in there, we are all barracking for you.

  38. Ashley says:

    I second the suggestion about having a port put in. My friend has one, and they put it in before her first treatment b/c they knew it would be tough without one.

    I’ve had bad experiences before with needles and veins b/c mine are small and uncooperative, and it is AWFUL. I have lots of anxiety about it, too, so that just makes it worse. I’d faint, but I’m usually already lying down given my fainting history!

    best wishes for a good day today.


  39. claire says:

    get a line … please … missing a vein is The. Worst. /shiver/ the slightest whisper of a touch on that arm was more than i could take – in the end the only way i found i could cope was to wrap it up in an elastic bandage so it was totally isolated from life. i let it out later for good behaviour and now it’s back in normal life.
    hang in there … you’re winning

  40. […] Don’t Have To Have A Lump To Have Breast Cancer My friend, WhyMommy, has reached the halfway point in her chemotherapy treatment. In July, she wrote about the type of breast cancer she is fighting. […]

  41. Totally sucks. I predict you will soon be taking a fun road trip with your family (love the ability to forecast future posts…hahhaha ; ) )

  42. […] do weekly chemo, I am stronger today than I was a month ago.  I am stronger today than I was after my last AC treatment, actually.  Since I’m on a new weekly regimen, with a new drug, I only get a fraction […]

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