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Ellen 1 - Chemo Side Effects 0

This afternoon I was sitting here eating a grapefruit, watching the kids play outside in the sunshine and smiling at Imogen.  Is this normal? 

My first round of chemotherapy has been pretty uneventful so far - and I'm very happy about this, it's remarkable, in fact!  I've had some minuscule queasiness (far less than first trimester morning sickness) and a little dip in my appetite.  My best guess is that my particular cocktail of anti-nausea meds is just what the doctor ordered - well, at least I hope she did - as they are definitely working for me.  Add to this the fact that life is just far too busy with the kids...I mean, who has time for side effects with 3 under 5?  Sheesh!  This weekend was a typically normal one of breaking up fights, cleaning up spilled food and trying to get the kids to nap.  While my husband did that, I took care of the baby! 

Now, I'm certain the actual chemo drugs are in there doing battle with the cancer nasties as I type this - it's just not at all evident from the outside.  I'm told Cycle 1 is typically easier and that the effects of chemo are cumulative, so I'll enjoy this easy ride while I'm on it.  I'm going to see if I can make Cycle 1 a blueprint for the remaining 7.  Idealistic and pipe-dreaming, perhaps, but why not?

You may be interested in knowing what the actual treatment felt like.  If so, feel free to read on.  <Insert Dr. Who theme song>.

It was a strange yet comforting experience entering the land of "chemo pods".  The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre is a beautiful space.  Even more beautiful is the branch at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital, but my treatments (at least the first couple) were scheduled at the General Hospital which can handle a larger number of patients.  Crossing fingers that I may get some cycles at the QCH as it is a far quieter, community-based hospital.  And the Tim Horton's line is much much shorter.

The chemo treatment floor was separated into 6 pods, each with 6 beds/chairs.  I selected one with a window view.  There was a lot of pre-treatment chit chat regarding side effects and meds, and then the actual treatment started.  It was very surreal watching the red drug slowly inching its way down the IV line - very Sci-Fi.  I imagined a microscopic army entering my veins and spreading out to attack the cancer nasties.  I said a quick prayer that my healthy cells would go covert and remain untouched (again, pipe-dreaming) and rang my husband on the cell as the liquid reached my port-a-cath.  I then braced for the worst.

But it didn't come.  My head got groggy, sort of how you feel when you are suddenly awakened from a deep sleep, except that it lasted for several hours.  I took the anti-nausea meds as prescribed and they made me super sleepy so I went to bed after we put Imogen down for the night.  That night and each night since she has slept through the night (minimum 5 hour stretch), and last night she slept from 9:30 p.m. til 4:30 a.m.!  Yes, I can officially say that we have that dream baby who sleeps through the night at 7 weeks!

My older kids have been busy with creative play, taking imaginary x-rays, laughing about how silly it is going to be when my hair falls out and watching me pump and dump what we've now deemed the "yucky breast milk".  My how things have changed!

I was able to successfully wean Imogen (if one can, in fact, attribute success to such a feat) and she is slowly "warming" to the bottle.  Extra cuddles are a staple though, much to my delight!  We have definitely had our rough patches this weekend, particularly at the last feed before bedtime which was always our treasured nursing time.  I think she bore a hole through the sleeve of my shirt tonight, and am pretty sure I caught her trying to latch on to my husband!   

Now for my blessings report:

Divine dental intervention
It was recommended that I get an emergency dental check-up prior to treatment to be in top form.  With my schedule super tight, I somehow managed to find a new dentist in my own neighbourhood, who, after hearing of my predicament, scheduled me for a full visit (exam, x-rays...cause I needed more of those...and cleaning) later that same afternoon!  To top it off, this dentist bills my insurance company directly so my share of the almost $300 bill cost me only $65! 

Seniors Discount?
Who knew I would qualify for the same discount as the over 65s for prescriptions?  That is a flat rate of $2 per prescription, and then my employer's health care plan covers 80% of I was stuck with a big fat bill of $.35 for five medications.  Mind-boggling.  Yay Canada.

Texts and Emails and Blog Comments, oh my!
What a tremendous outpouring of support I've had these past few days!  Keep your messages coming, I am getting each and every precious one...  



  1. I'm very glad to hear that you're feeling ok-ish! I know exactly what you mean about watching the Red Devil creep it's way up the IV and waiting for the world to come to an end. And then it doesn't. And life goes on. Keep on keepin' on my girl.

  2. hi Ellen - wow WOMAN U Amaze ME! I'm so happy that you are doing OK - yeah! - and Imogen is a beautiful beautiful child (so are your other 2 eh!) - and thank you for the reminder to look at my blessings - - I needed that reminder today. with much love - Auramarina

  3. Hi EL! I am so amazed at you. I was away all weekend worrying and arrived home to such an uplifting. positive and encouraging entry. You make me see my world in an entirely different light. I Love you. Mel xoxo


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