Last evening I wrote about two different journeys that shared the same date. I am waiting to hear the results of the “kid” who had his first PET scan post treatment, of which hopefully he and his family will hear the word “remission.”
But today was my father’s first treatment against lung cancer. Surgery was originally expected to take care of the cancer, but it was later felt that some preventative chemo would best provide and maintain remission for him.
My father had confessed to me, just moments before his appointment, he had contemplated backing out completely. He still was not convinced that he could endure the toxic compounds that were going to be pushed through his veins. But here we were at 11:45am walking into the lobby of the Dorothy Morgan Cancer Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital.
He registered and was then escorted back into the chemotherapy suite. The entire room ran the length of the building, with a chemo chair in front of each window. I counted close to fifteen. My dad was walked back to the 11th chair and sat down. The nurse inserted his IV line which would facilitate the poison that was going to work for the good to get rid of my father’s cancer.
Then the last thing I thought would have happened, happened. Rose, his nurse, asked him if he would like anything to eat. She rattled off a list of items from sandwiches to snacks and beverages.
The first medicines administered were to handle the obvious nausea that may occur. The whole time, Rose is explaining everything that is happening. She is a good comforter. In less than an hour, my father was given the first drug to make sure his cancer went away, and stayed away. The drug took about 3 1/2 hours to go through the IV lines into his system. This was the one drug that my father had been concerned about as there was a good chance of having an allergic reaction to it. That was the bad news. But the good news was, if he did have an allergic reaction to it, they would know within the first fifteen to twenty minutes, and would be able to respond to the reaction. After the first half hour, we all breathed a sigh of relief as there was no reaction. We would just wait for the drug to finish its administration.
Once that first drug was done, on came the second drug. This would take about a half an hour to be administered, but it did not carry the allergic reaction risk to it that the first drug did.
By the end of the first treatment, nearly six hours later, my dad uttered something I never thought I would ever hear a cancer patient ever say about chemotherapy, and I’m sure not something that is heard every day in the chemo suite, “that actually was pretty good.”
I feel good for my father. Unlike my first chemotherapy appointment, where it was a race against the clock to get home before I would puke my guts up, my dad felt as if when he had walked through the door of the chemo suite. The first chemo appointment for him was going to be crucial as he had not made up his mind yet that morning that he was even going to go through chemo. But once there, depending on how he felt with the chemo, would most likely determine if he would be back for #2. So far so good.