10 January 2011

whatz u mean I iz allergic to platinum?

Here I sit in the Desensitization Clinic at Dana-Farber waiting for a long day of infusion - longer than usual. But how did I get here?

My last infusion was December 14. It was progressing like any other infusion day, except I was running late due to my appointment time changing and me not keeping on top of it. Dan was my ride for the day, and after all the rushing thru bloodwork and visit with the doctor, I was cleared for treatment. Dan left to go do what Dan does, and I settled in with my netbook, knitting, mp3 audiobook... I had gotten through the first leg of chemo (pre-meds and 3 hours of Taxol) and was moving on to the Cisplatin when the trouble happened.

I had to twinkle like there was no tomorrow - I had received upwards of 2000 cc’s of fluid - but the nurse wanted to hook up my Cis first. She hooked it up, than another nurse had to come double check it before she could start it dripping. Once that happened, I was finally able to go relieve my now near-bursting bladder. When I came out, there was Dan waiting for me. I settled back in my chair and we began to chat about his day. And then suddenly, I felt red. And Dan confirmed that I was red. So I rang rang rang for the nurse, and before I knew it there were 7 or 8 people around me: monitoring my ever-rising blood pressure, pumping drugs into my IV, hooking up an EKG (and having trouble doing so due to my many layers of socks and long-johns), assuring me that I would be OK once the Benadryl kicked in. Which I was. But because of my reaction, they had to stop my chemo (I missed most of the Cisplatin and all of the study drug Avastin).

Then I had three weeks off while my family & my Tall Man visited. We had a wonderful time - we played many rounds of Telestrations, had a terrific Snow Storm (complete with a name and theme music), went tromping around in said snow like little children, eating too much, napping, playing with Katie and Nola, chatting, catching up, and on and on. I even went sledding on the same hill I had gone sledding on as a kid living in Connecticut, the one behind my preschool.

And as things go, once everybody left it was back to reality. For me, that meant back to the doctor; this time Dr L, the allergist that was going to determine my level of sensitivity to platinum, specifically to Cisplatin. And she explained a few things to me. First, now that I’ve developed an allergy to Cisplatin, I will always be allergic to it. So whenever I need to have chemo, I will have to go through this process. Second, the process consists of splitting my normal dose into three parts of different dilutions, and the infusion will take about 5-6 hours. Third, they will do what they have to so that I can get my Cisplatin.

So that brings us to today, here in the Desensitization Clinic. I got to Boston yesterday (after of course getting lost) and stayed in a nearby hotel overnight. I got to Dana-Farber a little before 7 this morning. It is now 10 minutes to 9 and I have just started getting my pre-meds. This takes about and hour, followed by 3 hours of Taxol. Then the Cisplatin will begin - the first two bags take an hour each and the third bag takes about three hours. Then it’s just about an hour of Avastin, and I can go back to the hotel. Which by my estimation will mean I’m leaving here just before 8pm. That’s just about the time I normally leave here, but I will have put in a much longer day in the infusion process, with the possibility of much more Benadryl.

Soon the first dose will kick in and I will be asleep. But until then, I’m enjoying my toasted unbuttered bagel and orange juice, watching Law & Order reruns, and reading Great Exectations on my new Kindle!

Thanks for reading and for supporting me in this fight! Love you!