Update: I survived my chemo yesterday and those infernal (arctic!!!) cold caps. My doctor did not agree to raise my dose from 60 mg to the "normal" 75 mg yesterday, after all. When I begged her to she said, "Katherine, the last time you got that dose you thought you had had a stroke!" I remembered, hung my head, and mumbled, "Um, yeah, I guess you're right." So calmer heads -- and the lighter dose -- prevailed.
My treatment went well, but it was a long day. We dragged along the two enormous coolers filled with 100 pounds of dry ice and the dreaded (but effective) cold caps, and I managed to survive them without pain pills this time.
To pass the time while my head froze, my husband and I logged onto the the hospital Wi-Fi and had some fun writing back to Nigerian scammers. We took our cue from Ebola Monkey Man - a hilarious, but filthy R-rated website run by a guy who has practically made a career out of scamming the scammers. I may post my own silly exchanges at some future point.
Though the chemo infusion itself only took 90 minutes (30 for the Herceptin and 60 for the Taxotere), we were at the center ALL DAY. There are so many steps involved in a day at the chemo center:
* Drive an hour to Boston in the pouring rain and dense traffic
* Park my car with the valet (thank goodness)
* Check in for my mandatory pre-chemo blood test
* Sit in the waiting room til my name is called
* Head to a room for a nurse to access my port and draw my blood
* Take the elevator to the breast cancer center and check in
* Refuse the RFID tracking device they always try to give me
* Sit around the waiting room til my name is called for a vital sign check
* Get blood pressure, temperature and weight taken
* Return to the waiting room
* Get called into an examining room to meet with my oncologist
* Cool my heels for another 20 minutes waiting for her to show up
* Meet for 20 minutes with the oncologist and TDM1 trial nurse
* Head back to the waiting room
* Finally get called in for infusion; head to either a bed or a reclining chair
* Get bags of liquid medication hooked up to my port
* Wait 90 minutes for the medicine to make its way into my body
* Disconnect the port access tubing
* Head to the car to make the trip home
Yesterday all of these steps went well, and I thought I was doing great until I stood up to leave. I suddenly had no balance and stumbled into the wall, to my and my husband's vast surprise, and had to be wheeled to the elevator in a wheelchair.
Today I am doing pretty well. I got up early and even wrote a press release, with a bit of help. I am walking and talking normally, and I have the energy to type this blog entry. (That may be all I accomplish today, though!) Thanks for all the prayers and warm wishes.