Re-Cap of 1st Chemo Experience


I was a bit nervous about going for my first chemo treatment. After arriving at the clinic, me and two others had to wait for a Dr. to come in to the clinic before we could be begin. We waited about 40 minutes for the Dr. to show up.

Once in the back, we had our choice of easy chairs to sit it. Nurse Helen sat with me and another patient because this was the first treatment for both of us, and he has something similar to me. She explained the major drugs and their possible side effects. Then she took our blood pressure, pulse and temperature.

My heart rate and blood pressure was too high, due to nerves, and I was given an Ativan to calm me down. It worked like a charm after about 15 minutes all levels were normal.

They first look for a vein in your arm where they will insert the IV needle. They had a bit of trouble with my veins in my left arm, which are pretty good most of the time. I think my veins knew what was coming and were shy! 🙂 Here is what it looks like today…

Site of 1st attempt to get into my vein

Site of 1st attempt to get into my vein

She then went to my right arm and was successful!

They start you off with a saline solution and give you two Tylenol. After the saline we were given Benedryl. There were two other solutions given before we got to the main event…Sadly today I cannot remember the name of these two. But the third drip was a steroid. Something that might keep me up at night. After each drip bag and before starting the next they check your blood pressure, pulse and temperature.

After the third solution I started to get cold. They gave me a warm blanket. As this was dripping into my vein, the solution not the blanket :), I looked around the room. All 14 chairs were occupied. Several people had family members with them.

If you get hungry or thirsty, they keep four different juices there for you to chose from, a number of snack chips, nuts, granola bars, and cookies. I am not much for the snack stuff, and was glad that I brought a cooler filled with what I like.

By the time the fourth bag was administered I was having an allergic reaction to the adhesive from the tape used to hold the needle in place. My skin was red and the needle felt like it was burning. Nurse Helen called Nurse Cindy over to re-insert the needle back to my left arm.

The first of the real chemo drugs given to me is called Rituxan. This drug is a monoclonal antibody. The antibodies in this mixture focus on specific cancer cells. The monoclonal antibody fits into the cancer cell like a key into a lock. My own immune system then gets recruited and attacks these cells allowing healthy b-cells to regenerate. This drip took about an hour.

Again, they check my vital signs and then move on to the next drug called Treanda. This targets the fast growing cells in your body. In mine, it will be going not only after the cancer cells, but will also affect my hair, mouth, stomach and bowels, and nails. With this drug one needs to consume 2-3 quarts of fluid over 24 hours.

No need to go into side effects as my affirmation is: “I will get through chemotherapy with little to no side effects.”

After the treatment I mostly felt tired. When I got home I found myself very hungry. I had already devoured what was in my lunch box while at the clinic, so I was a bit surprised. I snacked for a bit on good stuff, and then had a bowl of soup.

I went off to bed to read for a bit. I think I got up about 5 times to urinate due to all the fluids I had been drinking since coming back home. At one point I started to feel nauseous but that went away.

This morning I feel pretty good. Just a bit fatigued. My arms? Here is what they look like today!

My arms this morning

My arms this morning

Pretty aren’t they? 🙂

We go back this afternoon for another infusion of Treanda.

Mile marks: Day one of chemo down, and 24 hours of non-smoking! On to day two!

Thanks for stopping by and reading today! Sorry that I got a bit wordy!

Be well – Jane ♥

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11 thoughts on “Re-Cap of 1st Chemo Experience

    • Thank you for taking the time to read this today! It does matter! If I can help one person than I have met my goal! Be well Marcy and thank you for your comment! Be well – Jane

  1. Remember those are love bites on your arms from God because He is the one making you well. Great job of letting us know how it is going. Love you.

  2. My first round of Rituxan was pretty rough. What now takes about 3 hours took 13 hours on my first time. I had fever, chills, nauseas & low blood pressure. They had to keep stopping and giving me time to recover & then other meds to counteract the Rituxan side effects. We started in the treatment room at 1:30 pm & finished about 2:30 am. What a day & night! My first protocol was Rituxan-IV & Revlimid pills & that was changed after 3 months to Rituxan-IV and then Imbruvica pills which is working so far … lymph nodes shrunk & hot spots gone. They kicked both off with 5 weekly Rituxan-IVs. Now I get Rituxan every 4 weeks. Side effects … fatigue & sometimes muscle or joint pains … also a rash & occasional pimple on my nose. Blood counts have remained good except for one spell that I received Neupogen injections to bump the counts up. Diagnosis here is SLL-stage 4A

    • My first round was about 7 hours. They talked to me for about an hour before starting. Then they gave me tylenol. Followed this with 2 meds to take down my immune system, one of which was a steroid to combat nausea. Decadron is the name. 4th IV was the Rituxan, followed by Treanda. Lack of sleep, fatigue, a rash, my legs feeling as if I am laying on a sand beach and weird sensations in the tips of my fingers were my side effects. Thank you for sharing with me!

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