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The Chemo Journey Begins

My wiser self understands that I probably shouldn’t be writing something today that is going to exist forever in the vast internet world.  I’m a little light-headed due to a combination of the multiple medical treatments and substances I have experience in the last couple of days.  As you can see I am doing what I often do; ignoring my wiser self.  The combination of surgery anesthesia, pain pills, chemo medications and assorted medicines to offset the side effects of chemo may make for some writing that I will regret later, and I am sure my wiser self will be quick to say “I told you so.”

I reported to the hospital at 5:30 a.m. yesterday to undergo the short surgical procedure to implant the port that they use to deliver my chemotherapy treatments.  It is not exactly the kind of chest implant a woman might dream of.  It probably costs about the same though!

The port is completely under the skin.  To access it the chemo nurse inserts a needle through the skin and portal septum.  The medication flows throught the needle, into the portal chamber and through the catheter directly into the bloodstream.

 Port for Chemotherapy

The best description I can think of to describe my reaction to drugs I received in the first hour of treatment would be “woozy.”  The other lady in the room seems to be feeling the same way, so I guess that is normal. 

Chemotherapy Room

The tilted look of that photo matches the feeling I had as they started those drugs into my system.  My quilt from the Going to Pieces quilt club in Peoria, Illinois helped me settle in and get comfy for the ride ahead.

Gone to Pieces Quilt Club Quilt

Perhaps you are insatiably curious, asking yourself,  ”So what was she most worried about as she approached chemo?”   If so, it’s your lucky day.  I’m about to enlighten you by sharing some thoughts I jotted down a few nights ago.  On the other hand, if  you have your own life and your own set of difficulties to contemplate  you might want to click the red X in the corner of the screen and get busy folding laundry or filing those papers.  It’s your call.

Here we go. 

Eleven Things I That Worry Me About Chemotherapy

11.  Missing out on things.  My husband and daughter will be traveling to Zambia this summer without me.  I am at peace about not being able to make the trip that has been such a part of my life for many years, but I still have a few twinges of sadness.  I also wonder if I will be able to attend weddings and other important events in the lives of the people I love.

10.  Looking weird with no hair.  Hopefully only my close family will be subjected to the sight of my bald head.  For the rest of you I will be sporting a wide assortment of scarves for the next few months.

9.  Nausea, vomiting, and other side effects. Not exactly something to look forward to.  Hopefully the prescriptions for anti-nausea they have given me will be effective. 

8.  Steroid side effects.  Nothing can get a girl down like puffing up and looking like a marshmallow.

7.  Infections.  Don’t know if I’m more concerned about getting them or being a pain for having to be extra-careful to avoid them.  I hate focuing on trying to not get sick.  Germaphobia can be pretty annoying to innocent bystanders.

6.  Not feeling well enough to be productive.  There are so many things that need to be done, and even more things I want to do.  Many projects are floating in my head, now that school is out it is project time!

5.  Orchestrating the trips to my treatments.  The office is three hours from my house.  There is no shortage of volunteers willing to drive me, but I hate to inconveniece my friends, so I want to be wise and thoughtful in working out a schedule.

4.  Food decisions.  Choosing food seems to be complicated.  Some foods must be avoided due to suppressed immunity, so some of the foods that seem to be the most nutritious are off limits.  Then there is the nausea issue.  And the intestinal effects issue. The avoid-that-food-because- it might-cause-cancer issues.  Not to mention the I-really-want-to-eat-that-but-it’s-not -good-for-me issue.  So many issues. 

3.  School.  I’m missing the last couple of days of school, so I still have things to finish for this year.  I need to schedule staff development classes.  Looming ominously on the horizon is the 2011-2012 school year, with many budget-related changes occurring.  Thinking ahead to the fall makes me quake in my boots.  So I’m not thinking ahead much.

2.  The long-term impact on my body.  Will the chemo be effective?  Do the benefits out weigh the cost? 

1.  My family’s emotional well-being.  What impact is this having on them?  Is my illness causing disruption in their lives?  No doubt about that.  Not just a pebble dropped on the quiet surface of a pond.  More like a boulder.

So now you know.

Here is something else you need to know.    What I need to know. I ran across this scripture earlier in the week and again today. 

The Lord your God is with you…

He will take great delight in you. 

He will quiet you with his love. 

He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

Think I will be quiet and listen to His song.


  1. Lisa
    Posted 27 May ’11 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    You are so very special to me. You and your family have been being held in my heart yesterday and today…every day. I would take this for you if I could, dear friend.
    You are one of the strongest, most faithful women I know. Now is the time to especially lean on our Papa God. I know you are.
    I hope to be able to see you soon. Until then, rest and heal in His arms. Love, Lisa Foster

  2. Posted 27 May ’11 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for writing this, Laura!

    You win the award for best-looking-chemo-patient ever. We love you very much and thank God for you daily. Thank you for posting the pictures; I feel like I’m in the room with you. (IF you feel up to it, send me an email with your food restrictions, and I’ll write a custom A&T post with ingredients that you can eat!)

    Your strength and courage inspire us. Love, M+K

  3. Posted 27 May ’11 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for the blog visit and kind comments. Now after reading your post, I wish I could give you those cute cupcakes! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the scripture. So wonderful to know that the Lord is always with us. A prayer for you :)

  4. Alison Thompson
    Posted 28 May ’11 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Hi friend! Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts. I am so glad to have specific things to put before God on your behalf. I agree with Katrina…you look great in your chemo chair…as in…strong and ready to take it on! Don’t forget to post some pictures along the way of the awesome scarves you use. I know you will look beautiful. :) We sure love you!

  5. Charme Robarts
    Posted 28 May ’11 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Laura, I wept with you as I read your list of things your are worried about. You are doing yourself and everyone else a great favor by saying what you feel. There are no beatitudes assigned to stoicism. We are human, we cry, we worry, we hope. Much love, Charme

  6. Posted 30 May ’11 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I’ve read this post three times over the last few days…twice alone and once with Philip. (We agree with everyone else that you must certainly be the best-lookin’ chemo patient they’ve ever seen!) Your honest moved us, your optimism cheers us…thank you for sharing what’s on your heart!

    P.S. At church last night…it was so good to hear your husband speak, listen to your daughter sing, and to see your son’s charming smile again, but nothing was as wonderful as the THUMBS UP you gave us. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it. You have no idea how much the ladies of HOPE watch and learn from Allene, Laura, and Jessalyn…

    • Posted 21 Jul ’16 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Haajhlulle! I needed this-you’re my savior.

    • Posted 31 Dec ’16 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      If I communicated I could thank you enough for this, I’d be lying.

    • Posted 1 Jan ’17 at 4:37 am | Permalink

      It’s posts like this that make surfing so much pleasure

    • Posted 6 Feb ’17 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      Vložte komentář Můžete využít následující HTML tagy: <a> <abbr> <acronym> <b> <blockquote> <cite> <code> <del> <em> <i> <q> <strike> <strong> /* */Prosím opiÅ¡te “7f3329″: Leave this field empty please:

  7. Posted 30 May ’11 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I clicked over to visit your blog and wound up reading about your chemotherapy treatment. I am praying for you. Hang it there and thanks for this post. You are right to be concerned about life but you seem to have it in good perspective. You have the Lord’s love and presence with you at all times. Hugs and will be checking in on you.

  8. Posted 31 May ’11 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Hi Laura,
    I wish you all the best on your road to recovery.
    Much love,

    • Posted 21 Jul ’16 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      De skriver jo at ombygningen er færdig, men at A&F har udsat Ã¥bningen af butikken af nogle – indtil videre – hemmelige Ã¥rsager – som ikke skulle have noget med den økonomiske krise at gøre.Det kunne ellers have været cool, for sÃ¥ ville KBH være by nr. 2 uden for Nordamerika, som fik sig en A&F bu3kj!&#82t0;ieg venter ogsÃ¥…

  9. Posted 16 Jun ’17 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    It’s actually a great and helpful piece of
    information. I am happy that you simply shared this useful info with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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