[cancer] Chemotherapy, day one of session two

Yesterdy was day one of session two of chemotherapy for me. Each session last about 54 hours, from midmorning Friday to mid-afternoon Sunday. The first six hours is at the infusion center at OHSU’s waterfront clinic (a/k/a the Center For Health and Healing). Then I wear a takehome pump for 48 more hours.

Intake was simpler this time, because we knew what to expect. There also wasn’t a bunch of training, like last time. However, and I did have a terrifically entertaining conversation with one of the oncology nurse practitioners. This arose from a discussion of my side effects list [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]. I’m not sure if the NP was impressed or appalled at the detail in the list, but we established several things, including that I did not have thrush, and that my fluid intake was insufficient.

The entertainment value was in a discussion of sex and side effects. We talked about the difficulty of condoms when erectile dysfunction was in play. allowed as how I did have an exceptional libido. The NP did suggest a lot more fluids might help with the ED, which was something I’d never heard. We also talked about the risks of penetrative sex without condoms with a premature withdrawal strategy. Basically, my risk of bacterial infection from that vector is sufficiently low not to worry her, but the possibility of chemo drugs in pre-come is still an issue. The prospect was left open. The NP (a woman in her fifties, and a former AIDS educator in times past) laughed and told us that no one ever asks these questions. She said, “I wish you could talk to some of my younger patients, because none of them will ask an old lady like me about sex.”

After that, and checking in for the third time (once for blood test, once for oncological consult, once for infusion — all at the same desk, all at the same facility, but separate check-ins for insurance tracking purposes, ahem), I got to sit in the big chair for many hours. The next chair over was occupied by a funny old woman who I’m pretty sure is an ageing protohippie, her partner with her. I knew a lot more about what to expect this time, including having my brain fry out on Oxaliplatin. Our only visitor was , as Mom and Dad and were all out of town, and didn’t arrive til today. So it was quite low key and undramatic.

Now I’m having all the same effects as last session. Mild headache, extreme fatigue, fuzzy headedness, hard-of-thinking-ness. At least constipation has not taken me over, unlike last time. just fetched from the train station, so we’re all here now.

And damn, I’m tired. But so far, so okay.