Chemo Orientation = information overload!

Scripps Torry Pines Cancer Center offers a “Chemo Orientation” to all new chemo patients.  Our oncologist recommended we attend.  So we attended the weekly orientation yesterday afternoon.  The hour class provided us with the reality of what was in store for us with Patty’s next battle. 

There was me and Patty and another woman and her family attending the class.  It sounded like the woman had the same diagnosis as Patty and her chemo was starting the week after Patty’s.  The nurse facilitating the class was very matter of fact when discussing this issue.  She started the class by saying:  “The reason you’re going to go through chemo is because we’re going to cure you from cancer!”  This was a statement both Patty and I hung on to throughout the next hour and will be hanging onto throughout the next few months to come.  The word “cure” will keep us going!  Patty and I went into “information overload” for the remainder of the presentation.  Her next statement was: “Yes, you will lose your hair.  You may lose  your eyebrows and eyelashes, but everything will begin growing back about three weeks after your final treatment.”  This statement was followed other side effects such as fatigue, nausea, low blood count etc etc etc.  Don’t expose yourself to too much sun.  Make sure you wear sunscreen.  Wear sunglasses if you lose your eyelashes.  Don’t expose yourself to anything that can make you sick… the cat box, fruit that doesn’t have a hard skin, acidic drinks such as lemonade or tomato juice.  Make sure you do this and definitely make sure you don’t do that.  It was really a ton of information that she provided.  Thank God we’ve got handouts that we can review.  The nurse then took us for a tour of the room/ward where they administer the chemo.  It’s a newly remodeled room and was very comfortable.  It still seemed like a hospital even though they have comfy chairs, a TV with a DVD player in your specific area and a view of Torrey Pines with a golf course in the forefront and a million dollar view of the ocean.  Patty’s treatments will take anywhere between three and four hours so it’s awesome that they provide whatever they can to make her comfortable during this time.  I’m guessing there were five or six people in the area receiving their treatment when we were there.  The youngest was a woman in her 20’s and the oldest was around 80.  Everyone smiled as we walked past them and all, but one, had friends and family with them. 

The class concluded  and Patty and I left feeling a little overwhelmed.  This whole journey, the diagnosis, the mastectomy and now chemo, are now a reality!   As we entered the parking lot I asked Patty how she felt.  She, half-joking, said:  “I feel like I want to throw up!”

We can do this!  August 31st is right around the corner!


5 thoughts on “Chemo Orientation = information overload!

  1. Ed and Patty: I know EXACTLY how you feel with the overload of information. One difficult thing for women on chemo is no chocolate! 😦 Also, no fried foods. Fortified drinks have lots of calories, protein and nutrition. As my mom and I were told at our orientation, it’s like she’s pregnant again. The best advice I can give you going through this all is “cease the moment!” When Patty is hungry and wants a particular food – get it! My mom craves Burger King and just has the whopper but it’s one of those things that if she’s even thinking about it but not sure yet, I will get it for her. There is a cookbook out there and I think it’s called Cooking for Cancer. You can make certain items that will fit with what is bothering her, neutrapenic, mouth sores, etc. The other thing I can say is “storage containers for food”. If you need any other suggestions, because you will look for any suggestions when going through this, get ahold of Kathy and I will try to help.

    Hey, the way I look at chemo is now you are in the preventative stage. It’s just that extra insurance! YOU CAN DO THIS PATTY!!! May God hold you in his arms and cradle you and bring you just overall peace during all this.

    • Hi: Thanks so much for the info and for the prayer. I am ready for the fight. I was with Kathy this weekend. She has been a terrific support for me. I love her very much.


  2. Kathy came out this weekend with the Betty Crocker Living with Cancer cookbook in hand! It’s an awesome book and addresses recipes for whatever is ailing you while going through chemo! I’ve already gone through the book page by page and have some great ideas for “make aheads.”

    Thanks for all your support!


  3. Dear Ed & Patty,

    To read your story thus far is amazing. The challenges thrown at you both and the positive message you send out is amazing. It makes me sad to think of your struggles but I still smile because of the love, support, and strength you show. The two of you are amazing and insperational.

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