Anastastia had her first round of chemotherapy on Tuesday, January 8th at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood.
“Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the thing I worried about most was getting my chemotherapy. If you’re not familiar with cancer (which I’ve never been exposed to someone going through this before) the only things you know are from what you’ve seen on tv or have researched online. There was a lot of researching online for me. I needed to know what to expect, even talking to survivors helped with that but I know everybody’s body is different. I was anxious, so anxious to see how it would effect mine. Days leading up to chemo I would have dreams about it, I had this one dream where as soon as they gave me the medication I just passed out. Seems silly, but it was just a dream. Hours leading up to chemo I couldn’t sleep at all. My boyfriend Nick stayed up with me until it was time to finally go. My best friend Briana came with us. She has been my friend for over 10 years now and any surgery or appointments I’ve had, she’s never missed a single one. Now I call her my “breast friend”. On the way to the hospital I was so nervous I couldn’t stop sweating, I had my window all the way down in 40 degree weather and that still wouldn’t cool me down. Nick turned on “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and blasted it on the radio on repeat to help with the energy.
When I got to my Oncologists office it was honestly a blur, I saw her first before anything and I can’t tell you a damn thing she said to me. I walked by all of the other patients in their chairs and couldn’t help but to be curious about their experiences. Surprisingly there was a lot of people there, so we went to the back room where it was a little more quiet. Once I got back there it was just so nice to have all of this support around me. I had Nick, Briana and Mike there to comfort me and make me laugh.
This first thing they had to do was access my port, which I had gotten surgery for the day before. Hands down worst part of my day, hurt like a bitch. It was like someone was digging their fingers in a open wound. Partially my fault because I forgot to put the numbing cream on prior to going, lesson learned.
The chemotherapy medicine that was administered first is Adriamycin. It was this big syringe filled with what looked like red cool aid, unfortunately people call it “the red devil” because of how aggressive this medication is. Just a few of the side effects from this are pain, vomiting, nausea, low blood counts, hair loss, mouth sores, oh and infertility! I was literally given a packet of side effects, I could go on and on. But! It doesn’t mean I’ll get any of there side effects, it’s just a possibility. The second chemo medication I received is called Cytoxan. This medication was just administered through a drip, and there’s a ton more side effects which are somewhat similar to Adriamycin.
While all of this was going on I was wearing a cold cap to help with one of the most common side effects called Alopecia (hair loss). I love my hair but that’s not the reason I want to keep it. If I lost my hair people would look at me and just see cancer and feel bad for me. I don’t want ANYONE to feel bad for me. Some people might not even recognize me or want to come near me. I have a niece that’s 7 and a nephew that’s 5, they somewhat understand what I’m going through but I don’t want them to be afraid of me. My nephew already had a difficult time coming near me in just a hospital bed after my first surgery. I know wigs are an option, but some of the nice wigs are just as expensive as the cold caps. So why not keep your own hair, keep something of your body normal while your going through all of these changes.
The cold caps needed to be 32 degree celsius and needed to be in dry ice to get that cold. Have you ever had a brain freeze? Well times that by 10. I had to have my cap on an hour before chemo, during chemo and 3 hours after chemo. They were also changed every 25-30 minutes...Talk about work. Thank god I had my support team with me to help. They are now called the “pit crew” because they got those caps off and on in under a minute.
Overall I wouldn’t call it a bad experience at all. Not going to lie, I had fun. I met some amazing new people, got to hang out with my close friends and get one step closer to the end of my treatment... and that’s the best feeling in the world.”