According to my mother, I am an over-empathizer. That was her explanation when, last night at 3am, I nearly fainted right after she threw up. It was really her first time vomiting since all of this has cancer business started; it was bound to happen sometime. Why not the night I'm there? The nausea was short lived and we were both able to fall back to sleep around 4am. When the morning nurse arrived at 7, we told her that she had vomited last night, and the nurse gave Mom some anti-nausea medication. It knocked her out for the whole morning, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Mom slept SO much today, it was really great.
Today was Mom's first treatment of the systemic chemotherapy, Taxol. Before the treatment, she had a lot of other medication: more anti-nausea, the medical marijuana (which Mom swears isn't working in between bites of ice cream), anti-histamines, pain medication, anti-biotics...I'm sure even sure what else. It's kind of amazing how many medications she takes these days when two months ago she would take half an Advil only in dire situations. The Taxol itself took about 3 hours to administer via slow drip into her chest port. While that was going on, she also had her intrathecal chemotherapy. The oncologist wanted to take a sample of her cerebral spinal fluid from her Omaya reservoir to see if there had been any reduction in cancer cells since beginning that treatment about a month ago. But when he tried, he couldn't access any CCF. So he tried again and again, failed both times and decided to call the neurosurgeon who put the port in. The only other way to access the CCF is through a lumbar puncture, aka spinal tap, which is what ended up happening this afternoon. We won't get the results of that for a few days, but a reduction in cancer cells would be very good news. The doctors think that's the case, simply because her pain has diminished so drastically.
So, yes, rough day. Two chemotherapy treatments and a lumbar puncture. After being sick in the night. So, yes, most normal people would be a bit tired, run down and maybe even grumpy. But as we already know, she's no normal person. As visitors came to see her this evening, she mused, "you know, as much as this isn't an ideal situation, it's been so nice to get so much time to visit with everybody!"
Mom responded very well to the systemic chemo so far. Ross and I were really worried-I've taken too many health classes in my life and am deeply afraid of chemo as a general concept. (And a friend lost her mother a couple of years ago, not to cancer, but due to treatment and that thought horrifies me.) Our oncologist told us that the side effects are mostly cumulative and won't show up for at least a few days, and probably not for a few weeks. I was also scared that Mom might have an allergic reaction to the Taxol; not only would it be horrible to go through a reaction, but that would mean that basically her only treatment option wasn't an option anymore. But she was great. She sailed through the treatment and was offered a choice of when to do the lumbar puncture-tonight or tomorrow. She chose tonight, wanting to get it done with. And she sailed through that, too. An hour after coming back to her room, she had me calling all of the burger joints within a 3 mile radius asking if they had sweet potato fries. None of them did, so she settled for onion rings, a bacon cheddar burger, french fries and root beer. Yeah, that medical marijuana is a bunch of bunk...though I will be honest and tell you that she really only ate a few bites of the burger.
Gary was sort of heart broken that we had burgers without him. Mom assured him that she'd probably be up for it again this weekend, especially if we can find a place with sweet potato fries.
We may leave the hospital tomorrow. Nothing has been officially decided, so I don't want to say anything definite, but that's what we've been told. Just in case, I'm getting to the hospital early tomorrow, so Dad can go to work early and get back early. There are zero treatments scheduled for tomorrow, not even physical therapy, because it may be her last day. We've already decided that we need to write proper thank you notes to the amazing staff, so that's the intention for tomorrow.