Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Breast Cancer Fight: Second Chemotherapy and Herceptin Jab Session

I took my Dexamethasone pills {8mg} correctly for the 3 days for a start, and the session itself went quite ok. I thought it might end a bit earlier than the first session but since I had to get the scalp cooling cap fitted properly again, it took about the same duration. 

The nurses informed me that not all of them are trained for scalp cooling cap fitting so I had to wait until about 11+am before one of the trained nurses arrived at the Chemo Bay {F12} to assist me with that. Most of them know how to operate the machine though. 

It seems as if they have a limited number of caps for each size, so if you are doing scalp cooling therapy during your chemotherapy sessions, I suggest that you try to start your sessions as early as possible so that you have a higher chance of getting the correct sized caps and starting your sessions on time. 

I remembered to bring a small back support pillow and gloves for extra comfort so that was good. It seems as if I'm the only one that feels so cold at the Chemo Bay haha... I used 2 blankets, wore long pjs, long socks and gloves and still felt a tad chilly. 

Maybe because I'm sitting there so long, and maybe because of the scalp cooling therapy too. Other patients I saw, who are mostly older folks, wore usual t-shirts/ shirts and berms or pants and used just 1 blanket. 

Didn't feel like watching any shows so just passed the time reading my book and watching CNA. No appetite for lunch so just ate an almond croissant and drank Koi Earl Grey milk tea with coffee jelly. 

This is what my second chemotherapy session was like:

0815hrs Arrive at hospital
0820hrs Verify ID with counter {registered 1hr earlier on One NUHS app}
0830hrs Check vitals and the pharmacy will prep the medicine
0845hrs Go to Chemotherapy Bay
0900hrs Chemo Bay nurses start to come in
0910hrs Chemo Bay nurse checked verified my ID 
              Started scalp cooling cap machine and IV preparation
0915hrs Toilet break
0920hrs Cannulate and run through with saline
0945hrs Run pre-meds drip for anti-allergy and to protect stomach for 15mins
              Start scalp cooling therapy
1015hrs Right arm started to feel weak and hurt a bit. Only a while.
1030hrs Flush pre-meds with saline
1035hrs Toilet break
1045hrs Lucrine jab on right tummy, Herceptin jab on left tummy
1100hrs Toilet break
1110hrs Work scalp cooling caps - L for blue inner cap, M for outer cloth cap
              Start scalp cooling therapy
1125hrs Pharmacist came to dispense home meds and Peglasta syringe {to boost 
             white blood cells to fight off infections - will be kept at the Chemo Bay 
             fridge and to collect before going home} 
1155hrs Start Docetaxel drip for 1hr 
1305hrs Start Cyclophosphamide drip for 30mins 
1345hrs Toilet break
1355hrs Saline drip flush for 10mins
1400hrs Continue with cooling cap therapy for extra 1.5hrs post-chemo 
1430hrs Take out hand canula
1530hrs End scalp cooling therapy and wait 5 mins with cap on
1545hrs Collect meds and leave Chemo Bay
1600hrs Go home

My hair dropped a fair bit more after I took off the caps for the scalp cooling therapy. I'd say it has dropped about 70% since chemo started. Doesn't seem to be working well for me but I think I'd just continue to use it during my chemotherapy sessions {2 more after today!!} as the nurses say it may help with faster hair recovery/ regrowth after chemotherapy ends too, even if it did not help much for reduced hair fall.

To say that I'm not sad or affected would be a lie but I know that this is just a passing phase...

There were about 3-4 nurses at the Chemo Bay today. As usual, it was quite busy but the nurses were still all very attentive and patient, not letting the stress of their work affect their attitude and behaviour. 

I must say that most of the nurses I have met at NUH are like that for all the different clinics I've been to. Cheerful, friendly and kind. They try to show empathy and don't talk down to you. Some would really go the extra mile to assist you with your needs and questions.

Counter staff, like those at registration or payment counters, are different though. Yes, they are polite, but they are mostly "customer service polite" without much empathy and more efficiency-based. You can tell that they would want you to pass through their counter as quickly as possible so that they can attend to the next customer. They handle stress of a different kind and I've seen them let out their frustrations a few times to the customers, albeit in a controlled manner.   

Read about my first chemotherapy session experience to find out more on what it's like at a Chemo Bay and some tips for having a more pleasant session


Follow my breast cancer fight on the blog, Facebook or Instagram {#AiFightsCancer}

Before mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgeries

After mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgeries
Surgical Drains Removal After Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction 

Adjuvant Chemotherapy and Herceptin Injections

1 comment:

  1. Smart to bring the items to keep you as warm as possible. I haven't heard of the cap cooling until now. I'm glad everyone is being nice who is helping with the process of your healing. There are certain times kindness and empathy really do matter quite a lot! xoxo


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