First Week of Chemo

It’s 3:30am on Tuesday, May 31st. That means I slept for a whole 3 hours 🙂 it also means that I made it through my first day of chemo! (Well, not technically..but close enough) 

Yesterday we arrived at Cancer Treatment Centers of America around 8:30am to check in for my first inpatient week of R-EPOCH chemotherapy.  The nurse took us to my room which is pretty nice! It’s on the stem transplant floor and there are only 4 inpatient rooms on my floor..and I’m the only one here this week. It’s also a holiday weekend for Memorial Day. I think they said I was actually the only patient in the whole hospital who got to be admitted today. Which means it’s slightly deserted, but also means quick attention to whatever I need at all times. 🙂 we got all settled in my room which includes my bed, lots of counter space, a big tv on the wall, 3 little cabinets with drawers and hangers to put stuff away, a pull out couch, my own fancy exercise bike, big bathroom and a recliner. Not gonna lie, I was kinda excited as if it were a little vacation hotel or something 😂 here are some pics:

After waiting a while, my nurse came in and was ready to access my port for the first time to draw blood and be ready for chemo once the drugs were ready.  Accessing my port means putting a needle through the thin layer of skin on my chest and into the rubber part of the port. Once it is in, it is secured in place and covered up and that it how they draw blood and give me all of my medications. It goes directly to a major artery by the heart so it mixes with the blood quickly.  This is the thing I had been really nervous about because I thought it would hurt a lot. They gave me numbing cream to put on before I had even gotten to the hospital so the whole car ride there I kept putting it on my chest. And then the nurse put on even more 😂

After a while it was time. I sent all my family out cause it made me too nervous but my awesome Oncologist, Dr. Pawloski, stopped by to see me right in time and held my hand while the nurse put the needle in. I was squeezing and holding my breath and bracing myself for a bit stick….and guess what?..I didn’t even feel it! And I didn’t even cry 😁👍🏼 she taped it all into place and I was so relieved!

After that, this guy hung out with me while my parents went to the store to find some stuff to make my bed more comfy and get some lunch. 

The nurse asked me a ton of questions, drew some blood from my port and the food lady came and took my order for lunch. This place is amazing in so many ways, but a big on is that they have the best food! It’s not a creepy cafeteria where everything just smells like a hospital, it’s all organic and healthy food choices and they gave me a menu of choices for the day.  I chose roasted chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes 🙂 and Italian ice. My parents brought me back Panera and I let Gunnar eat it and I ended up eating the hospital food instead 😂  

It was actually really good!

After waiting for more hours for the pharmacy to send up my chemo drugs, they finally started the first bag of Rituxan. This drug is the newest add on to chemo for patients who have different types of Lymphoma, especially the ones with Double Hit Diffuse B Cell Non-Hodgkins like me. It has been extremely positive in the lowering the relapse rate but also has been known to cause bad reactions in about half of the patients. Sure enough a little bit after they started the drug, I started having a reaction with my throat being scratchy and feeling funny and my head was itching really badly. The nurse quickly stopped the drip and gave my benedryl and a steroid. It helped almost instantly and made me feel like I had a few Margaritas 😂😁 She started the Rituxan drip slower this time and it seemed to be ok. I just could only tolerate the drug at a slower rate so it took a few more hours to finish that first bag.  Good news is, my reaction was mild compared to people who get bad flu symptoms and chills.  Also, I only get the Rituxan once a week, so now I’m done! 

Finally around 11:30 pm  I was ready to start the next round of chemo drugs. This time it’s 3 different ones together at once and the infusion lasts about 23 hours. They gave me anti-nausea meds before and another steroid, and some other stuff..once they begin, the nurse carefully monitors me for the first 15 minutes to see if I have a bad reaction to the drug. And I didn’t! 🙂 yay!  My iv pole has a lot more stuff on it now so I have to call the nurse anytime I want to go to the bathroom lol so I don’t accidentally tip my pole over 😁  

Around midnight we turned out the tv and lights and tried to get some sleep. My mommy stayed with me for tonight. Good thing I brought a ton of ear plugs because my iv machine makes so much noise lol. I finally fell asleep for about 3 hours. I just woke up a bit ago because the nurse rubbed my arm and wanted me to use the bathroom 🙄 and check my vitals. Now I’m wide awake so I decided to update everyone! 

Also as a side note, this place literally feels like home. My nurses are the best and I completely love my doctor. I know I am getting the absolute best care. I have never been left alone and the nurses are constantly checking me and respond as soon as I hit the call button. They are all so sweet and never make me feel bad for having to pee every 30 minutes lol it’s calm and happy here and I feel safe ❤️ 

Time to get back to sleep as now it’s 4:45am. Looking forward to having a couple family and friends visit tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who has been following my journey. I really appreciate all the prayers and sweet notes I’ve been getting!



19 thoughts on “First Week of Chemo

  1. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your journey. I literally thought about you ALL day yesterday. You are an amazing young lady!!! I am so thankful you are at such a wonderful place with an incredible team to care for you!!!
    I am praying daily for complete healing. Stay strong Megs. Love Aunt Susan


  2. Megan, praying for you as you go through this. May you feel Christ’s love and mercy. He knows everything you are feeling and thinking and He wants the very best for you. Will pray for you throughout the day and the days ahead. Stay close to Him, sweet girl!


  3. Hart’s are with you Megan!! You’re an inspiration with your positive outlook- Abby and Owen wish they could visit- stay strong and know that we are here for you all! Xoxo- Kate, Chad, Abby and Owen


  4. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are amazingly positive and strong. This is just the state of mind that will work with your treatment most effectively. I can assure you that your Seattle cousins are praying for you. You have not met us in person, but we are definitely on your team.
    With love,
    Your cousin Julene


  5. I’m so glad you are at a place and with doctors who make you feel comfortable. Praying for you and thinking of you often!


  6. Hi Megan, it’s Caroline your 1st cousin. I am glad to see a smile on your face as you go through this hard time! Hope you feel better as the journey ahead of you comes along! I’ll keep praying for you! 💜 You!


  7. Thinking about you and your family almost constantly…praying so very often for you Megan and for all of you! I am on your TEAM and will continue to be in heart, thought and prayer. You are so incredibly loved! You can do this!

    “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may STRENGTHEN you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have POWER, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how WIDE and LONG and HIGH and DEEP is the LOVE of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

    Now to Him who is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to his POWER that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” ~Ephesians 3:16-20
    ~Amy Conrod


  8. Reading of your journey, day to day, breathes inspiration and encouragement to those, including myself, who are just having “a bad day”. Romans 8 reminds us that we are “more than conqureors”. Anything that comes our way that is meant to do harm, can’t touch us, because we are His. Keep that beautiful smile on your face and fight on! We love and are always praying for you😀

    ~Uncle Steve


  9. Megan, I’ve been praying for you since your Dad shared what’s been going on. Thank you for sharing your heart and your story with us in these posts. They give us a little window into your journey, and help to know how to lift you up in prayer.
    –Bob Moon


  10. Keep up the positive attitude. Praying for you. Try a sound machine to block out the noises. I bought one for a friend undergoing chemo last fall. She said it really helped. Only $20 at Bed Beth and Beyond. I am a friend of Sidney and Susan
    Stacey Kolka (Karson’s mom)


  11. Megan, I have been in prayer for you since learning of your illness, but especially so the past two days as you began your treatment. This blog is such a great way to know how to pray for you. Sounds like the Great Physician is working right alongside your precious physician. Thank you for this blog and for letting us share the journey with you.


  12. You were on my mind all day long. Our whole family have been praying for you. Good thing God is God because he’s being bombarded with prayers for you!! Love you sweetie pie , Tia Becky


  13. Megan, we are praying for you! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. All the little details help us know how to pray. Stay strong in the Lord! You have an army on your side!


  14. Megan – I’m just now finding out about this crazy month you’ve had. I’m really sorry you and your family are having to journey through this but as you’ve already indicated…God has a definite purpose in this. I love that we can all follow this journey with you and I know one day you’ll appreciate having captured your true thoughts and emotions during this time. But in the meantime, I’m sure many are awe inspired by your courage and positive attitude. At least I know I am. I’m so glad you’re in a place where you feel loved and well cared for. I will continue to pray for wisdom for your doctors and complete healing and strength for you in the days ahead. You are loved!


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