Chemotherapy: A carefully concocted cocktail of drugs

Monday, March 12, 2012 – Toronto.

Woke up this morning with a sense of cautious optimism. Today is chemo day.

Spent the next few minutes in bed with Nagib offering prayers to the four blood donors that have kept me alive.  Asked God to help us make it through today with courage and resilience and for the chemo to work.

Until last week, I naively thought chemo was all the same. In fact, each chemo treatment is a carefully concocted cocktail of drugs designed specifically for your type of cancer.  I observed some patients come in for 30 minutes of chemo, some receive a pill, some injections.  My chemo for lymphoma is called R-CHOP.  It requires me to go to the hospital every 3 weeks for a full day.  I am hooked on an IV machine for most of the day as one drug, then another, enters my body.  Every 20 minutes, a nurse comes to check my temperature and blood pressure.  I welcome the chemo and visualize it attacking the cancer in a battle inside me.

The start of the chemo experience is an interesting one. You check in to “Chemo Day Care” at the appointed time, and the receptionist gives you a buzzer.  If you’ve been to The Keg Steakhouse during rush hour, you know what I mean.  Then you wait (good thing I brought my iPad).  When your “table” is ready, the buzzer vibrates and chimes and the receptionist sends you to one of the colourful pods and a designated seat (Purple Pod, Chair # 12 in my case).   Volunteers come over to offer juices, lend a helping hand and stay to chat if you want.

In a surreal way, sitting for chemo is a relaxing affair. You sit in a comfortable leather chair, talk to family, have lunch.  I shared a pastrami sandwich and large salad with Nagib. It was like a date!

Chemo affects each person differently.  The common side effects are fatigue, mouth sores and nausea.  I have tolerated chemo remarkably well so far.  The only negative has been having a bitter metallic taste in my mouth so I am not enjoying most foods, except sweets.  So I am consuming ice cream and fruits and French toast and milkshakes to keep the calories high and my weight up.  Today, my taste buds have changed completely and I can’t handle any sweets.  This will be an interesting time of trial and error with food.

As the chemo drugs lower my immune system’s ability to fight off infections, viruses and other bugs, I’ve been advised to stay away from large gatherings of people :-(.  Next chemo April 2.

A SNAPSHOT OF CHEMO

Lunch from Druxy’s:  $12
Price of parking for the day at PMH: $20
Cost of chemo drugs: $000′s (thank you OHIP)
Surrounded by family while undergoing chemo (even though they were somewhat distracted):  PRICELESS !

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Comments
34 Responses to “Chemotherapy: A carefully concocted cocktail of drugs”
  1. Nazir Nensi says:

    YAM Mukhianima, Please have courage and we are praying for Mushkilasaan and speedy recovery, and Mawla give you spiritual strength

    Farida and Nazir Nensi.

    • Nawroz Mubarrak to you and your whole family! I am feeling really strong today. Munira

      • nerminchampsi says:

        Munira

        I cannot even begin to imagine what you have been through. But I really admire the positive attitude you and your family have. I am most impressed by this and I am sure with this attitude you will come out a winner. My prayers are with you and please let me know if I can be of any help to you. Please say hello to your mum for me.

        Nermin

  2. Dilshad says:

    Hey let that chemo “CHOP” away all those bad cells and the good cells will be on their way to MULTIPLY!!!

    Prayers are continuing as always for you and your entire family!!!

    Our special love,
    The Nathoos

    • Nawroz Mubarak! Love your metaphor of CHOP and MULTIPLY! This is such a great way to keep connected with you Dilshad. Munira
      Prayers to you and your family for an abundance of love and fulfillment in your lives!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Our prayers and thoughts are with all of you.

    maa, narmeen and alnoor

  4. BJ says:

    Hi Munira,

    I am thinking of you and so appreciate you and your family for sharing your journey so we can feel close to you. Love BJ

  5. Anonymous says:

    You are all amazing writers . . . . I think you missed your calling! I sounds like everything is going to plan. You are certainly missed, Munira.

    Nancy

  6. Lynda Cavanagh says:

    Munira,
    You are such a trooper. I have been following your blog and think of you daily. It is a battle and you have lots of soldiers by your side. Keep as strong as you can. I will try and reach you this weekend.
    All my love, Lynda

    • Dearest, dearest lynda. I may not have called or written, but you know that you are always in my heart. I have missed you so much over the years and yet every time I think of you, it’s like we have not missed a beat. Perhaps that is the essence of the friendship we share. Can’t wait to talk to you this weekend to get reconnected Mega love to you and Dave. Munira

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mukhianima,

    Navroz Mubarak. Love reading your blog and am following your journey carefully. We are positive that you will come out this with flying colours. Our prayers and thoughts are always with you.

    Yasmin and Nazir Dossa

  8. Rashida Kanji says:

    Missed you in khane yesterday! Let the Chemo Chop away all the bad cells. Continuing prayers for you & the entire family!.
    Mowla bless you always!,
    Love You!
    All our special prayers,

    Rashida

  9. Rajan Family says:

    Mukhiani ma. Navroz Mumbarak to you. We missed you yesterday. Mysha said that she didn’t see her favorite mukhiani. We hope you are feeling better after the chemotherapy and look forward to seeing you again soon.

    Love,
    Rajans

  10. pkurgan says:

    Munira, I am so grateful to you for keeping this blog. I am thinking about you every day. I can’t wait to read about your final chemo treatment! Hugs.

    • Final chemo for lymphoma is June 25. I’ve marked this date everywhere because I plan to go to Florida the day after! Then begin the treatment for myleoma…….

      • Barbara Cott says:

        Munira – Florida sounds amazing (and you certainly deserve it)! Count down is on for June 25th! I love the family photo – everyone is so photogenic : ) Lovin your blog – the Munira family are natural born writters!

  11. Azmina says:

    You are an inspiration to all. Thank you for sharing. Praying for your speedy recovery Munira.

  12. Azmina says:

    Have you heard of Anita Moorjani? Also an inspirational writer as yourself.

  13. Pascale says:

    Hi Munira,
    Still thinking of you everyday and pray for you and your family. My experience with chemo was similar to yours. Treatment every 3 weeks (6x)…extreme fatigue, metallic taste in my mouth, digestion very difficult. In fact, the days 4-5 and 6 were the worst for me…and then I was coming back to life slowly. On the difficult days, the love of my family and water melon saved me. Since each person is different, it is a try and error process but you will become more and more efficient to anticipate and adjust.
    I am back to work and it is a kind of miracle for me. You will be there soon too. This period of your life is temporary.
    God speed,
    Pascale

    • Thanks pascale for sharing your experiences. I am also trying to figure out patterns. And it is trial and error. At the hospital right now doing blood work. Thinking of this as a temporary part of my life is what’s keeping me going. Munira

  14. shafik says:

    Ya Ali Madad Munira,

    We pray to Mawla that may he make all your and the familes difficulties disappear permenantly.Ameen

    With Best Regards,
    Nazma, Nadeem, Aleem & shafik

  15. nerminchampsi says:

    Munira

    I cannot even begin to imagine what you have been through. But I really admire the positive attitude you and your family have. I am most impressed by this and I am sure with this attitude you will come out a winner. My prayers are with you and please let me know if I can be of any help to you. Please say hello to your mum for me.

    Nermin Champsi

    • Hi there nermin! I really appreciate your support, encouragement and prayers. I promise to ask you if I need any help. You know I am actually doing remarkably well so far. It is all the prayers and Mowla carrying me through this journey. Munira

  16. Anonymous says:

    YAM Muni
    Hope and Pray that your chemo session went well.
    Hugs
    Yasmin & Mansur

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