Once we checked in there were labs, meeting with nurses, GI doctor, chest x-ray, PICC line being placed and chest/stomach ultrasound. Saturday consisted of a barium swallow to check for and ulcers and other GI issues (since nausea has been one of two major symptoms Joe has been dealing with). Then meeting with the on call doctor to review the pathology report again, double/triple/quadruple check that we actually need to do this and reviewed the other options (when I say "options" I mean the total lack there of).
So then we prayed, walked outside for a few minutes and then started the chemo. Joe gets two different chemo drugs. One for 3 days which they push slowly and takes about 15 minutes and the other they hook up via IV drip, this one runs 24 hours a day for 7 days (hence being referred to as 7 & 3 treatment). The side effects of these wont really hit until next week. They say days 7-15 are most often the worst. During this time his white blood count is likely to drop down to zero, so for at least that week and until they start to rebound we will be asking that no one come to visit. Phone calls and texts are always welcome.
The staff is wonderful, the room is cozy and surprisingly warm, we've got a mini fridge and great view of the changing fall leaves. We are allowed to bring in our own bedding and mattress pad for Joe and I've had a pretty comfortable recliner to sleep in the last two nights. I'd go so far to say that if it weren't for the every four hour vital checks we probably would be sleeping pretty great. The other great news (for me) is that a room opened up at The Rathbun House. This is a beautiful house just around the corner that is free for out of town family and caregivers of patients. Both myself and Joe's parents (when they are here with him and I go home with Arleigh ) will be allowed to stay there.
Joe is doing a great job staying positive, constantly making the hospital staff laugh and keeping as active as possible. Because we are not allowed outside (other than 10 minutes a day between changing chemo bags), this activity involves walking the floor with his IV pole, which he has affectionately named "Dirty Charley" (after his fictional AT hiking partner). This is no walk through the woods, but I believe all the hiking Joe has done over there years was incredible training for this crazy journey we are starting.