First Chemo Treatment

  • Chemo 1 of 8
  • Radiation 0 of 33
  • Weight 173.8 lbs

First round of Cetuximab (Erbitux)

My Mom and May took me to my appointment this morning. I was a little nervous going to my first Chemo treatment. Last weekend I read an article that said 3% of patients have an allergic reaction to Cetuximab and go into cardiac arrest during their initial treatment.

When we arrived at the hospital they sent me to have blood taken so they could do the bloodwork. We were then led to an exam room where my vitals were taken. After a short wait Dr. Gillison came in to talk with us. He discussed the process along with the side effects and possible risks.

He explained that I would be monitored very closely by the staff who would be prepared to act quickly if I experienced any reaction to the drug. We were then ushered to the treatment room where the nurse told me since this was my first treatment I would be sitting in the “Special” chair. This meant I would be sitting next to the nurses station where they could monitor me.

Once the IV was installed I received a bag of Benadryl which made me little groggy. This took 15 minutes or so. Next was a saline flush. I can’t tell you exactly how long this took because I was dozing off a little from the Benadryl. Next came the first bag of Cetuximab. I waited for any kind of reaction so I could quickly alert them. May was at the ready with the alert button. Occasionally I would get a weird chemical taste in my mouth but other than that there was no reaction. It was all pretty uneventful, which is great.

I had 2 bags of Cetuximab followed by a 10 minute saline flush. From the time I arrived at the hospital to the time I left was exactly 5 hours.

Before the Benadryl
After The Benadryl

They had a TV at each station, snacks, soda, coffee, etc. as well as a concierge who would bring you anything you want if you didn’t want to get up to get it yourself. I had to get up and walk around a few times to stretch my legs. The Benadryl is weird as it kind of came in waves. One minute I’d be wide awake and walking around and the next minute I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Then I’d be wide awake again.

By the time I got home I really couldn’t tell I’d been to treatment. I was a little sluggish like I hadn’t slept well the night before, but other than that, no immediate side effect. I’m sure those will come later. I’ll keep you posted.

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