I've commandeered the blog because Jeff is asleep. We checked into St. Luke's Hospital at 9:00 a.m. this morning. As an interesting side note, this hospital has a McDonald's inside it! It's either pure irony (this hospital is the premier heart hospital in the area) or it is ingenious (albeit, ruthless) marketing.
Jeff ate a good lunch in his hospital room, then they took him to a surgical radiologist who inserted a "central line." This is a catheter that is inserted into a main artery through the neck. Two small tubes remain exposed and are coiled and taped to his chest. Hydrating fluids are administered through one of the tubes; medications are administered through the other. Jeff said he will be required to keep the cenral line in for one year. P.S. He can never get it wet, so showers are going to get a little more challenging!
After the doctors inserted the central line, they gave him some anti-nausea medication (one given orally and the other given through his IV). Then they brought him dinner and encouraged him to eat before they began the chemotherapy. However, as soon as they brought his dinner, they gave him two more anti-nausea mediations. These made him extremely tired almost immediately, and before he could finish eating he fell asleep.
The nurse came in the room to administer the first chemotherapy drug called "DTIC" at 6:30 p.m. She tried to wake Jeff to explain what she was doing, but he was completely out of it. She started the DTIC via an IV drip and left the room. I kissed Jeff on the forehead and cried. Jeff is officially undergoing chemotherapy and there is no turning back. I trust his doctor completely and the nursing staff is wonderful. I just hate that Jeff has to go through this and no matter what the outcome, I realize our lives will never be the same again. I feel like today was both the end of our "old" life and the beginning of our "new" one. I'm sure we'll all adjust.
I just took a break to talk to the kids on the phone. They are being real troopers! Jeff was too exhausted to hold the phone and kept falling asleep while he tried to talk to them, so we kept the call short tonight. As we talked on the phone, Jeff finished the first chemo treatment! (It is now 8:30 p.m.). So far, so good.
I'll update everyone again tomorrow. Until then, I want to say a special thank you to our friend Katie for taking Regan and Aubrey for a girls' night out tonight and to my extra-special friend Liz for dropping by the house tonight. I wish I could have been there to see you! I'll likely be home late next week. In the meantime, we'll be making arrangements for Jeff's mom to come to Houston for the second week of treatment (the sick/tired week) when he'll be out of the hospital. I rented a "medical apartment" today--thank you, Betty for pointing us in the right direction!--so, very soon, Jeff will have an address in Houston where you can send him well-wishes during his off-weeks when he is out of the hospital. In the meantime, he is in Room 2034 at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. We'll likely be here until next Tuesday or Wednesday if all goes as planned.
In the meantime, please keep praying. Don't let up! He needs it now more than ever.