They told me that about one in three people who start Doxil get an allergic reaction at the beginning — pain in the back, tightness in the throat, difficulty breathing. It happened to me. My blood pressure dropped, and I was dizzy and faint and nauseous. Kind of scary. They gave me some Benadryl in my PICC line to bring it down, which made me very groggy and woozy, but I was feeling better after about a half hour, which is usual.
They told me it's very rare for someone to get another reaction once the symptoms wear off and they restart the drip. So it was for me, at the beginning. I felt fine. I watched some Sex and the City Season Six with my friend Shannon, who was with me, started to eat some chips and hummus. Then it hit me again. Dizzy, woozy, faint, hard to breathe, a big drop in blood pressure. That was it for my short-lived relationship with Doxil.
They consulted with Dr. S, who came in to talk with me. He's putting me on Doxil's slightly older big sister, Doxorubicin. (Doxil is basically Doxorubicin encased in fat droplets.) I'm going to be on a drip for seven days, just like with the Ifosfamide. Two bags of drugs, two pumps to carry around for a week. They gave me 20 minutes of it at the clinic and then observed me for two hours to make sure I didn't have a bad reaction, and then they sent me home. I got there at 8 a.m. and was there until 4 p.m. Pretty soon, a home health nurse will come over to hook me up to my double drug concoction.
What makes this all the more astounding is that they can't administer Doxorubicin through a port. My double PICC line — which would have been my last choice — turned out to be exactly what I needed. If I'd come in with a port, they would have had to send me over to get a PICC line anyway. It feels like some higher kind of higher force or destiny was at work here.
All the hassle aside, I have to say I am in a much better mood than I have been all week. I'm not happy about what's going to happen to me on chemo, but I'm not in that dark place, either. Big plus.