My First Chemo Treatment

July 16, 2014 at 5:56 am (Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

I’ll admit I was a little nervous about my first treatment. I had an idea of what to expect because the cancer center gives you so much information so you are prepared. I brought snacks (splurged and bought nilla wafers!) a book, magazines, Ipad, and warm fuzzy socks. They gave me a blanket and a pillow as well. They hooked up the medicine (4 different cocktails) to my port so I had to sit there for about 5 hours and if you know me you know that it was very hard to do! I could roll my IV poll to the bathroom but basically sat there. The good news is they had free wifi so I watched Netflix the whole time and it really went by fast.

I met a lady who was ending her treatment and it was nice of her to come sit next to me because she heard me tell the nurse that this was my first time. She shared her experience with me and told me the side effects for her were minimal, some were weird though like she lost all of her toenails. (She was checking out my polka dotted toes). The main side effect she had was from the Neulasta, which is used to treat neutropenia, a lack of certain white blood cells caused by the chemo. I have to get this the day after each chemo treatment. About 2 days after receiving it, there is severe pain in your bones and lower back because the medicine goes into the bone marrow to work it’s magic.  Despite the side effects, it’s amazing that someone invented it because it will boost my immune system and help me be able to go out and not worry too much about catching infections, etc. They do blood tests every week and will let me know if  my counts are way down or if I need a blood transfusion.

I am so blessed to be under the care of an excellent specialist at Johns Hopkins and an oncologist who is at the new Aquilino Cancer Center next to Shady Grove Hospital. I am also doubly blessed because they chose me to do a case study on so my specialist, oncologist and radiologist meet on a regular basis to discuss my case and make sure I am receiving the best care. My specialist called me yesterday after they met and let me know that they have been studying my films and besides Kobu (the 4.6 cm lump), I also have several calcification’s that will most likely not shrink with chemo. What that means for me is I’ll probably have to have a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy. The good news about having the mastectomy is no radiation, the bad news is, it’s usually involves several surgeries.

Whatever the outcome, I am confident that the Lord will go before me, stand behind me or carry me when needed. I am so grateful that I have a personal relationship with Christ because I’m not sure I could go through this without Him. I am joyful, peaceful and hopeful  because I am “pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  James 1:2-4 says,

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” 

I want to be a mature Christian and I want everything the Lord has for me. Hopefully I will pass this test and bring honor and glory to Christ and my biggest prayer is that I will meet many women throughout my treatment that I can share my hope and faith in Christ with. Thank you again for all your emails, texts and phone calls. Please continue to pray for me, especially for the next several days when the side effects kick in. They told me that days 1-2 are good, 3-7 are the hardest then the rest of the days until the next treatment should be good. With each treatment though, the fatigue and side effects may get worse.

Quick shout out to my hubby, Ken. I am absolutely amazed at his faith and trust in God going through this with me. His relationship with the Lord has never been stronger and knowing that he can lead us through this without fear but with strength allows me to just relax. I am so proud of him for his attitude and trust in God. He could shake his fist or be angry at the Lord for having to go through this again but instead is choosing to trust God completely. If you are reading this and don’t know him, his first wife lost her battle with cancer but praise God, she is in heaven now rejoicing. I am so proud of him and and also his kids for sticking by my side and praying us both through this. We have so much to be grateful for and are especially grateful for all the care we are receiving from you.



  1. kristin said,

    You’re amazing!!! Praying for you, and thank you for taking us along the journey. Love you, your life, and polka dotted toes!

  2. Alice Faye Brown said,

    You are a special daughter of the King! He is watching over you and will reward you for your strong faith and trust in Him. He will provide many opportunities in the days to come for you to be a witness of His mercy and grace. YOU will change the lives of many as you allow Him to walk you through this journey. Love you lady.

  3. John Andrew said,

    Cool that you like Nilla wafers, homegirl! Ever eat them with peanut butter? Yum!

  4. Janet Spates said,

    Truly your faith will carry you through this. I am a colon cancer survivor. I had my 1st chemo in Oct 2011 and surgery in May 2012. About 3 months ago I found out it had metastasized and am back in treatment. I have completed 5 of 9 infusions, plus I take oral cytotoxic medication daily (plus a bunch of others). I also had 2 1/2 months of daily radiation treatment.
    In spite of the cancer coming back, I still believe that God can and will use this not only for His Kingdom growth, but for my own growth. I use the 6 hours of chemo infusion to read His Word, pray and meditate. Since I lost my hair this time around, it’s more obvious I am in treatment and I use every opportunity to testify how He carries me daily. Continue to rest in His care, He can and will handle it!

  5. Rhonda Winfield Jordan said,

    Hi Rachel … don’t know if you remember me but I remember you from COR. Thank you for sharing your journey. Will be praying for you as you progress through your mission field. Peace, strength and hope to you. I look forward to reading more of your “ramblings.” If I may be of assistance, let me know.

  6. Janet Bowers said,

    Praying that the chemo goes exactly where it is needed and that the infusion today powerfully impacts your white cell count in the way god created that medicine to do. He who knows your every molecule is holding you in His strong arms. Rest your body and your spirit in the arms of your savior.

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. paula said,

    Thank you for your sharing. Your faith touches me and helps my walk. I continue to pray for total healing for you. May you continue to have peace as you trust in the Lord. Hugs

  8. lindamcdermitt said,

    Sounds as though you are in good Hands and good hands – Father in Heaven, husband on earth, doctors, nurses, fellow chemo-receivers, and the many friends who support with love and prayers. Grateful to be able to share this journey with a true woman of faith.

  9. Marian Lechner said,

    Hi Rachel – you are an amazing woman, especially because you so exemplify an imitator of Christ and your faith in God impacts so many others to believe and trust in Him with their whole hearts. I am so blessed to be able to call you and Ken “friends.” You are both in my constant prayers, Luv u bunches! XXXX0000

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