Chemo: Round 1 update

Occasionally, I’ll write in more of a memoir format that includes more details of my personal experience, but I understand that many of you may just be interested in a quick update.  So for these types of posts, I’ll start with The Short Version and then include the Longer Version after.

The Short Version:

I had my first chemo session on Monday morning and so far so good.  The steroids they gave me made me super hungry so I ate like a beast, spent some time outside, took a little nap, ate more, went for a short walk with Sasha, watched a movie with my dad and slept really well all night.  The only symptoms I really experienced were a little drowsiness, a stiff neck (maybe from sitting in one position too long during chemo) and a gnarly headache.  It was kind of between the headache you get when you’re trying to give up coffee and a migraine.  Nothing a little tylenol and an icepack on the head couldn’t tackle.  But other than that, I felt completely normal.

Tuesday, I slept in and woke up feeling quite well! Great energy and I even found myself dancing a bit while I was getting ready in the morning.  The headache was gone but the stiff neck still persists.  I hope to remain feeling this well throughout!  My next treatment will be in 3 weeks.

We also had our first visit with our perinatal specialist on Tuesday.  This is the doctor who will be keeping a close eye on baby Joaquin.  He examined the baby with a super high tech machine that displayed the images on a big monitor.  He showed us all the details of his growing body and said that everything looks really great.  We really liked him a lot and it gave us great peace of mind that he will be keeping an eye on Joaquin to monitor his growth and development.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, eating and hydrating as much as possible.  Today has been the same.  Feeling good and enjoying as many moments of joy as possible.

It’s such a blessing having my mom here to help us.  I’m getting to eat so many of my comfort foods from back home! yum!

Thanks so much for checking in!

Much love,


During Chemo

After Chemo

 The Longer Version:

I didn’t sleep much the night before chemo.  Right before bed, I had a big cry with Sasha.  I was scared.  “Let’s just run away,” I said.  I was on the edge of a cliff about to take a plunge into the unknown, and all I wanted was to feel “normal” again.  He held me and reassured me we were making the right decision.  As much as I tried to relax that night and get some rest, my mind was too alert and only slept a couple of hours at a time.  I ended up wide awake hours before I had to be up.  In my head, I apologized to baby Joaquin for what we were about to go through and asked all my angels for strength and courage to get through this.

As brave as I tried to be at the oncologists office, I wasn’t ready.  How could I be?  I tried to relax my body while the nurse put the IV in.  He said my vein was having little spasms and he was trying to get the vein to relax.  I took that as a message that I, too, needed to relax.  But as I acknowleged the tension in my body and helped it release, I felt the room start to close in on me.  A flush of heat passed through my body and I began feeling lightheaded.  All signs of me about to pass out.

“I’m not going to be able to make this IV work.  We’re going to have to start again,” Nurse Brian said as he took out the needle he’d been wiggling in my arm for an uncomfortable amount of time.

“I’m not doing too well,” I said quietly.

“What are you feeling,” he said with a look of concern and patience.

“My body is hot, my vision is going white.  I think I’m going to pass out.”

I tried to compose myself further to avoid a full pass out.  The next few moments were a blur, but according to Sasha, I became unresponsive and then all I remember is my doctor rushing in and instructing me to lay down. Once I was laying down, everything began feeling better.  Everyone except for Sasha left the room to give me a little time to compose myself.  I was beginning to worry that this was the beginning of a very terrible experience. Slowly, as I laid there on the exam room bed, I was able to regain my composure and build up the strength I needed to continue on.

Soon, a very sweet nurse named Nellie came in.  She was the classic maternal/non threatening figure that any nervous person loves to see at times like these.  She successfully inserted the IV without a hitch and we were soon escorted to the infusion suite.

The infusion suite was a large relaxing room of leather recliners surrounded by windows.  The recliner I chose had a serene view overlooking many treetops and next to us was a wall full of books and movies.

“They have Midnight Run!” Sasha said as I was settling into my chair.  It’s his favorite movie and its presence immediately gave the whole establishment a grand stamp of approval.

Once I was settled in, the actual infusion process was pretty uneventful.  Nurse Nellie hooked up my IV to the machine administering the drugs and then I basically sat around for an hour or so. I played a few round of “Words With Friends” with Sasha, read a bit from a book, posted a photo on Instagram and ate a little snack.  Nurse Nellie came around a few times to swap out fluids and then we were done.

I didn’t notice any big changes as I got out of the chair or walked back to our car.  It was kinda business as usual.  I felt a little tired, but it seemed to be more from having little sleep than anything else.

As we pulled up to our house, I felt such a sense of peace and protection knowing my mom and dad were waiting for us inside.  I was immediately met by hugs and kisses and felt so grateful to be so loved.

That love has continued supporting me for the last few days.  Here I am, Wednesday night, and the only symptoms I’ve really experienced have been a bit of drowsiness,  tense shoulder/neck pain and an occasional gnarly headache.  The kind of headache you get when you’re trying to give up coffee or having a light migraine.  So far, I’ve only taken tylenol once and stopped my anti-nausea meds early this morning.

My energy levels and appetite have been great and I’m trying to enjoy every minute of feeling good, because I have no idea what to expect from one moment  to the next.  I hope hope hope that this trend of feeling good continues.

As far as baby Joaquin goes, we had our first perinatal visit yesterday.  I had so much anticipation to see his little body and hear his heartbeat.  During chemo and for the rest of that day, I held onto quite a bit of guilt about what was happening in my body and how it could be affecting Joaquin.  So getting to check in on him was really helpful to me.  We got to see much more detailed images of him and his development then we’ve seen with our obstetrician.  The perinatal doctor said that everything looked fantastic and completely normal.  Now we just continue monitoring his growth and do our best to keep him safe and fed well.

Thank you so much for checking in.  It means so much.

Much love,


4 thoughts on “Chemo: Round 1 update

  1. Dora Pena says:

    Vivian, stay strong, God is with you all the way, I’m keeping you and you husband and baby in my prayers. Lots of Love Dora


  2. Irma Mora says:

    So, so sorry that you have to go through this. So, so happy that it is going well, And that your support system is in place. Blessings. Stay strong and positive.


  3. Annette Villarreal says:

    Your strength amazes me so much! What a trooper you are, Viv. Thank you for sharing these moments, I feel like I’m going through this journey with you and want to hear more! I love you and I’m here for you.


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