The (Red) Devil is in the Details: Chemo #14

Hi friends!  Apologies for the delay in updating you.  I completed chemo treatment (#14!!) on Thursday November 1st with the new Chemo drugs Adriamycin (aka “the red devil”) and Cytoxan.  I had heard from friends (and my doctor) that the new regimen was particularly rough…… and oh boy….they were right.  The day I received chemo (Thursday) went smoothly…..but by that evening I was not feeling well- at all.  I’ve had a lot of people ask me  “what does it feel like?” regarding the chemo and side effects.  I don’t know if I have a good answer for that.   The only way I know to describe it would possibly be a REALLY bad hangover….with a side of food poisoning.   Before this last treatment, I’ve never felt so dehydrated in my life (and yes I was drinking lots of water and fluids, I promise). I’m now 6 days out from my last treatment and just starting to feel normal again besides a headache (which is typical from what I’ve been hearing).  I don’t mean to complain (and I realize that there are plenty of people who have it worse), but I’m trying to be honest with my blog posts because for me, I would rather know what’s coming and be somewhat prepared.  (So if someone is googling “red devil” and comes across my blog, I don’t want to sugar coat it).  In the interest of full disclosure, the Adriamycin comes in big syringes that look like giant Jell-O Shots. (Photos below courtesy of my friend KiKi who finished her cancer treatments about a year ago).  The first picture is of the actual medicine and the second photo is KiKi and her friends having red devil themed Jell-O shots after her treatment was complete (humor is important folks).

Like I said, fortunately my friends (who have been through this) warned me about what the medicine would look like ahead of time….otherwise that would have been a TAD alarming. SPEAKING of alarming….(and start scrolling if you don’t want detailed medical info)- but after a person receives Adriamycin ….their urine is BRIGHT red.  Yep- red.  Again, my friends and the nurses warned me about this thankfully.   Another fun fact, I was told there is a “lifetime” cap on the amount of “red devil” a person can receive in their lifetime.  So after I have 4 cycles, I can’t ever have it again because it is so potent (lovely!) All joking aside, the good news is that this stuff is hopefully so strong that it will obliterate any cancer that’s left in my body-and we are praying for that every single day.   “For nothing will be impossible with God” Luke 1:37

I had my amazing “cool cap crew” with me last week during chemo per usual.  I still feel so lucky that I have such a strong support system through all of this.  I’ve mentioned it before, but most chemo days end up being enjoyable somehow.   My friend Jamie even flew in from Dallas so he could be there with me for the treatment.  Here are a few pictures and videos from the long hours of cold capping afterwards.  Needless to say, it’s a lot of quality time!   We also started a new little tradition last week.  Mark and I usually pray on the way to the hospital or in the exam room when we’re waiting to see the doctor.  This past week we held hands with our cold cap crew and said a prayer right before my chemo infusion began.  I like the new tradition 🙂  “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

Eyelashes still missing in action.

Somehow we convinced Jamie to try out one of the cold caps at the end of the evening….he was a good sport!

Another bonus: I had some friends stop by for a visit this weekend while I was recuperating (Magan and Chris from Boston and the Javanmardi gang from Houston).  It always lifts my spirits to get some face time in with old friends 🙂

I’ll be getting a Pet Scan this week as well as another biopsy of the tumor just to check the progress of things, so if you have time please include those tests in your prayers this week.  If all goes well, I *should* only have THREE MORE chemo treatments left (for a total of 17 treatments) ……plus radiation and surgery, etc.  If 17 is the magic number, my last chemo treatment should be on December 13, 2018 (as you know things can always change but that’s the plan for now).  I’m grateful for the people who continue to pray for us and grateful that God has been so faithful and helped us get this far.  I was diagnosed on May 8, 2018 and it honestly feels like I’ve lived 10 years since then.  Even in the mist of all the trauma, people still amaze me every single day with their empathy and kindness.   It looks like we might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and I can’t think of a better Christmas present than to finish Chemotherapy and spend my first holiday with my husband as MRS. Stars.


Holly Hollis Stars

17 thoughts on “The (Red) Devil is in the Details: Chemo #14

  1. You are my warrior hero!!!! Take that red stuff and let it clear you completely! Much love and continued prayers, my friend. We met years ago just by chance at The Ole Absinthe House and we hit it off immediately! Of course being a KD sister was a plus.
    Keep fighting! We are all here for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our mutual friend, Jill C., has kept me informed of your journey. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer on July 12th. I just finished my 4 treatments with the “red devil” and I’ve moved on to weekly Taxol. I have to say that my first 2 treatments with the Adriamycin were the worst!! On treatments 3 and 4, I asked the nurse to push it slower that normal. Maybe 10 minutes per syringe instead of 5 minutes. I didn’t have nearly the amount of nausea when it was pushed slower.
    I include you in my prayers every night. Prayers for successful treatments and a great PET scan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the tip Denise. I will see if they can push it through any slower next time. I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis but happy that you are one step closer to being cancer free. Keep fighting!


  3. Dear Lord, please help Holly to endure tests today and please let the tests be positive. We ask this in your name Jesus, and may you be glorified through Holly’s testimonies. Amen

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ok you never cease to amaze me how reading your blog always gets me to laugh and cry!! Love you sooooo much! Prayers are constant!! And looking forward to great news of fabulous results!! Yes!!!!! 👏🏻🙌🏻👍🙏😀😎 Thankful for all your amazing friends being there for you! And this Jamie dude! Love him already!! 😀 Love and prayers and strength to you and sweet Mark too! ❤️🙏🙌🏻😘

    Sent from my iPhone



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