The days when I receive chemotherapy at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America begin very early. Usually at 6am.
A town car picks me up from my home and drives me to the center in Zion, Illinois.
It usually takes 60 to 90 minutes to arrive at CTCA in Zion, IL.
There’s an excellent patient access team that ensures you are aware of all services available to you while onsite.
New patients would check in with the front-desk. Stevie is my favorite. She’s so friendly.
Since I’m a regular, I complete an express check-in at the medical clinic in the lower level where my oncology team is located.
At this time, I usually have blood drawn for my labs. This ensures that my counts are where they need to be and I’m strong enough to withstand the upcoming chemotherapy infusion.
I usually have breakfast after the labs are done. The cafeteria offers a wide variety of healthy options. The food is free, unless I get something special like a protein shake or smoothie.
Inbetween appointments, I spend my time at the computer center.
If there’s a bit of extra time, I usually browse the gift shop. They have some of the cutest accessories.
I wait in a room and my oncology team members visit me one at a time.
I suspect that they work in some sort of war room as well. When I have placed follow-up calls to them, they tend to pass the phone around among the team. I can talk to them all on the same call. So efficient!
I usually have a couple of alternative therapy appointments within the Mind Body Center. My favorites are Reiki and accupuncture but CTCA offers much more than that. Those two are simply the most effective relaxation methods for me. I generally choose one before having my IV inserted and another before beginning Chemo. This deeply relaxes me before both procedures and in most cases, I will sleep through the chemo infusion which is over 5 hours.
I especially like how CTCA also has health snacks in every area.
They also have a cool basket of free chemo beanies at the check-in station.
After I check into the Infusion Center, I usually wait for a while before an infusion space is available. During this time, I relax, watch TV and work on puzzles until my nurse comes to get me.
The infusion process usually takes 5 to 6 hours. The first phase are pre-meds which are designed to prevent the worst of the side-effects including allergic reactions, swelling, nausea, etc. The premeds drastically reduce the side-effects of chemo. I am usually back to work on Monday morning.
Part two of the infusion are the two chemotherapy drugs: cytoxan and taxotere. I don’t feel any different with these drugs going into my system than with the pre-meds, so I would say the pre-meds approach works very well.
After this long day, my town car picks me up and I return home. It’s a very long day but CTCA does everything possible to make it as efficient, convenient and stress free as it can be