Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday, March 30th, 2007 -- Blood work and Oncologist appt.

Dear Bloggy,

It's Friday!! And so ends the first two week period of Chemo Session #1! As a recap (for those just joining us), my chemo session period starts on a Monday where I am hooked up to various bags of goodies, including the chemo drug "Oxaliplatin" (other name: Eloxatin), Leucovorin (is used to "rescue" normal cells but not cancer cells), and then various liquid combos of calcium/magnesium and folic acid. Prior to being hooked up via the PortaCath that's installed just under my collarbone, I take 1 Ondansetron (aka Zofran) tablet and 3 Dexamethasone (aka Decadron, Hexadrol or Dexasone) tablets. These meds are to prevent or reduce nausea and potential allergic reactions that can be caused by the chemo drugs.

After a 2-3 hour period where the above is put into my system, I then get another bag of calcium/magnesium, and then a 20 minute drip of Fluorouracil (aka 5-Fluorouracil, 5FU, or Adrucil). This is the second chemo drug and the 20 minute dose is to get it into my system, but then I am hooked up to a portable pump that looks like a baby bottle, that has an internal balloon filled with the drug. I go home with this and it is dispersed into my system over the course of 46 hours. While this is happening, I take a Dexamethasone tablet every 12 hours starting the Monday night and ending the Wednesday morning.

Today, I had to get my blood work done at the lab at the Cancer Agency and Dr. Gill (my oncologist) would compare it to the last set of blood work, which we are using as the baseline. I passed with flying colours! My white blood cell count is down a tad, but within the healthy range. Hahaha... and no, I have not lost any weight, as a matter of fact, I have gained 2 lbs (grin). So much for my thought about being able to lose some weight while under treatment!

Anywho... one of Dr. Gill's associate oncologists met with me before Dr. Gill came in for the appt. My mind has gone blank so I can't recall his name off the top of my head, but he went over what side affects I had experienced. I told him that the worst was the nasty, nasty headache I got the Monday night after I got home from the Cancer Agency and lasted through Tuesday. He isn't sure which drug may have caused it, although there's a good possibility that it was caused by the Ondansetron that I take before the treatment starts. I told him that I tried my prescription Tylenol #3 with codiene, but they didn't even touch the headache. It was getting so bad, I broke down and took one of the remaining Oxycodones I had left over from the surgical pain. Good move! It worked like a charm and the headache disappeared. I should have probably taken it Monday night and the headache would not have been an issue.

So Dr. Gill came in and her associate left to go get me a prescription for more Oxycodones. Dr. Gill went over my blood work results and side affects I had experienced. She was very surprised that I had experienced (other than the headache) such mild side affects. Yes, there was some mild nausea and upset tummy, but I did not get the fatigue or exhaustion. Nor could I really say I was so miserable I couldn't get out of bed. Maybe I'm just clued out (grin)... after all, we all know I have a very high tolerance to pain and to drugs. So I may very well have been feeling tired and like I had been hit by a truck, but it just wasn't registering with me. Even though we are now at the end of the 2 week period (1 week of chemo/side effects, then 1 week to rebuild/relax), she says that I look great and have obviously weathered the treatment very well.

Soooooo, on Monday we start Chemo Session #2. Only THIS time I will have the oxycodone nearby should the headache start up again.

Now, here is something interesting! Dr. Gill (chemo oncologist) and Dr. Ma (Radiation oncologist) have gotten together to finalize the chemo/radiation treatment plan for me and get them scheduled so there's a smooth transition from the injected chemo into the radiation then back to the injected chemo. Originally, I was going to be given 12 chemo sessions over the course of 6 months.. with a break in the middle to do the 25 radiation sessions. NOW, they are going to try me with 4 injected chemo sessions over 2 months, then the radiation session, but she has changed it so that I will be given oral chemo meds that can actually be counted as part of my chemo plan. Once the radiation sessions are over, I'll go back to the injected chemo but instead of doing the remaining 8 sessions, she says we will do only 4 sessions and depending on how well I'm tolerating them by this time, will determine whether I can do another couple.

She is very pleased with how I tolerated the first session but says that by the time we've done the above, I am going to have been bombarded with a lot of chemo and radiation and she thinks I will probably have reached my limit by then. If I can tolerate more, then we will re-evaluate then, but she won't be one bit surprised if my system has had enough and won't be able to take anymore. As it is, it will be a fairly long period of "rebuilding" time after we have stopped.

Hehehe... so where I have said "One down! Eleven to go!" I can now say, "One down! Seven to go!" :)

Tomorrow, Bridget and I are off to Dad's in North Delta. I'll be leaving Bridget there while Pat and I go get a pedicure in the afternoon. Then we we will go back to the house and order in food for dinner because we are going to watch "Happy Feet!" The DVD came out on Tuesday and yes, I was there to buy my own copy. I sooooo LOVE this movie!! When it was in the theatres, Mimi and I saw it at the Imax theatre and I fell in love with everyone of those penguins (grin). Sooooo tomorrow night, Pat, Jerry, Dad, Erin and I will be hunkered down to watch them little dancing penguins :)

Sunday will definitely be a chores day to do up those chores that I know I won't do next week because Monday, Jo will come over and off we'll go to the Cancer Agency to start Chemo Session #2. Hmmmm... I might bring the laptop and we can watch a movie while there! Now there's an idea!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!



Chet said...


I am delighted you re doing so well, but I would not have expected anything less from you.

I do read everyone of your blog entries, even though I do not respond to everyone.

Big hugs.


Kathy said...

Great news! Fewer sessions sounds wonderful!!Your blood work must have been excellent for them to come up with cutting sessions. Way to go, Cheryl!


Bonnie said...

So now we can say 6 to go! Hope all went well today, you've been in my thoughts. And don't fret about why they've changed the protocol - it's all for the good!