Next up stem cell transplant
Well, I’ve learned that during chemo treatments my energy to sit down by the keyboard gets pretty zapped. Since chemo cycle #2 I’ve done the following:
- Chemo Cycle #3
- PICC installed
- Blood Transfusion
Chemo Cycle #3 went a little better than #2 and it only took two days in the hospital. They installed a new PICC line and pulled out my old unit. Now I have two cool red and blue lines that hang out on my upper right chest. I think they worry Kassie a little, I can’t sleep on my right side, and shower time is a major pain, but other than that not too bad. Best part about them so far is no more poking, and the surgery wasn’t hard to recover from unlike the earlier portocath. I guess I’ll have a lot of scars on my chest, but then I’m happily alive and married to an understanding woman so I don’t think it decreases my appeal much.
The blood transfusion was today as apparently my hemoglobin in my blood was crashing. I noticed this by the side effects, my heartrate was around 100-120, and climbing one flight of stairs winded me. I slept a lot this chemo cycle. It seems like the 2 units of O+ blood I got have done the trick–my heart isn’t threatening to jump out of my chest, and I’m still awake and functional after 8:00.
So that’s where I am right now. The other really good news is that I’m in full remission according to the PET scans and the lack of a bump on my neck. We had to get that clarifed as when my wife called in they told her that the scan was “almost normal.” Apparently radiologists don’t like to get specific. After both of us took a look at the slides it appeared there was nothing left in my neck. Luckily my oncologist concurred and noted that radiologists are never able to declare something completely gone.
I have a new routine now. Everyday, yes including weekends, I go in and get two wonderful nepogene shots. They go one in each arm just under the skin and they burn a lot. Unfortunately some nurses think injecting very slowly for like 3 minutes is better than doing it in say 20 seconds. Lack of understaning on the pain side there. Then every other day they clean up my new patriotic line, it has 1 red and one blue end. Then once a week they change the dressing. And finally I get a blood draw every day to check counts. Hopefully this all slows down on Monday when they do the stem cell collection.
Hair is gone, nasaeau is longer lasting
Well, my hair is long gone now, except for some spotty bristle patches that are falling out when I rub them. The hospital stay this time was extra long, I didn’t get out until 1:00pm on Friday because they took 36 hours to give me the 24 hour chemo drug. I have my first mouth sore as well.
That said I’m feeling pretty good this week. I’ve been back at work, I had a PET scan that I expect to come back clean. Only one more RICE cycle and then on to the great stem cell transplant.
3 days of down, but one big day of up, up, up.
OK, RICE sucks, much worse than CHOP.
One down, three to go
Well all in all, the first treatment in the hospital with RICE wasn’t too bad. I felt a little woozy when they first set up the IVs, and the low grade naseau is back, but not too bad. One of the medications takes a full 24 hours to go in, and you have to go to the bathroom a lot due to the fluid intake and also since leaving it in your bladder can cause bleeding. My urine smells funny and has to be flushed twice to get rid of remenants since it’s toxic.
Got the best news so far though that the tumor on my right neck is almost gone. The doctor isn’t sure there’s anything left except for biopsy scar tissue. Well tomorrow it’s back to work.
My family has been great, I’ve talked to my Mom every day. My mother in law has been filling in as babysitter, cook, and house cleaner gratefully so my wife can spend time with me. And Kassie came up the hospital Wednesday, and she was a bit worried about all the hoses. Then we played on my bed going up and down and raising and lowering and she got over an uneasiness.
5 months or so and this should all be behind us. Need to plan a big Disneyland celebration actually.
Only a few more treatments to go
This is going to be pretty short, becuase I forgot about the chemo side effects. I went into the ‘infusion center’ today and got shot up with:
- Some prednisone (solamide?) like steriod
- BP 16 (the E in RICE)
On top of that I took a few pills, two tylenol and two benadrils. I had forgotten how much fun it all is. For the first five minutes I felt a little woozy as the saline got pumped in to my new little portocath. Then I pulled it together and worked on my two computers and read some technical books and a graphic novel. Only issue turned up about 2:00 when I got an itchy red scalp and they had to stop the rituxin and give me some more solamide to calm down the allergic reaction. So now I’m allergic to rituxin and compazine.
Anyway I’m tired, food tastes a little funny, and the low grade naseau is back already. But I got to kiss my daughters goodnite so things are still pretty good.