December 5, 2005
Finally I can get on with a comment about the last treatment which was delayed for a week for lack of availabililty of one of the drugs. My treatment day was moved to Tuesday so I could work the weekends at the hospital. That Monday morning I felt great when I got off work. Went to Walmart for an oil change, 7:00 am is a great time for that. Picked up feed for the animals and back home to bed. When I got up I was sick as a dog with the stomach bug that had hit everyone else in the house. Pretty much a one day thing but I was a little concerned about not feeling good going in for treatment. Actually, I felt better after, probably with all the fluids I received. The only thing other than routine was the lady with the experimental drug was there to get blood, like 6 viles. It wasn't a good week though. I got sick again on Friday and felt bad all weekend but still went to work. Saturday night was so-so, but Sunday I should have stayed home. Of course, being in a hospital I had all the offers of help I needed. ER brought me a pitcher of ice water, another nurse a cup of tomato soup and jello, checked on about every half hour. I made it and feel a little better today. I had to force myself out to feed and water the animals. It is COLD and my cold sensitivity on my fingers is killing me. I do half and come in the house and warm my fingers and change gloves. I need to find some good mittens with a wool liner if they still make such a thing. So, I guess that's about all of my routine medical life for now. Seven down and five to go, hopefully.
December 14, 2005
Treatment #8 was yesterday. It was another routine treatment with the exception that the experimental drug was increased to 100%. I should be a case study. We started at 100%, went to 0 after my sick week, then on at 50% and up to 75% and now back to 100%. We're pretty sure that my breaking out on the forehead is a reaction to that drug. I am getting some on my scalp and nose again, but if that's the worst I have to deal with I can handle that. I had a good chat with Stacy, the Nurse Practioner that is in charge. Been having some stomach acid at night, so will try a Zantac before bed. I asked why I've never been told my tumor rating, a T what? She look through my one inch thick folder and there was no notation in it. She did read where Dr. Stevens had noted the tumor had decreased dramatically. I had said significantly, so this sounds better. She did agree that I should look at the original CT Scan pictures for comparison. Since I am working at the hospital on weekends, I'll ask the X-ray nurse to pull those up for me on some dead (no pun intended) Sunday night. She explained the ratings system. A T1 is a very small tumor that is contained, L1 is in the lymph nodes, M1 is released and settled on another organ. So, I'm an M something and I would guess maybe a 3? Next visit with the doctor maybe I can pin that down. With the treatments on Tuesday now, I have a whole new group of people to recognize. I woke up from my usual nap and found the room full of women, several that were bald. I am so thankful I didn't lose any hair!!! I was disappointed that I had not gained any weight. I think that short bout of sickness kept me down. Stacy likes to "play" with fractions, so she reminded me that I was 2/3 of the way done. I commented that with the 50% dose I would expect another couple of weeks added on. She said that the experimental program ended in 12 weeks so that would be it. That remains to be seen after a final CT Scan. Guess that's about it for now. Everybody hang in there.
December 19, 2005
CT Scan Lesson
Yes, there are some advantages to working even part-time in a small hospital. Everyone knows each other and most are frendly and show a genuine concern for others. I took advantage of this last Friday night by asking to see my first CT scan so I could see the difference. As a bonus, when I went back to Medical Imaging they were starting a scan on a young man. I watched in the control room as they did the scan. Interesting, but seems so simple for the results you get. I was expecting them to pull out the sheets of pictures, but I was informed that they don't exist. Everything now is in the computer. Surprise, what isn't computerized anymore. They quickly pulled up both the old and new scans and were able to select the picture showing the tumor and put them side by side on the screen. Talk about an easy way to compare. The original scan had measurement marks showing the tumor to be 2.44cm by 1.7cm. That converts to something about the size of a whole pecan, slimmer than a walnut. The latest picture had no measurement and looks to be reduced to maybe penny size. Viewing them side by side does definitely show a dramatic decrease. They also printed all of the last scan for me and that was as easy as hitting print to print this page. Can't get over modern technology. In the meantime, I put up with my cold sensitivity and my sore forehead from breaking out. I was told I could pretend to be a teenager again. Not funny. Until next time. Happy Holidays to all.
December 29, 2005
Well, here we are, 3/4 of the way through this adventure. The last two weeks have been some what of a roller coaster ride, good days and bad. I had two sick days which were not drug related, just stupidity on my part. I was treated to a birthday supper at a new China Buffet in town and pigged out on fried shrimp, sick as a dog the next day. Then on Christmas night at the hospital they fed 2nd shift, so when I got there I was told to hurry to the cafeteria as they were putting up the food. I got a carry out of 2 pieces of chicken, a porkchop with mushroom gravy and green beans. I thought this would really hit the spot at 2 or 3 in the morning. You can guess with the food that had been sitting out for awhile and now another 3-4 hours. Yes, it made me sick again. Other than that, just the same old reactions of cold finger tips and extensive breaking out on my head. To clarify, these are not pimples, but a dry crusty stuff that eventually I just scrap off. Still better than losing my hair!! This may be boring to some, but of interest to someone. I have never listed the drugs by name and thought maybe I should, so here they are as administered. First, folinic acid (Leucovorin). Next, the experimental drug Panitumumab (what a name) to be treated with the next drug bevacizumab (Avastin). My favorite, the cold sensitive drug oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) and finally the 46 hour, carry the infusion pump, fluorouracil or 5-FU. I guess one could see that all that stuff would either help or make you sick. I've stopped taking my anti-nausea pills after treatment as it seems my body is accepting all that junk. I still have the bottle of $30 per pill. What a waste if I never have to use them. Guess that's about it for now. Seems like old times at GE. I worked Christmas eve and Christmas night and will work New Years Eve and New Years night. Surprisingly (sp), the emergency room at the hospital had fairly busy nights. HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone.