Oh boy. There’s a lot to say here, I think. Due to my upcoming class schedule this semester, I go to and will be going to the hospital to get my labs drawn and talk to my Oncologist on Monday. Unfortunately, labs take about two minutes and then the Doctor’s appointment isn’t for another hour because they have to process the labs. Yes, I get that that makes sense. It’s still that whole hurry-up-and-wait kind of thing, which is just…splendid.
Well, my labs came out “great,” so that’s always good to hear. My albumin level was really low originally, likely for a number of reasons. When I was first on the outs, the last thing I wanted to do was eat and especially eat protein, which are both extremely unusual me. I guess I had an excuse. Also, I had some major inflammatory responses going on down in that belly of mine, thanks to the abscess. There were lots of days were it was a struggle to get more than 200-300 calories, some days there were none. I like to think of it as “intermittent fasting” – ha. I think the lack of protein, and calories in general, played a major role in my hair starting to fall out. My body was just like, sorry man, but I’m going to focus on keeping you alive instead of those luscious locks. Which, I completely appreciate. Thanks, body. The albumin is back to the acceptable range now (up to 3.8 from 2.1). They never ran the prealbumin.
Dr. Kingsley (My hem-onc doc) didn’t have much to say really, everything looked good and he just wanted to know if I had any side effects or any questions. The only real side effects were that my back molars were really sensitive for about 48 hours when I was eating, I had one little bout of neuropathy in my hands, and I felt generally crappy on Friday. The strange thing about the teeth issue was that it would go away after the first bite…so not a huge deal. I just proceeded to keep on truckin’. Daddy’s got to eat!
Every other Tuesday for the next 22 weeks will be chemo day. Woohoo. The ladies at the front desk and the nurses are the best part. They’re always in good spirits and have a smile on their face. Then, you get to go back into the “chemo ward” (that’s just what I call it). It can be a chilling site depending on when you go back there. It’s exactly what you would think it is. A lot of sick people receiving chemo treatments and they are all at various stages in the process. A lot of them look…exhausted. I try to do my best to say hi to everyone and ask how they’re doing. I don’t think they realize I’m an actual patient until they finally make me sit down in the chair and they access my port and put the IV in. They access my port my essentially jamming a ¾ inch needle into the skin and into the port which, feels kind of like a pin cushion. Luckily, I don’t mind needles at all.
I have been and will continue to get there at 1230. It takes a while before the chemo gets started. They give me a bunch of pre-medicines. I didn’t even know that was a thing. They give me Aloxi, Dexamethasone, and emend (aprepitant). Aloxi and emend are both anti-nausea medicines and dexamethasone is a steroid. Basically, they are to keep me from getting nauseous or having a reaction to the chemo. The steroids are the only ones that are taken orally. They’re this alien blood greenish color and taste like fishy chalk, it’s not ideal.
My favorite part though, they get into their little biohazard suits before they give you the chemo. WHAT ARE YOU PUTTING IN ME THAT YOU NEED A BIOHAZARD SUIT? I don’t need Ebola too. Nope, it’s just chemo. That stuff is that toxic. No wonder people feel like poop from it. It disrupts the function of all fast-growing cells in your body, which is like…all cells. The “biohazard suit” is really just a gown and a mask; I was trying to be dramatic.
Once they start the chemo, it takes about three hours for it to finish. They give me the Leucovorin and Oxaliplatin at the same time. The lovely 5-Fluoururacil gets to come home with me in this little pump thing that stays connected and pumping its little heart out for 46 hours. Once it’s done, I go back and get it unhooked and the port de-accessed…meaning yank that ¾ inch needle back out. I’m hoping for Scooby Doo band-aids next time. After that, I’m good to go for another 12 days until the next treatment.
I still have the 5-FU pump hooked up as of right now. I’ll get it off about 2:30 tomorrow. I had A LOT more side effects this time than last time. I hope it doesn’t increase at the same pace as last time or I’ll be in trouble. The biggest issue, the only issue really, is neuropathy in my hands. Essentially, when they get cold they feel like your feet do when they fall asleep. They get all tingly and it makes typing/texting a hassle. It’s like tiny pins and needles at the end of your fingertips. However, I was so pumped last night from the response that I just didn’t really care and powered through so I could respond to everyone’s messages! Though, I did decide to go see The Revenant during the worst part of it all.
The neuropathy lasted about 24 hours and was fairly consistent. The first treatment…it happened one isolated time. So, not the type of escalation I’m looking for. I went out and bought some of those gloves that you can wear and still use your phone and type with and stuff so I’ll see how that goes. I already know I’m going to hate wearing gloves everywhere, but if my hands stay warm enough, there’s no neuropathy. We’ll see which is more obnoxious after the next treatment.
Anyway, I’m feeling pretty great! I’m ready to get unplugged tomorrow and I’m really curious if Friday will be the day that it hits me hard again. I’ll keep you guys posted.
Cancer is just a word, not a story. It does not define me or anyone else who has it.
P.S. I can’t believe the Rams are really leaving. WTH Kroenke.