Friday, March 07, 2014

First Round

Getting some "folfox" chemotherapy.
I have just about finished my first round of twenty-six treatments of chemotherapy (6 months).  So far, it is going OK. The side effects are relatively minor. But I hear that the constant rounds of chemo really beat down one’s system.

The hardest part was leaving the house for my appointment at the infusion clinic where the chemotherapy is administered. I was fussing around trying to gather up a bag of stuff to have while I sit in the clinic. Book, iPhone, and notebook. But I couldn’t find my earbuds and I started to lose it. Eddie came over to hug me and I burst into tears. I didn’t want to go. This was going to make the diagnosis too real: Chemotherapy for stage 4 cancer of the lungs.

Infusion bottle attached to
my chemo port.
The treatment itself wasn’t painful or uncomfortable, just long. Once I am hooked-up with all the IV tubes and bags, I set there for hours while the drugs slowly drip into me. The previous week, I had a chemo port implanted into my upper chest. The nurse just taps into that instead of a traditional IV setup in my arm. At the end of my session, the nurse changes the IV drip bags for a chemotherapy infusion bottle. I stay attached to it for 3 days of constant drip.

My husband’s comments about my progress and status so far:
Ed is in now Day 10 of his first 14-day chemo cycle.  He received the drugs in Days 1-3.  So far this first round, the side effects have been fairly minimal.  He has only had a few minor waves of nausea that quickly go away with a couple of Saltines and a anti-nausea pill.  His hands are very susceptible to cold, so he cannot put his hands into a refrigerator without gloves on and even wears them when he is feeling a bit cool around the house.  

He cannot drink or eat anything really cold because it would feel like glass going down his throat.  He can eat nothing that is not cooked unless it has been something that was peeled.  (So, no salads, raw veggies, berries or grapes, sushi, rare or undercooked meats or seafood, e.g.)  That is because of the risk of contamination when his white blood count is down from the chemo.  In addition, I have been giving him a shot each night to fight the deterioration of white blood cells.

But, he is working every day, even starting on Day 2.  He is now walking to work (2 miles each way), and we just went for a 3-mile run today on our local Baylands park trail.

Next round starts next Thursday.  This will go on at least through August.  We are pretty sure (based on reports from others) that some side effects and feelings of being tired my increase in later rounds, but we will just have to wait and see.

We plan to still do our theatre, ballet, etc. as much as possible.  He will just wear a mask when in big crowds. (We are looking around now for the sexiest, most fashionable one, LOL.)

So that's the update.  Every day at this point is a bit anticipatory to see what happens next (or not).  He goes up and down in moods, but I am doing all I can to keep him focused on normalcy and on being positive.


JohnQPublic said...

Sorry you are having to go through this. Looking very butch with your short hair!

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