Wednesday, 5 October 2005

day 104

finally and about time eh !!!
this is what i wrote saturday morning (after my 3rd round of chemo on Friday) and also what i wrote on sunday before i ended up in bed for a week, exhausted from the chemo
i'm wondering if in my stacks and stacks of documents on the chemicals i'm receiving plus the documents on the side effects from the prescriptions i'm taking if insomnia is in there somewhere

here i am, wide awake at 2 am and i even took a sleeping pill at 8:30 last night .. obviously to no avail !
i'm thinking i'm awake because the chemo side effects  have already begun and with them the realization that this is just the beginning of 12 days of seeing how sick i get to be
this morning i've got the hiccups (again) , the nausea and an upset tummy

maybe its just a bad case of nerves .. i received my first infusion of Avastin yesterday.  the documents they hand out with the drug, which is NOT chemotherapy, attacks the blood vessels that feed the tumor.
tumors send out signals to nearby blood vessels, causing new blood vessels to sprout toward the tumor.  This process is called angiogenesis.
Avastin blocks angiogenesis, preventing the growth of new blood vessels, starving the tumor and making it harder for the tumor to grow.  On average people taking Avastin in combination with the chemo have their tumors become smaller in size.
the side effects?  Weakness (in my case immediately), pain, diarrhea, nosebleeds, leukopenia (reduced white blood cell counts) and oh yea .. serious tumor related hemorrhage (bleeding at the site of the tumor) which is a terminal side effects
i called the doc .. apologizing for not asking this all important question during my appointment .. but if i'm gonna hemorrhage and die, how soon into the treatment would this happen?  an hour? a few days? weeks?  how soon before i can cross that off my list .. he wasn't sure but he promised he'd check with the manufacturer on monday (yea yea, it probably feels silly to everyone except me .. if i'm gonna die from this medication, i really do have a few calls i'd like to make first, so a little heads up would be appreciated)
so friday morning, as usual, my sister Susie and i head over to the lab for my blood work .. the lab has an ongoing collage of sorts where patients and employees bring in stickers and magazine cutouts to add to the ambiance of the framed artwork .. of course we added cat related stickers lol

we got to skip the xray this time since we already know my previous 2 chemo treatments didn't effect the size of my tumor at all

my bloodwork came back that i'm now experiencing anemia so i get to add one injection to my therapy today .. ick .. i hate injections but i hate anemia even more :)
my treatment began at 9:30 am friday
1 large bag of fluids with .50 mh benedryl to prevent allergic reactions; .25 mg aloxy to prevent nausea; and .20 mg decadrom to prevent nausea
1 large bag of fluids combined with Cicplatin (#1 chemo drug)
1 small bag of Taxotere (#2 chemo drug)
1 injection of 250 mg something that encourages my bone marrow to produce more red blood cells and eliminate my anemia (i think this stuff takes a couple of weeks to work though)
1 more small bag of fluids with a diarrhetic to make sure my kidneys are working (yes yes yes they work .. sheesh)
then 1 small bag of Avastin 800
with chemo scheduled to complete at 4 pm

at my previous appointment with my oncologist, when he hit me with the news that my tumor hadn't shrunk, in essence, the chemo failed .. the rest of the day is a blur .. at least this time i remembered to find out what Plan B consists of and of course, you'll never catch me without a backup plan .. so together, the doc mapped out Plan C for me
PLAN B - seeing a marked reduction in the size of my tumor from the combination chemo/avastin .. i'm scheduled for another xray on the 13th of October and my 4th round of chemo on the 14th of October
if there IS a reduction of the tumor shown on the xray, we will continue with the chemo/avastin until my tumor is considered small enough to be removed surgically
PLAN Cif there is NO reduction in the tumor, no more chemo, but set up for radiation treatments to see if those will reduce the tumor so i can be a surgical candidate
during chemo, one of the nurses walked around handing out hand knitted (or crocheted) hats for chemo patients .. i got a burgundy one and got permission to snag a purple one for Lisa, a friend of my moms who is also undergoing chemo in Las Vegas

and then we got sports bottles (free) and then the nurses passed out ribbon pins for our particular cancer type .. my sis and i got the white ribbons for lung cancer.  I also begged and received 4 free samples of Zofran (that big buck anti-nausea medication)
oh, and i got a free pillow to ease the discomfort from the arthritis in my neck

i think we were just a couple of hours into the treatment when my chemo nurse, Roxy, suggested my sister and i go down to the shop downstairs that caters to female chemo patients .. so my sister, Susie made our grande escape (with Susie taking pictures the entire time lol)

and i ended up walking out after buying a wig lol

after returning (dutifully to chemotherapy) i ended up playing musical hats the rest of the day, first bald .. then i wore my new burgundy knit hat .. then i started sneezing so i donned a face mask that eventually ended up on top of my head, Yakima style, then i'd wear my new wig for a while .. then back to bald ..
well, i've now written myself into 2:30 saturday morning .. i've popped a couple of pills to ease the side effects so hopefully i'll be able to get back to sleep and get this journal entry typed into my computer hopefully soon

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