Saturday, March 2, 2013

I'm on my way - first chemo session down!

I got the good news that I came up a winner in the drug vs. control group selection for the clinical trial, and will be adding Velcade to the standard treatments for lymphoma.  Early results have shown that it extends the remission period for my type of lymphoma - always a good thing.  So Friday was a monster session: I got 6 chemo drugs by IV, which took over 10 hours, plus 3 drugs to control side effects, and 6 pill prescriptions.  Whew.  I go back on Monday for 2 more drugs, then chemo sessions will go to every 3 weeks, plus weekly tests.

It really wasn't bad at all, thanks to my brand-new port. Yes, on Thursday I became a proud member of the Port Club again, and once more my doc was straight from Central Casting (at least Gary thinks so).  That's Summer the doc on the left.  She was simply incredible;  I was awake for the procedure and never felt a thing. 

It did get a little scary when my nurse made all of us don masks at one point, and every time she handled one of the chemo drugs, she put on gloves and a blue plastic hazmat gown to make sure she had no exposure to them.  This certainly didn't occur with my set of chemo treatments two years ago; I think I must be really toxic now.  (If it was summertime, it might be fun to turn off the mosquito mister, sit on the patio, let the mosquitos bite, and see if they explode!)

But in the meantime, all those little partying cancer cells are going to be exploding (in fact, I think I hear tiny little explosions now...)  One of the chemo drugs is genetically engineered to be a kind of death star for B cells, the very cells which decided to go bad and run amok on me (my biker clan from an earlier post).  It hunts them down and destroys them wherever they are.

Unfortunately it also takes out B cells which didn't go rogue, so between that and the other drugs in my little chemo cocktail, I've been told I will be under the weather by next Thursday, and more or less confined to the house as my system will be easy prey to any germs, bacteria, or infections. Apparently to really whup-a** the lymphoma, the drugs are also going to whup a little of my a** as well. If I venture out, I must wear masks - and I haven't figured out how to make those a fashion statement yet.

So this weekend, I'm sorting out my new collection of pills and getting prepared to live differently.  I'm not totally confined, I just have to make smart choices which avoid people and places they gather:  take walks in the neighborhood wearing a mask instead of hitting the gym; downstream movies on PPV instead of going to a theater; hit the grocery store wearing a mask at 5 a.m. when no people are there,  etc.  It's also a great time to work on that book I always said I would write.  So I have another set of questions for you: 
  • If you couldn't leave the house for quite a while, what would you want to have on hand? 
  • Any ideas for making a face mask more fashionable, or at least less scary?  Or just tough it out? 

1 comment:

  1. So the port...sounds handy. Can it be used for wine? Everyone at Chase thinking of you and sending positive vibes. Keep blogging! During your Cloistered Period, I recommend buying entire seasons of Downton Abbey or the renting the movie "Arbitrage" with Richard Gere. Finally saw it - pretty good! Argo supposedly lives up to those Oscar honors, too - Ellen K.